In case you hadn’t noticed, Nevada is filled with surprises, from colorful geysers in the middle of the desert to quirky art installations and towns where the Wild West is still alive and well. One of these surprises is the unassuming town of Fallon, located just 60 miles east of Reno. While Fallon’s small population of less than 9,000 people may mean it wasn’t on your radar, we suggest you take a closer look at this hidden gem along Hwy 50 and plan a day trip during your next visit to Reno.
One thing you can count on in most small towns are restaurants that are loved by locals and don’t let you leave hungry. That’s no exception in Fallon! Jerry’s Restaurant is a local favorite that doesn’t mess around when it comes to portions. Another popular spot serving up tasty breakfast, lunch and dinner fare is Maine Street Café, whose patio is a great spot to catch live music if you’re in town in the evening. For lunch, you can’t go wrong with a salad or sandwich at The Slanted Porch, but make sure you get there before they close at 3. Best known for their burgers (made fresh, never frozen) but also loved for their steaks and breakfast menu, is JD Slingers. Curious about the name? Well, it’s a good story but you’ll have to read about it on the menu!
Sticking to the theme of unexpected, we bet you didn’t know Fallon is considered the ‘Oasis of Nevada.’ It’s home to plenty of agriculture and one of the best-known farms is Lattin Farms. They grow what are arguably the best cantaloupes you’ll ever taste, along with a bounty of other fruits and vegetables. Check their events calendar for up-to-date information regarding tours, farmers markets and seasonal festivities.
Churchill County is unexpectedly rich in arts, given the community’s size. The Churchill Arts Council makes its permanent home at the Oats Park Art Center which houses a 350-seat theatre and a 3,000 square foot gallery and exhibition space. If you’re a fan of the arts, be sure to take a tour of the permanent exhibit, or catch a show in the Barkley Theatre or Lariat Courtyard.
Head outside the city limits for even more unique finds. Get a sense of the region’s rich history on a tour at Grimes Point, where you can see petroglyphs created by Native Americans more than 8,000 years ago. If you really dig archeology, you’ll love the tour of Hidden Cave, where more than 21,000 years worth of rock layers have been exposed and are being studied by archeologists.
For bird watchers and wildlife lovers, Stillwater National Wildlife Refuge is a great spot to see migratory birds and other wildlife. There are trails throughout the refuge for visitors to explore.
If you like something a little faster-paced, then Sand Mountain State Recreation Area might just call your name. This recreation area is 4,800 acres designated as an OHV site. The sand formation is a result of years of windblown sand being stopped by the Stillwater Mountains to the north, east and west, and this natural phenomenon is a sight to behold.
This family farm is a little more, shall we say, spirited than you might expect. At Frey Ranch Estate Distillery, they make vodka, gin and absinthe but take extra pride in their selection of whiskeys. A true farm distillery, the process from growing the grain to distilling, maturing and bottling all take place on site for a truly ‘ground to glass’ experience.
Looking for more? Check out day trips from Reno that are worth the drive.
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