Have you ever been somewhere that seriously surprised you? Genoa in Carson Valley, Nevada was that place for me. We had a long weekend and our cousins were in town, so we wanted to do something fun, laid back and not too far away. I had heard about Genoa, Nevada from reading in Paul’s family history about his 4th great grandfather going through a town called “Mormon Station” which was later renamed Genoa. Genoa is a tiny town at the base of the Sierra Nevada Mountains, just over the hill from beautiful Lake Tahoe and is Nevada’s oldest town!

Nevada's oldest town
On the way from Tahoe to Genoa. Only about a 20 minute ride over the mountains with gorgeous views like this!

As you pull into the the adorable little town, it feels like you’ve stepped back in time about 150 years! We had this lovely lady at an information booth greet us and explain all Genoa had to offer.

Our first stop was the general store where we grabbed breakfast burritos, breakfast sandwiches and soda pop in a bottle. The girls’ favorite part was using the bottle opener under the counter!
The weather was perfect in early June, so we sat outside with the locals.

After breakfast we headed to Mormon Station State Historic Park where we discovered pioneer artifacts, touched different animal skins and got a feel for what it would be like to be a pioneer. We learned all about “Snowshoe Thompson” who braved 50 foot snow drifts to deliver the mail in the Sierra Nevada mountains. The rangers were so great and answered the 4 million questions from these curious little girls!

nevada's oldest town Mormon Station State Historic Park

nevada's oldest city

When we had our fill of pioneer history, we headed across the street to the Genoa Courthouse Museum where we explored old prison cells, pony express and a post office. There was so much history in one building!

If you’re going to Genoa and are worried about history overload, don’t worry there are plenty of other sites and activities. The great thing about Genoa is that it’s small enough to walk to everything! We walked a few blocks to the town park where the kids played for hours and worked up a hunger.

We meandered across the street to The Pink House, which offers beautiful cheese boards and gourmet appetizers. They also make gourmet lunch boxes if you want to take yours to the park!

nevada's oldest city

If you’re looking for some shopping, Genoa has some amazing antiques. We loved the shop full of antique weapons! They even had antique books about weapons!

Not a place for kids, but we walked past Nevada’s First Thirst Parlor, the Genoa Bar. I don’t think I’ve ever seen more motorcycles in one place in my whole life!

Genoa Bar: Nevada’s Oldest Thirst Parlor

We had so much fun in this amazing historical town. It was so well organized, educational, beautiful and relaxing! Let me know if you ever go to Genoa! I’d love to hear what you think. I’m already dreaming of going without the kids some day to wander the town and step back in time.