While Truckee, California is well known for hosting below freezing, single digit temperatures in the winter and often remembered for the ill fated pioneers who lost their lives there, it may not be first remembered for outstanding eateries, boutiques, and excellent day excursions, yet it certainly should be.
Although we had stopped in Truckee on the way to skiing and en route to Lake Tahoe family vacations as a child, it wasn’t until several decades later that I discovered the gem that Truckee is for so many reasons and what a great all season getaway it makes for a weekend, overnight or simply a day-cation as we both re-discovered recently.
Nearly twenty years ago I became so enamored with Truckee that I began leading day excursion tours there for a local community college. I found the history of the Emigrant Trail Museum at Donner Memorial State Park more than intriguing. The museum was mesmerizing and the McGlashan Butterfly Collection spectacular. I enjoyed sharing these gems with anyone interested in learning about the gripping history that brought about these Sierra nuggets. But in recent years, Truckee holds even more.
On a recent day trip to Truckee we stumbled on many more reasons to love Truckee, California.
Our daytrip to Truckee included a stop over at the Truckee Donner Railroad Museum. Society member and Secretary Don Davis gave us a great tour of this little museum housed in a caboose next to the historic train station downtown. Stories, recreations, artifacts, and pictures depict the history and impact of the railroad on Truckee and beyond.
A highlight of our day in Truckee was a lovely dining experience at Dragonfly. Chef Billy McCullough has brought a delectable experience of fresh and healthy ingredients with Asian influences of Thailand, Japan, Malaysian, and India. Everything we ate was uniquely presented and delicious.
We started out with Sweet and Sour Eggplant dip with won tons and I was surprised how powerful and elegant the flavors were. Chef Billy told me the amusing story of how he stumbled on this masterpiece that is now expected by locals as a permanent staple. I had the Thai Noodle Bowl as a main course and it was lovely with grilled prawns, green curry, and Thai basil.
Numerous gluten free options are available which is refreshing. For dessert we tried the Banana Stuffed Won Tons with ice cream. Everything was lovely. The place was packed with locals and visitors alike and with good reason.
We agreed that a couple of hours are a must at the Emigrant Trail Museum in Donner Memorial State Park. An excellent but dated movie is a must see to learn the history and to get a feel for what these brave pioneers endured. Exhibits of artifacts from the Donner Party as well as Native Americans, builders of the First Transcontinental Railroad, a Pioneer Monument, Butterfly Collection and Donner Party cabin sites are just a few of the highlights.
A little browsing around town was mandatory as Truckee has some adorable little boutiques. The Mountain Home Center is one of my favorites with everything lodge-y and with gorgeous mountain home style décor.
After an hour or two of boutique-ing, it was time for some wine tasting at Uncorked. This great little wine bar offers countless options for sipping some wine with some friends and partaking in a small plate or two. They even offer some hand crafted beers as well.
We were sad to leave Truckee but while so much hasn’t changed, Truckee has new treasures to discover. We’re sure there will be more and we will be back again, sooner than later.