…The Real West Begins Where Las Vegas Ends
By Bex of My 17 in ’17
Nevada. Say the word out loud. Nevada. What comes to mind? The Las Vegas Strip? Gambling? Extreme heat? Prostitution? Sure, we have all of that here. But Southern Nevada is home to so much more than just the Vegas stereotypes.
For instance, did you know that we get snow? Well we do. In fact, that is how Nevada got its name. “Nevada” comes from the Spanish word meaning “snow-covered”. It was named after the Sierra Nevada mountain range. Just a short drive from the famous feathered dancers and roulette wheels lies the Las Vegas Ski & Snowboard Resort and the Resort on Mount Charleston. The high elevations in the area mean the temperature can easily be over 20 degrees cooler than the hot strip in Las Vegas. This makes this area a beautiful, scenic place to escape the summer heat.
Ghost Towns and Clown Motel
We also have some of the most fascinating ghost towns in Southern Nevada, some of which are still inhabited, such as Tonopah. I’m not sure exactly why anyone calls Tonopah a ghost town. It’s definitely a small town, with less than 2,500 residents, but it’s actually the county seat for Nye County and is home to restaurants, a supermarket, casinos, and a few hotels. One such hotel is the widely unknown, but locally infamous, Clown Motel. Located next door to the cemetery, the Clown Motel has gained itself quite the creepy reputation in the area. The lobby, as well as the rooms, are ornamented with clowns of all shapes and sizes. Many visitors claim that they feel an eerie, haunted presence… but who wouldn’t get a little edgy trying to navigate the local t.v. channels with weathered clown eyes staring down at them from the walls?
If snow and clowns aren’t your thing then I recommend visiting the small town of Mesquite. Located just west of the Utah border in Southern Nevada, this little town has so much more than meets the eye. The locals are known for holding a number of community events such as chili cookoffs, car shows, and beer festivals. They also host amateur mixed martial arts events at their CasaBlanca Events Center at the CasaBlanca Resort, showcasing up-and-coming fighters from gyms in Nevada, Arizona, Utah, and California. Mesquite is a perfect combination of big city entertainment and a small town community environment.
And lastly, the often overlooked town of Pahrump. Pahrump can be found smack dab in between Las Vegas and Death Valley. Many have driven through it on their way to California, but most can’t even recall its name. Those that do recognize the name probably know it as the home of Hollywood Madame, Heidi Fleiss. Or more recently, the town that basketball player, Lamar Odom, was visiting when he had a stroke in one of the local brothels. While it may have made a name for itself with its brothels, this town is the home of a wide array of attractions. There really is something for everyone here. Legendary golf courses, award winning wineries and RV resorts, and the local Front Sight Firearms Training Institute is the world’s largest gun training school. Along with that, Pahrump’s Spring Mountain Motor Resort is the home of the Cadillac V-Performance Academy, touted as “The Official High Performance Driving School of Cadillac”.
Why limit yourself to dancing girls and gambling when the charm of the old west is just a short drive away? So step away from the glittering lights of Vegas and visit one of the many scenic small towns of Southern Nevada.
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