In mid-September I and 4 other New York based journalists were invited to spend 6 days in the Catalan region of Spain on a Wine, Culture & Festival trip. While I was there I saw no Spanish flags but lots of Catalunya (Cataluña in Spanish) pride. Catalan is a separate language and not a dialect of Spanish and the people consider themselves Catalan, not Spanish. There has even been much talk of becoming a separate country. But this is not a political story but one about the best of the Barcelona area.
Catalonia lies at the northeast of Spain, bordering the Pyrenees Mountains and France in the north. The Mediterranean Sea is to the east, Valencia to the south and Aragon to the west. The winters are not too severe and summer is uniformly sunny and hot, with cooling breezes from the Mediterranean. It is an ideal location for wine making. One can choose to spend time in Barcelona (we did), go to the beach (we did) or explore the Pyrenees (we did not). Through August of 2013 there were over 42.3 million international tourists visiting Spain. In 2012 Catalan entertained over 15 million international visitors, which represents 25% of all international arrivals in Spain.
Wine has been produced here since the time of the Romans, who started planting and producing grapes near Tarragona (which was the Iberian capital at the time). Since then, the winemaking region spread and flourished until the 19th century Phylloxera crisis killed most of the red grapes grown there. Approximately 25% of the total wine production in Spain is produced in Catalonia. Spain has more land area in grape production, 2.9 million acres planted, than any other country. It is #3 in global wine production behind France and Italy (The US is #5). In consumption Spain is 9th in the world.
Priorat – Old wine making region with a modern twist in this tiny, mountainous region near Barcelona. Terraced hillsides of slate are common with very old vines of Garnacha and Cariñena, typically blended with small amounts of Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot. These are massive, inky wines of distinct character and reputation. We used motorized bikes to visit the terraced vineyards. Stay at the charming Hostal Sport in the town of Faiset with its private garden and large wine collection. Albert Costa, the winemaker owner of Vall Llach wine cellars in the town of Porrera is well worth looking up and visiting. His superb Priorat wines are available in the US. If you have time take a tour of the partially restored Carthusian Monastery Scala Dei and the tiny city of Siurana, high up on a narrow winding road. Be prepared to walk to the walled city.
Tarragona- If you have an extra day the trip to Tarragona is very worthwhile. The Hotel Ciutat de Tarragona is perfectly located in the center of the city. The city has managed to combine its Roman legacy, recognized as a World Heritage Site, with its medieval past. There is 9 miles of Mediterranean coastline and beaches surrounding the city. We were there for the Santa Tecla Festival, honoring the city’s patron saint. We were invited into city hall to view the celebration. Before the festival began we toured the city on a guided Segway tour. The highlight of the festival was the champion human towers that set up in the main square. Some were 9 levels high (think 50 feet, with several hundred participants) with a 4-6 year old child reaching the top. The best of the organizations sponsoring the towers came from Tarragona.
Penedès Spanish Wine Region is close in proximity to Barcelona on the Mediterranean coastline. The region is known for its Cava sparkling wine. Cava is the Spanish term for sparkling wine. It is produced in the Traditional Method, much like Champagne, where the wine ferments in the bottle, until it is ready to be corked. Cava is usually a blend of 3 grapes: Viura (aka Macabeo), Parellada, and Xarel.lo. The name Cava derived from the “caves” where the sparkling wine was created. Cava wines spend 9 months aging in bottles following fermentation. 90% of Spanish Cava wines come from the Penedes region. Most people know the brands Freixenet & Codorniu but we visited a small quality producer -Recaredo- where we toured the cava cellar in Sant Sadurni de Noya, before our tasting. Their wines are also imported into the US. If you have time walk a block to Simon Chocolates where you can sample their small batch delights.
A visit to Torres- Probably the best known Spanish wine in the US is Spain’s largest family owned winery, Torres. In 1870 Jaime Torres established a winery at Vilafranca del Penedes, an hour plus drive from Barcelona. In 1979 Torres Corona Mas La Plana 1970 beat out Chateau Latour and other Bordeaux wines in the Gault Millau Paris Olympiad blind tasting. The winery is run today by Miguel Torres Jr with wineries in Chile, California, as well as Catalonia, Rioja, Toro, Ribera del Duero and Conca de Barbera. They have introduced grape varieties such as Chardonnay, Riesling, Sauvignon Blanc, Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc and Pinot Noir not commonly used in Spanish wines. I almost felt I was at a Disney theme park with the tram tour through a tunnel under the winery. The tram also takes visitors through the grounds and to view a film about the firm. There is a museum, tasting room and gift shop. If you are a special guest you might be invited to lunch with Miguel Jr. in the nearby town where his family lives.
For More Information-
The name Barcelona comes from the Barca family of Carthage who ruled the area in the 3rd century before Christ. Barcelona is the Capital of Catalonia and the second largest city in Spain after Madrid, with a population of 1.6 million (2012) and 3.2 million in the greater metropolitan area. Barcelona is the 16th-most-visited city in the world and the fourth most visited in Europe after Paris, London, and Rome. The city has a Mediterranean climate, with mild, humid winters and warm, dry summers. Barcelona beach was listed as number one in a list of the top ten beach cities in the world according to National Geographic Magazine and the Discovery Channel.
At one time the seaside in Barcelona was completely occupied with industries. This was changed in 1992 when the city hosted the Olympic games. The authorities shifted the industries and converted the seaside area into one for leisure, with lots of hotels, restaurants, bars and of course, new beaches!
Saint Georges Day is the national feast day in the region and on this day it is a tradition to present your friends and loved ones with roses and books. This was the inspiration for UNESCO to declare April 23rd as the International Day of Books. Both Cervantes and Shakespeare passed away on that day.
Temple de la Sagrada Familia
Number of visitors - Almost 3 million.
Designed in the shape of a Latin cross with five hubs and three facades. The temple is most famous for its slender towers that rise nearly 300 feet above ground and with pinnacles decorated with ceramics. The Cathedral’s building process started in 1882, and is still under construction. Gaudí worked on this project for more than 40 years. If you book online before your trip you will skip the long lines.
Number of visitors - 2.6 million
Barcelona's science and nature museum. CosmoCaixa was renovated in 2004 and in 2006 it received recognition as Europe's best museum. Walk through a rainforest, explore the universe at the planetarium or visit the toca toca! where you can play with animals such as starfish, fish and desert mice.
The Font Mágica Fountain-
Number of visitors- 2.5 million
The Magic fountain was built in 1929 as one of the main attractions for the Barcelona World Fair. There are water, light and music shows in the summer from Thursday to Sunday and admission is free. Site of the La Merce Festivity fireworks display.
Number of visitors- 1.6 million
An exhibition hall owned by the Catalan bank La Caixa. The museum houses art exhibits and is free to the public.
Number of visitors- 1.6 million
The 35 aquariums at the facility are home to 11,000 animals representing 450 species. You can go into a tunnel under the water while the sharks swim right over your head!
Museu FC Barcelona, Camp Nou
Number of visitors- 1.4 million
FC Barcelona is the most famous sport club in Barcelona. The club has their own stadium with capacity for 100,000 people, which is the biggest stadium in Europe.
Walk the self-guided tour through the Camp Nou, taking you through the changing rooms, the press room and the players dugout. The tour ends in the Barcelona Museum.
Poble Espanyol de Montjuic
Number of visitors - 1.4 million
In this Spanish village you can see architecture and crafts from all over Spain. The village was built for the World Exhibition in 1929 and displays the building styles which are typical of the various provinces of Spain. West of the main square lie a number of picturesque little streets with a large number of craft-workers. A new entertainment center was added in 1988 with bars, restaurants, clubs and a theater tent.
Gaudi’s La Pedrera (Casa Mila)
Number of visitors- 1.4 million
La Pedrera (The Quarry in English) was built by Gaudi between 1906 and 1910. The house is designed as an apartment building and initially the plan was to have two indoor ramps so the residents could drive their cars all they way up to the apartment doors. This was not possible to implement so instead Gaudi built the first garage in Barcelona.
Number of visitors- 1.2 million
The Picasso Museum is Barcelona's most visited art gallery. The museum mostly displays his early works, Since all his works are in chronological order, you can easily follow the artist's development. Picasso spent many years of his life in Barcelona.
Fundaci Joan Miro
Number of visitors- 1.1 million
The Fundaci Joan Miro contains numerous works of this painter and sculptor. The Fundació Joan Miró is a foundation, which operates the museum on the mountain Montjuïc. From the terrace of the museum you have a wonderful view of Barcelona.
Number of visitors- 1.1 million
There are over 500 different species at the Barcelona Zoo. Learn about everything from seals and dolphins to gorillas and giraffes! There is also a farm for children where they can pet goats and lambs.
Parc Guell- A World Heritage Site garden complex with Gaudi architecture and a Gaudi museum built from 1900-1914. It is free (though they will soon charge admission) so there are no official statistics as to number of visitors. It is situated on a hill with great views of the city from the park.
La Rambla Street- The centre of Barcelona is the 1.2-mile La Rambla Street. It is filled with bars, restaurants, shops and street artists. Over 150,000 people walk along the street every day.
Walk down the Portal de l’Àngel and you will be one among approximately 3,500 others who throng the street every hour and make it the most walked street in Spain.
Barri Gothic- The centre of old Barcelona with some of the buildings going back to the Roman era. Medieval architecture is quite common here and the attraction of these buildings brings in over a million tourists to Barcelona every week. One can view the remains of the squared Roman Wall. El Call, the medieval Jewish quarter, is located within this area too. Most of the quarter is closed to regular traffic.
Hop on Hop Off Bus Tour-
This is an easy way to get around to see the main sights of Barcelona. You can simply hop on the bus, and hop off to see the sight and then, hop back on another bus to go to the next sight. Commentary is given in 10 different languages. Ideal for those who want to see an overview to the city without the planning.
Flamenco Shows- Enjoy an evening of passion, music and traditional Spanish dance with the experience of a flamenco show. Flamenco Show ticket prices depend on the option you take, either with or without a meal. There are also different prices for adults and children.
Barcelona Walking Tours
Much of central Barcelona has been pedestrianized, with wide-open boulevards that make walking tours a very pleasurable way to visit the city. In the Barri Gotic area (historic quarters) you have nearly a whole day's worth of sights to experience alone without the need for taking any form of public transport. In this area you will see the neighborhoods where the great painters Picasso and Miró grew up. You will also see examples of Catalan architecture the most notable being Barcelona Cathedral.
Gothic Quarter (Historic Quarter) Walking Tour
Modernist Walking Tour
Picasso Walking Tour
Gourmet Walking Tour
Tapas Evening Walking Tour
Barcelona Tour By Bike
Sight seeing by means of a bike is one of the most enjoyable and easy ways to see the city. You will have a very fit guide who will give commentary as you go. Sights included are Cuitadella Park, Barcelona Cathedral, Olympic port and Gaudí's Sagrada Familia. The Citibank NYC bike plan used Barcelona as an example.
Catalunya Bus Turistic- Wine & Cava Route
These tours will take you to the Penedès region of Catalonia for a guided tour and tasting at Jean Leon Winery. Then another guided tour where you match three cheeses to three wines at Bodegues Torres. A final guided tour with a cava tasting along with Catalonian tapas at Freixenet.
Children are free
Duration: 8.5 hour(s)
Inclusion: English-speaking guide / Wine tasting / Tapas / Cheese tasting
8:30AM Depart from Barcelona. Return around 4:30PM
In mid-September I and 4 other New York based journalists were invited to spend 6 days in the Catalan region of Spain on a Wine, Culture & Festival trip. While I was there I saw no Spanish flags but lots of Catalunya (Cataluña in Spanish) pride. Catalan is a separate language and not a dialect of Spanish and the people consider themselves Catalan, not Spanish. There has even been much talk of becoming a separate country. But this is not a political story but one about wine.
Catalonia lies at the northeast of Spain, bordering the Pyrenees Mountains and France in the north. The Mediterranean Sea is to the east, Valencia to the south and Aragon to the west. The winters are not too severe and summer is uniformly sunny and hot, with cooling breezes from the Mediterranean. It is an ideal location for wine making. One can choose to spend time in Barcelona (we did), go to the beach (we did) or explore the Pyrenees (we did not). Through August of 2013 there were over 42.3 million international tourists visiting Spain. In 2012 Catalan entertained over 15 million international visitors which represents 25% of all international arrivals in Spain.
Wine has been produced here since the time of the Romans, who started planting and producing grapes near Tarragona (which was the Iberian capital at the time). Since then, the winemaking region spread and flourished until the 19th century Phylloxera crisis killed most of the red grapes grown there. Today Catalunya has 11 regions of Denominació d'Origen (DO) and 1 Denominació d'Origen Qualificada (DOQ). Priorat and Rioja are Spain’s two DOQs. The Catalunya DO appellation was Spain's first region-wide, cover-all DO title. Created in 1999, it covers all of the vineyards that were not covered by any of the region's other 11 DOs. Approximately 25% of the total wine production in Spain is produced in Catalonia. Spain has more land area in grape production, 2.9 million acres planted, than any other country. It is #3 in global wine production behind France and Italy (The US is #5). In consumption Spain is 9th in the world.
Priorat – Old wine making region with a modern twist in this tiny, mountainous region near Barcelona. Terraced hillsides of slate are common with very old vines of Garnacha and Cariñena, typically blended with small amounts of Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot. These are massive, inky wines of distinct character and reputation. We used motorized bikes to visit the vineyards.
Penedès Spanish Wine Region is close in proximity to Barcelona on the Mediterranean coastline. The region is known for its Cava sparkling wine. Cava is the Spanish term for sparkling wine. It is produced in the Traditional Method, much like Champagne, where the wine ferments in the bottle, until it is ready to be corked. Cava is usually a blend of 3 grapes: Viura (aka Macabeo), Parellada, and Xarel.lo. The name Cava derived from the “caves” where the sparkling wine was created. Cava wines spend 9 months ageing in bottles following fermentation. 90% of Spanish Cava wines come from the Penedes region.
Spain has over 1.6 million acres of vines and today there are more than 146 varieties.
Spanish Red Grapes
Tempranillo: Spain’s most famous and noble grape.
Garnacha: Known as Grenache in the rest of the world. It is the most prominent grape in Priorat, making luscious and full-bodied reds.
Graciano: Best grown in Rioja.
Mazuelo: Also known as Cariñena, and Carignan in France.
Cariñena: Important grape in Priorat: Carignan in France.
Monastrell: Used mainly in Catalonia, makes juicy wines, Known as Mourvèdre in France.
Spanish White Grapes
Albariño: Makes Spain´s most elegant white wines.
Viura/Macabeo: Main white grape in Penedes. (Cava)
Xarel.lo: One of the Cava grapes.
Parellada: Native to Catalonia, key component of Cava.
Airén: Spain’s most widely planted grape variety.
A visit to Torres- Probably the best known Spanish wine in the US is Spain’s largest family owned winery- Torres. In 1870 Jaime Torres established a winery at Vilafranca del Penedes, an hour plus drive from Barcelona. In 1979 Torres Corona Mas La Plana 1970 beat out Chateau Latour and other Bordeaux wines in the Gault Millau Paris Olympiad blind tasting. The winery is run today by Miguel Torres Jr with wineries in Chile, California, as well as Catalonia, Rioja, Toro, Ribera del Duero and Conca de Barbera. They have introduced grape varieties such as Chardonnay, Riesling, Sauvignon Blanc, Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc and Pinot Noir not commonly used in Spanish wines. I almost felt I was at a Disney theme park with the tram tour through a tunnel under the winery. The tram also takes visitors through the grounds and to view a film about the firm. There is a museum, tasting room and gift shop. If you are a special guest you might be invited to lunch with Miguel Jr. in the nearby town where his family lives.
For More Information-
If I were writing for Family Living, Gaming, Camping, Outdoor Living or Backpacker Magazines the Tahoe South area would be my first choice for a family vacation. Lake Tahoe is the largest alpine lake in North America and it is surrounded by the Sierra Nevada Mountains. I was on a six day sponsored trip, along with my dear friend Michelle, who writes for two Texas newspapers as well as several AAA Magazines. My idea of roughing it is that the air conditioning only works on medium so this trip was an eye opener. I did have problems with the 6,237-foot altitude until I started drinking 8-10 glasses of water a day.
Mountain bikers and motorcycle enthusiasts are a special breed of crazy people and the hikers lost cell service and loved it. Driving up mountain roads I watched in awe, as runners seemed to beat my car up the hills. The jet skiers and para sailors loved the 191.6 square miles of Lake Tahoe. This was summer season so I had to imagine the skiers and snowboarders hurtling down the snow-covered trails after riding the Heavenly Gondola to 9,136 feet. Let's not forget the ice-skating, snowmobiling and sledding. Then there is gaming, golf, tennis, fishing, horseback riding, shopping, spas, nightlife, local culture and family fun.
South Lake Tahoe is the largest city in El Dorado County, California, yet there are only 21,000 plus souls living the good life with 39% of the area water. The California-Nevada state line area is primed for visitors with hotels, restaurants & ski resorts. Gaming is only allowed in Nevada with the casino hotels sitting smack dab on the border in Stateline, Nevada. The city was incorporated in 1965 with gaming arriving in 1944. I am told that the 1960 Winter Olympics in Squaw Valley, California put the Lake Tahoe area on the map as a skiing region.
Ten Best Restaurants- In no particular order
Ciera Steak+ Chophouse- MontBleu Resort- Tahoe’s only Four Diamond Restaurant. Leather booths, rich wood paneling and glass chandeliers. Tried the Cowboy Rib Eye, 24oz. certified Angus beef (had the leftovers for lunch the next day). The Captain’s List has over 300 wines & Champagnes. Ciera’s Maitre de Tommy Walker gave me a tour of the wine room.
19 Kitchen* Bar- 19th floor of Harveys Lake Tahoe- Spectacular views of the lake. There is a separate bar area that serves food, with a great lake view. My Surf’n’turf contained broiled filet, short ribs, seared diver scallop and Australian lobster.
Friday Station Steak & Seafood Grill- Located on the top floor of Harrah’s Lake Tahoe. 1,000-bottle display wine cellar and magnificent views.
Mirabelle’s- This French fine dining establishment is located on the South Shore of Lake Tahoe.
The Hungry Bear Restaurant- Located in the Ridge Tahoe. Chef Stephen Moise presents an elegant dining experience in a casual atmosphere. There is a separate bar area that serves food. Try the Tuesday night chef cooking series. The friendliest staff (including Chef Stephen) I have encountered in years delivered simple food prepared perfectly with locally fresh ingredients to complement the resort’s peaceful and homey vibe.
Capisce- Located a short distance from downtown South Lake Tahoe in Zephyr Cove with an emphasis on Italian food.
Edgewood Restaurant- Located in the famed Edgewood Golf Club where one does not have to be a member to dine here. The tables look directly out across the lake. I dined on the Tasmanian King Salmon with wild mushrooms.
Fox & Hound- Located near the Nevada side of the Heavenly Resort at 7,380 feet above sea level with great views of the Carson Valley.
The Chart House- Nestled halfway up the mountain, this Cliffside restaurant offers spectacular views of the entire Lake Tahoe basin with both inside and outside seating.
Red Hut- The original Red Hut Café is open 6AM-2PM for breakfast and lunch. The large Red Hut at Ski Run Blvd has a full menu and traditional hours. Don’t miss the old fashioned soda fountain.
Ten Best Activities- In no particular order:
Camp Richardson Corral- Owned and operated by the Ross family since 1934 they offer scenic guided horseback rides, steak dinner rides, summer hay wagon rides, back country pack trips, pony (gentle kids horse) rides and winter sleigh rides. Located next to historic Camp Richardson.
Heavenly Gondola- There is a 2.4-mile ride up the Heavenly Mountain with panoramic views of Lake Tahoe. On your way up, stop at The Observation Deck - a 14,000 square foot mid-station observation platform, located at 9,123 feet. Take the gondola to the top or hike on the Nevada side of the mountain. After your ride to the top of the Heavenly Gondola, lace up your shoes for a variety of hikes.
Heavenly Village Shops- Located at the base of the Heavenly Gondola and walking distance from South Lake Tahoe casinos. Shop, dine, catch a movie or try ice-skating or miniature golf at the seasonal outdoor pavilion.
Golf at Edgewood Tahoe- One of the most scenic golf courses in the world is set along the south shore of Lake Tahoe. This course offers a choice of four sets of tees, ranging in length from 5,567 yards to a demanding 7,555.
Biking at Spooner Summit- The Flume Trail, with sweeping Lake Tahoe views, lead from Spooner Lake to Marlette Lake, past the Aspens and along the streams. Rest overlooking Lake Tahoe before your nine scenic miles down 1,800 feet.
Cruise on the Tahoe Queen—This 520 passenger ship, 1900’s style, is the only authentic Mississippi paddle wheeler on Lake Tahoe. Choose the 2 1/2 hour Emerald Bay sightseeing cruise or the sunset dinner cruise.
Vikingsholm Castle- You need to be in great shape to walk the one mile down and one mile up hill to the castle. The former summer home of millionaire heiress Lora Knight, Vikingsholm was built in 1929. Because the rugged mountain scenery and sheer granite cliffs surrounding Emerald Bay reminded her of the fjords in Norway, Knight chose a Scandinavian design.
Tallac Historic Site- Is home to the archeological remains of the Tallac Resort and three large summer estates built by wealthy San Franciscans. The 74-acre tract of land is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. It is located 3 miles north of South Lake Tahoe.
Outdoor Concerts- MontBleu’s 5,200-seat outdoor amphitheater summer concert series. Outdoor Arena at Harveys is 7,000 seat plus.
Gaming- Try your luck at Harrah’s Lake Tahoe, Harveys Lake Tahoe, MontBleu Resort Casino & Spa, Horizon or Lakeside Inn & Casino. All located on the Nevada state line.
Ten Best Hotels- In no particular order:
The Ridge Tahoe- This 11-acre hotel resort has 302 units featuring hotel rooms, junior suites (my room), one and two bedroom condominiums and is nestled on a spectacular Sierra Nevada ridge overlooking Lake Tahoe. Complimentary health club, indoor sports complex, indoor/outdoor swimming pools & Jacuzzis. There is a full service spa, tennis courts, rock climbing wall and hiking trails. In the winter the Skier Express provides access to Heavenly Ski Resort’s Stagecoach Chairlift. Complimentary shuttle to downtown Lake Tahoe and casino nightlife.
MontBleu Resort Casino & Spa- Featuring a casino and a health spa, this 437-room resort is on the Nevada side of South Lake Tahoe and within walking distance to the Heavenly Village Gondola and the Edgewood Golf Course. The lagoon-style indoor pool is a relaxing retreat, with a gentle waterfall and rock islands.
Lakeside Inn & Casino- This inn offers guestrooms with a lakeside, nature theme. The hotel offers pet-friendly rooms to its guests and a seasonal outdoor pool.
3 Peaks Resort & Beach Club- Located 2 blocks from the Heavenly Valley Gondola and 3 blocks from the Lake Tahoe casinos. 3 Peaks Resort & Beach Club is a pet friendly mountain cabin style hotel property.
Zephyr Cove Resort- The cabins at Zephyr Cove resort consist of 28 cabins nestled in a grove of pine trees on South Lake Tahoe’s shoreline. They range in size from studios and cottages to two-story chalets that can sleep up to 10 guests and are pet friendly.
Camp Richardson Historic Resort & Marina- Offers a wide array of recreational activities and lodging options including cabins, historic hotel, marina/beach duplex, beachside inn, RV Park, campgrounds plus lakeside dining, a general store as well as an ice-cream parlor. The Mountain Sports Center offers bike rental as well as hiking maps. Don’t expect TV’s, air-conditioning or telephones. You are there to relax.
Marriott Timber Lodge- The 473 room Marriott Vacation Club Resort is located in the beautiful Heavenly Village next to the high-speed gondola that can take guests to the Heavenly Mountain.
968 Park Hotel- Located minutes away from the Heavenly Gondola, the shops of Heavenly Village and the Nevada casinos. There is a heated outdoor pool, hot tub, Jacuzzi as well as a spa. Enjoy free WiFi in the 60 newly renovated rooms or relax in the Zen Garden.
SPECIAL MENTIONS- The following were outside the South Tahoe area but deserve mention.
May 25 through October 20- Ride the multi-million-dollar reconstruction of the Virginia & Truckee Railroad (24 mile roundtrip). The train leaves from the Nevada State Capitol in Carson City and runs along the west side of Mound House and across a spectacular railroad bridge over U.S. Hwy. 50, then picks up the historic, Comstock Era route. Watch for mines, silver ore veins and wild mustangs. F Street Depot Car – the Virginia City end of this line, with a free shuttle to downtown C Street. You’ll have three hours to explore this authentic western town (think TV’s Bonanza).
The Victorian-era Virginia City sprang up as a boomtown on top of the Comstock Lode, the first major silver deposit discovered in the United States, in 1859. At its peak in the late 19th century it had over 15,000 residents. The mines' output declined after 1874, and as of the 2010 Census the population of Virginia City was about 855. Many locals work at the shops, museums, restaurants and saloons that cater to the 2 million visitors per year. Ride on a stagecoach, horse-drawn carriage or trolley, or tour a silver or gold mine. Virginia City is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.
Genoa Bar and Saloon, Nevada's Oldest Thirst Parlor- The building was built in 1853 and was well known as a "gentleman's saloon" back then. It has changed hands many times over the years and in 1963, the Bob and Betty Carver family who ran it until 2000, when they retired and sold the bar to Willy and Cindy Webb bought it.
For More Information-
As a professional journalist and educator I consider myself fairly worldly and intelligent. I’m also a New Yorker and am Vice President of my local NYPD Community Council. I occasionally consult on senior issues for my local politicians. So sometimes my opinions on things are rather concrete.
On a recently sponsored press trip to Lake Tahoe I was confronted with two situations. Another journalist and I were scheduled to take a two-hour cruise in a yacht along the lake. An hour before the departure time when we called to confirm we were told that there were mechanical problems and the trip was cancelled. I had a rental car and both of us wanted to see the boat and marina area so we drove over.
When we arrived a half hour after the (cancelled) scheduled departure we found the boat docked and the captain asleep aboard ship. So we talked to a member of the crew who told us that the boat was fine but that there were only two passengers that had been scheduled; he didn’t know that we were those two passengers. How about telling us the truth and inviting us to inspect the ship while docked? Do you really think either one of us is going to write about your boat in any capacity but this?
The night before that incident we were aboard the Mississippi paddlewheeler the Tahoe Queen for a nice dinner and to watch the Labor Day fireworks display put on by the South Lake Tahoe folks. When we pulled up to the marina I asked the attendant what the charge was for parking for the dinner cruise. He said $10 and we parked at the marina. There was available free parking about two blocks away but $10 was reasonable. As we were exiting the lot I handed the attendant a $10 bill and she said it was $20. There were three people in my car- the other writer and my cousin who is a Colonel in the USAF and drove 2 1/2 hours from his home to see me. We all heard the $10 price quote. When I protested the owner of the lot came into view and said that the person quoting the $10 price did not work for him and had no right to give us that price. By the way, there were no signs posted as to the price and that is why I asked. How many tourists were overcharged and said nothing? I refused to move my car and told the owner to call the police as I shut off my car engine. The cars behind me had no other way to exit the lot. Guess what price I paid!
Another interesting scenario occurred today. I received my Time Warner cable bill and noticed a $40.95 charge for installation. When I called they told me that I had received a high definition box to install for one of my TV's. I told the representative that when I received the box I tried to understand the instructions but was unable to install it myself. I called the service desk and was transferred to a representative in another country. I could not understand 3/4 of what she was saying and told her so. She suggested that they send a professional installer to my place, which they did and the TV works fine. At no time did the representative ever mention a charge for the installation. If she had told me $40.95 I would have said no thank you and asked one of my techie friends to install it. It took the installer all of two minutes to complete his job. When I mentioned that Verizon FIOS would be available in my building in a few weeks and I guess I would have to drop Time Warner- guess what? Not only did they credit me the $40.95 but they also lowered my regular bill by $15. Competition is good. If you know how to compete…..
Don't mess with Ron Kapon
I have a NYC bike. It weights 50 pounds with a large basket, no gears (I walk it up hills) and only a foot brake. There are big tires, a wide seat and it is a dirty lime green color. One can spot it a block away. I ride it in Riverside Park mostly in the spring through the fall. Years ago I used it around Manhattan for appointments and errands but the city has become too congested and dangerous for bike riders. I tried the bike lanes but found delivery trucks blocking much of my Upper West Side lanes.
My 20 minute ferry ride from The World Financial Center ferry terminal passed by the New Jersey waterfront 9/11 memorial, the Wall Street financial firms high-rise office buildings and the Hyatt Regency Hotel in Jersey City. There was a short pause to take the obligatory Statue of Liberty photo and a view of Ellis Island, which was our country’s primary immigration terminal from 1892 to 1954. When we docked at the 1,212-acre waterfront Liberty State Park there was a short walk to our 20-minute Segway riding lesson. Note- In NYC they are illegal to operate on the streets or sidewalks. It was then off for the 1 1/2 hour Segway tour within the park. It was great to see Manhattan from sea level less than a mile away. Richard my guide took me through the secret garden, along the bird estuary, wildlife habitats, open water, nature trails, playgrounds and promenade and next to the just concluded golf tournament- The Barclay held at Liberty National Golf Club. There were people fishing, picnicking and grilling and waiting to catch the boat to the Statue of Liberty (the lines are much shorter here).
The tour is $79 and departs twice daily at 10:30AM and 1:30PM. You must be over 16 and between 100 and 260 pounds, and not pregnant. I was told that members of a group that don’t or can’t use the Segway could rent a bicycle ($10 an hour) and follow along with the Segways.
For information about Bike & Roll many guided and self-guided New York City tours- www.bikenewyorkcity.com
If you have HBO and love sports watch the documentary- Glickman. It will debut on Monday August 26th at 9PM EDT. It is the story of the late great sports broadcaster Marty Glickman (1917-2001). Saturday night there was a screening of the movie at the theater on the 10th floor of the Time Warner Center. The Glickman family & the writer, producer, director James L. Freedman attended, as well as many alumni of Syracuse University. Sponsored by the Newhouse School of Syracuse University it presented the first Marty Glickman Award for Leadership in Sports Media to alumnus Bob Costas '74. Alumnus Marv Albert ’63, whose first job in broadcasting was as a high school student working for Marty Glickman, led the award ceremony. The event also marked the launch of the Newhouse Sports Media Center at Syracuse University.
There was some great, long lost footage of the 1936 Olympics that were held in Berlin. Marty made the Olympic team at age 18. He, along with a 2nd Jewish runner, Sam Stoller, were removed from the 400-yard relay race & replaced by Jesse Owens and a second black runner Ralph Metcalfe. Supposedly, to placate Hitler, who was mad that his elite white men could not beat Jesse Owens and other black US athletes. Owens asked to withdraw from the race & let Marty run but was refused by the US coach.
Marty was a local Bronx boy who graduated from James Madison High School in Brooklyn, playing football, basketball and running track. He went on to Syracuse University where he was a football All-American. He had a tryout with the NY Giant team and ended up playing for their minor league team in Jersey City. This lead to the start of his broadcasting career: Yonkers Raceway (12 years), NY Knicks (21), NY Giants (23), NY Jets (11), pre and post game for the Brooklyn Dodgers & NY Yankees (22 years). Marty was the voice of Paramount News for sports related highlights. If you grew up in the pre-computer era and went to the movies you watched the Paramount News reels. He loved kids and wanted to publicize the good that sports brought to the New York area youth with his televised high school game of the week.
There are interviews with Larry King, Bill Bradley, Jim Brown, Frank Gifford, Jerry Stiller, Giants co-owner John Mara and many other notables in the sports world. Mr. Freedman uses recordings of Marty and quotes from his autobiography. He was a Jewish role model who refused to change his last name, as did many other broadcasters. Marty Glickman retired from broadcasting in 1992 at the age of 74.
On a personal note I met both Steve & Eydie in the early 1960's through their musical arranger Joe Guercio. Joe was a friend of my father and shopped at our family liquor store. Joe also introduced me to Elvis Presley when he conducted his orchestra, both in Las Vegas and on his many TV shows. NOTE- Acker Merrall & Condit is the oldest wine & liquor business in America, having been founded in 1820. My brother Michael retired a few years ago and his oldest son John now owns it, as well as Acker Auctions, the worlds largest wine auction house.
Kenny Greenglass was their manager and Judy Tanner was their assistant. NOTE- I hope my memory gets all the names correct. I would go to their shows at Westbury Music Fair, The Concord and in Florida. It turns out Steve's birthday is a few days before mine in July (we are both 78). My ex-wife Donna also loved them and we would catch many of their shows in Las Vegas, Chicago (where we lived in the late '60's) and their annual visit to the state fair in southern Illinois. Steve briefly was in the spirit import business with a Gin that I believe was called Old Bailey. I went to the Charmer meeting when he spoke to the sales force.
Yesterday I had to send my beloved 735 I 1985 BMW to car heaven. It needed a new computer and my dealer did not think it worth the cost. I did not want to sell it so decided to donate it to the Make A Wish Foundation. A car donation company will repair the car & donate 85% of the money raised to the foundation.