Some of the most uncomplicated access to real outdoor thrills, unstuffy histories as lasting as Nevada statehood itself, unbeatable charm and culture, and absolutely delicious locally sourced food and drink. With a roster of things to keep you entertained and happy in Carson Valley as long and mighty as that, this four-part community really does seem to have it all. The only thing missing? An incredible local shopping scene, sure to excite even the most refined retail snobs. Well the good news is we’ve got plenty of that too, with masterfully curated locally made goods in all corners of the Valley, ready to be bought and brought back home with you. So! Ready to shop to it?
Say Yes to Small-Town Charm with Genoa NV Shopping
Amazing, small-town shopping in Nevada’s oldest town? You better believe it. Nestled in the rolling foothills of the Eastern Sierra, history buffs and leisure-lovers alike make Genoa, NV a year round destination. And with one foot out of the car and onto Genoa’s historic streets (that look more-or-less the same in 2023 as they did all the way back in 1851, by the way), it’s easy to see why. The Genoa Historic District is known for Mormon Station State Historic Park, which contains an old Mormon fort that the pros estimate is the oldest permanent structure in Nevada, and of course the legendary Genoa Bar, the oldest bar in Nevada. But nestled between these two beacons, shoppers will find delight in all kinds of here-and-only-here attractions, like a handful of antique shops, one of the best turquoise stores in Nevada, Peruvian hoodies and blankets, and all the info you need to know to plan your trip to the best (and largest!) craft fair in northern Nevada.
First on the agenda? Make sure to check out Petersunn Antiques, which is completely stocked with all kinds of distinctive old relics—some of which have played a role in Genoa’s historic past, while others come from all corners of the West. Browse all kinds of old guns and knives (which seem to be the main specialty found here), along with an impressive array of Winchester goods, too. Then, walk a few blocks north and browse through the Genoa County Courthouse (open seasonally from about Memorial Day through October each summer). Besides an amazingly curated little gift shop, study up on some of Genoa’s historic figures, like the stories of Snowshoe Thompson and Lillian Virgin Finnegan—you’re going to need that for later.
Back on Main Street Genoa, head south to Cusco Alpaca Peru. Alpaca wool-made blankets, hoodies, and even toys right in the middle of Nevada’s oldest town? We couldn’t believe it either, but trust us when we say this store is way too good to skip out on. Load up on amazingly priced, quality homemade alpaca clothing, then head one storefront over to Home in Genoa store for the sweetest little home goods retail fix. Stocked with a thoughtful combination of old and new items, you’ll find seasonally curated wares within, with just about everything you might need to decorate your house for every holiday. And right next door, be sure to stop in and have a look at The Genoa Gallery, one of the best local photography galleries that participates in the Genoa Wine Walk (if your trip magically aligns with that once-a-month summer timing), and with gorgeous Genoa photography available for purchase, offers a way of immortalizing your trip to Nevada’s oldest town.
If you’re shopping with your husband, now would be the time to ditch, er leave him, at the Genoa Bar while you browse the best for last: The Dancing Deer. A longtime fixture of the Genoa scene, The Dancing Deer brims with some of the best mid-to-high end jewels in all of Carson Valley. Here, everything is organized by gemstone type and ranges from garnets to opals, and moonstone to labradorite, along with one of the finest selections of turquoise in the region. Here, you’ll also find all kinds of gorgeous homewares made by many local artists and makers, too.
Genoa Candy Dance
Looking for even more Genoa shopping? If your trip brings you to Carson Valley in late September you’re in luck, and if not, well then this gives you a good reason to come back: The Genoa Candy Dance. Founded by Genoa local Lillian Virgin Flannigan back in 1919 as a candy-selling festivity to fundraise for streetlights in downtown Genoa, the event is now in it’s hundredth-and-counting annual event that still features a literal dance and dinner, along with more than 300 high end craft vendors. The Candy Dance typically happens the third weekend in September each year, and earmarks one of the best ways to celebrate autumn (and get a jump on holiday shopping!) in the Valley.
Score at These Amazing Minden Merchants
As one of the first master planned communities in America (thanks, Dangberg) you can bet the quaint community of Minden offers a little something for the shop-a-holic in all of us along Esmeralda Street and beyond. There’s no better place to kick off your Minden merchant fix right in the heart of Historic Downtown Minden at one of the oldest, most iconic structures at the Art Gallery Prism. Housed in the original Minden Flour Mill Warehouse property, the Art Gallery Prism is one of the best places in the Valley to stop and see an array of locally made art, ranging from award-winning watercolor, acrylic, oil, mixed media, and photography artwork, along with museum-quality hard-shell gourd art, jewelry, and other wearable art.
Continue your walking tour of the Minden Historic District across the street at Cottonwood Creek Gifts—a locally shopping experience filled with all kinds of even more local art, crafts, seasonal home decor, and plenty of foodie treats ranging from coffees, to flavored olive oil, honey, dipping sauces, and far beyond. Further down the road, be sure to check out Heart Strings Gallery & Gifts, which shares a space with the Carson Valley Arts Council. Filled with even more breathtaking local art, it’s here where you’ll shop among the locals at one of Carson Valley’s fave artsy boutiques, and it’s all thanks to a long list of one-of-a-kind finds ranging from fine paintings and prints, ceramic pottery, glass art, wearable pieces, jewelry, and far beyond. And last for not least, don’t forget to check out The Pink Rose, where you can pick out a whole new head-to-toe outfit for any season in the high desert or find the perfect decor for your home or gift for a loved one.
Welcome to Gardnerville, the Antiquing HQ of Nevada
As you make your way into Main Street Gardnerville, be sure to stop and check out one of the best indie bookstores in Carson Valley at Luminary Books, which features fine used books, curated new titles, games and puzzles, and a little something for the whole family. Just a few blocks away, look for the Antique Society, offering some of the Valley’s best antiquing with a collection that features cool old guns, rare furniture, ornate glassware, and far beyond. A little further down Highway 395, stop and check out one of Carson Valley’s newest businesses that embraces one of its oldest art forms at Eye of Rie Tintype & Photography. Operating out of an old diamond cutting store, it’s here where Carson Valley local Rielynn Lunde creates heirloom-quality tintype photography portraits sure to outlast this lifetime.
Practically right next door, be sure to stop in one of Gardnerville’s oldest structures at Battle Born Wine—a building that was moved on timbers from nearby Virginia City, if you can believe it—and has long operated as a local Gardnerville business throughout the years. Here, browse rows of lovingly curated wines, whiskeys, and just about every other spirit in between.
Across the street, be sure to stop in and see Fresh Ideas Gift Shop for an endless lineup of fine gifts. Celebrating their 30th anniversary in 2024, think gourmet foods, high quality home decor, jewelry, skincare, candles, kids and baby gifts, featured seasonal gifts, and much more in this local store. In other words, if you’re searching for the perfect gift for that special someone who has everything, chances are you’ll find something new at Gardnerville’s Fresh Ideas.
Gardnerville shopping possibilities run far and wide around here, but the main event in this historic small town is antiquing. Like, really good antiquing. While other places across Nevada and the West offer old-timey relics, few places offer a larger concentration of antiques and antiques that are from this exact region, than Cheshire Antiques. Located in the heart of downtown Gardnerville inside an old mercantile building first built in the 1890s, Cheshire Antiques offers an astonishing 12,000 square feet of antique finds, ranging from historic furniture, dishes and other glassware, clothing, antique turquoise and other jewels, vintage toys, wall hangings, and far beyond. Owners Karen and Richard Campbell keep a close eye on all inventory, ensuring only 10% of the merchandise in the store can be manufactured after the 1950s.
And of course shopping your way through Carson Valley is far from complete without seeing Eddy Street Vintage Market, which is located one block behind Cheshire Antiques. The brains behind this incredible operation, Meredith Fischer, began her retail curations at Cheshire Antiques, where she had her own booth alongside dozens of other area locals. But it wasn’t long until she was able to expand to her own space, and well, the rest is history. Now many years later, Meredith offers monthly, seasonally-themed pop up sales at Eddy Street Vintage Market, featuring a mixture of Carson Valley-based antiques, brand new textiles and home decor, antique furniture, new and old clothing, and kitchenware’s—to name a few among many—every month of the year.