A weekend in Reno: Calmer than Sin City, but certainly not dull


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Posted Online: Jan. 26, 2013, 6:20 pm
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By Catharine Hamm
RENO, Nev. -- Remember when Vegas was cheap? It can be again, except it's not Vegas, it's Reno.

There are better reasons to come here than its reputation for quickie divorces might have you believe. For instance, big casinos just like in Vegas, but not as pricey and definitely not as raucous.

The bed: We chose the Tuscany-flavored Peppermill (2707 S. Virginia St., (866) 821-9996, peppermillreno.com) and had a price flashback. Even though it was a holiday weekend, our small suite at this AAA four-diamond property was $130 for Friday night and $160 for Saturday. (Rates for a standard room in December and January start as low as $48 midweek, $64 weekends.) Our quarters had a giant four-poster bed and an in-room Jacuzzi under a mirrored ceiling.

The food: Peppermill has a dozen places to eat, including Bimini Steakhouse, classified as fine dining. It was fine with me. Not so with my three companions. My filet mignon was tender, but they found the prime rib too rare, the crab/lobster cake too bland and the potatoes au gratin too cheesy.

We did better at the casual Biscotti's, whose menu is enormous and diverse (pizzas, burgers and some unexpected dishes such as halibut and cedar plank salmon). The Sports Deli served a mean chicken noodle soup in a bread bowl -- good on a cold day. (See "Lesson Learned" below.)

The find: Because I'm not much of a gambler (Peppermill's poker room accommodates novices like me and seasoned players like everyone else in my party), my great delight was Junkee (960 S. Virginia St., (775) 322-5865, junkeeclothingexchange.com), about a mile from the Peppermill.

It calls itself a "clothing exchange," but within its nearly 9,000 square feet you'll also find a section devoted to antiques and collectibles. Any place that advertises Burning Man attire is going to be funky, and it was.

"May I help you?" a clerk asked. "Just having fun," I replied. To which she replied, "Good. That's what we want." I couldn't stop giggling over the squirrel head mask, the glittery skulls and the Siamese cat cookie cutter.

Coupled with a short, brisk walk in downtown Reno, where the autumn colors complemented the rushing Truckee River, the outing was just enough to knock off the casino rust.

The lesson learned: It gets cold in Reno; the average high in November is 55 and in December and January 46. But on Nov. 10, I awoke to snowfall. It didn't stick, but it was enough to remind me that this wasn't Vegas, as if the hotel tab hadn't reminded me already.

The tab: What's expensive isn't Reno; it's the airfare. If you factor that out, our outlay was about $450, including one fine-dining meal but excluding poker losses.















 




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  Today is Sunday, Aug. 31, the 243rd day of 2014. There are 122 days left in the year.

1864 -- 150 years ago: The Chicago and Rock Island Railroad will carry all who wish to attend the Chicago convention for half fare — that is, full fare to Chicago and return free.
1889 -- 125 years ago: Hardy Hetter, for several years yardmaster in the Burlington Railroad yards in Rock Island and Moline, was transferred to Beardstown. He was succeeded here by J.E. Albrecht.
1914 -- 100 years ago: Corn was estimated at 50 percent of the normal crop in Rock Island County by Crop Correspondent Thomas Campbell.
1939 -- 75 years ago: Robert Carroll, 12-year-old son of Mr. and Mrs. Farr Carroll, of near Aledo, won the grand championship of the Mercer County baby beef show with "Fat Stuff."
1964 -- 50 years ago: About 250 persons attended the first in a series of horse shows at the Hillandale Stables off Knoxville Road near Milan on Saturday afternoon and evening.
1989 -- 25 years ago: Ground was broken this morning for the $4.5 million Rock Valley Business Park near Rock Valley Plaza, Rock Island. The first building is 17,000 square feet for offices and a warehouse and should be completed by Dec. 1.




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