Quick and quaint regional escape ideas.

By Natasha Bourlin

After the hectic summer pace, a leisurely regional getaway may be just the thing to ease you into autumn. Within about an hour’s drive, several charming towns welcome visitors with open arms, and a multitude of ways to keep entertained. As we all know, this world goes round and is constantly changing. Remember to visit the corresponding url or business pages to check cancellations, closings or postponements. Stay safe, stay healthy, and remember to travel responsibly and respectfully with a mask and a smile. 

Capital fun

Comma Coffee (Jeramie Lu)
Comma Coffee (Jeramie Lu)

In Nevada’s historic capital, Carson City, visitors can learn about the state and region, how the city was formed and many more fascinating facts at the numerous, engaging and interactive museums. Yet other forms of entertainment also abound in this bustling state hub. visitcarsoncity.com

Check into the St. Charles Hotel downtown, offering modern accommodations and amenities in a property teeming with antiquity. In the morning, head to Comma Coffee for breakfast and a steaming beverage. Be prepared for the warm fuzzies to hit upon entering. Here, it feels as if you stepped into your grandmother’s cozy, eccentric space, should she have installed an espresso bar. commacoffeecafe.com

Then, do your own brewery tour starting in the base of the St. Charles, where the Fox Brewpub resides. Safely relax in between imbibing in the natural geothermic pools and tubs at the newly remodeled Carson Hot Springs respecting COVID sanitary protocols, then take a few steps to the Shoe Tree Brewing Company’s tasting room next door and sip a new fall brew on their patio. Soak up the suds at Sassafras Restaurant just steps further, which touts itself as an “eclectic food joint” with a mouthwatering menu that backs up their claim. Round out your capital excursion by strolling through the stunning fall foliage on the Kit Carson Walking Trail through the historic west side of town. foxbrewpub.com; carsonhotsprings.com; shoetreebrewing.com; sassafrascarsoncity.com

Minden’s mind-bending beauty

Just a bit farther south past Carson is Minden, formed at the terminus of the Virginia and Truckee Railroad in 1906. Plenty of dining and entertainment are available at the resort, but the region is also abundant in cultural influence, so you can find delectably diverse eateries such as Francisco’s Mexican Restaurant and the J.T. Basque Bar and Dining Room nearby. franciscos.net; jtbasquenv.com

Next, take a glider ride over the Carson Valley at Soaring NV. Offering lessons and rides in motor-free gliders, a breathtaking way to see the Sierra from above. soaringnv.com

Don’t let any seasonal slump hit you this year

Reveling in the outdoors is easy in Markleeville, just over an hour south of Reno. Formed in 1861 when Jacob Markley built a toll bridge across a Carson River tributary during the region’s mining boom, it is one of the most picturesque portions of the High Sierra.

Book one of the cozy, well-appointed rooms at the Creekside Lodge, or, for more room, reserve the spacious, elegantly rustic two-bedroom Quail Hollow cottage. Once settled in, head for the hills, literally, where you’ll find everything from the original Pony Express route to remnants of 19th-century Basque sheepherders carved into the Aspen trees. Fall colors are extraordinary here, spot the fiery-hued leaves while heading to fish, hike, or bicycle. For something special, make dinner reservations for the deliciously fancier fare (call for seasonal availability) at Stoneflycreekside-lodge.com; alpinecounty.com

Tahoe City serenity

Lake Tahoe’s secret season is fall, between the summer and winter visitor inundation. Colors are ablaze on the copious trees, and deals can be found more easily in the off season. gotahoenorth.com

A touch of alpine aloha can be found at Jake’s on the Lake (check for seasonal closures) or a tasty snack grabbed from the West Shore Market. Nearby, access the Tahoe Rim Trail for some biking, hiking, and meandering fun. jakestahoe.com; westshoremarket.com

Hicking in the Aspens
Tahoe City (Ryan Salm)

Trekking to Truckee

Close to Tahoe and Reno is a legendary relic of the gold rush era, Truckee. This enchanting mountain town is packed with things to do safely and see, not to mention, dine on. (Okay, just mentioned it.) chamber.truckee.com; parks.ca.gov

Help your eyelids lift in the a.m. with coffee-to-go from their pick-up window, made by U.S. Ski Team superstars at Pacific Crest Coffee Company. Moody’s Bistro, Bar and Beats is a locals’ favorite joint with delicious farm-fresh fare and great drinks available for curbside service.    pacificcrestcoffee.com; moodysbistro.com

Tahoe Erskine Photography
Tahoe (Erskine Photography)

Get crafty at Atelier Truckee, a retail and studio space offering Knit Kit pick-ups with a multitude of DIY virtual fun workshops. While wearing a mask, simply wandering around the historic downtown area and poking around the shops, cafes and bars is enjoyable in itself. For some outdoor-action, make a reservation at Woodward Tahoe. Bring the family and let the kids romp around or get your history fix at the Donner Memorial State Park. ateliertruckee.com; woodwardtahoe.com

Don’t let any seasonal slump hit you this year, fend it off with these fun and trusted excursions, all in Reno/Tahoe’s backyard.

Disclaimer: Getaway Reno/Tahoe supports social distancing and safe practices promoting the health of our community. Due to the COVID-19 health crisis, digital and print content is updated to the best of our knowledge. Please keep in mind, many photos featured in our publication and online platform were taken before the pandemic and may not reflect current conditions. As you navigate your Reno/Tahoe adventure, be sure to visit the corresponding event url or business page to check cancellations, closings, or postponements. Stay safe, stay healthy. Thank you.