Truckee was once a place you stopped to fill up your car with gas on the way to one of the many ski resorts that circle Lake Tahoe. But now skiers are staying over night in this small town, located about 30 minutes from Reno.
With a handful of great places to bed down, a happening restaurant scene, and a main drag lined with old Western facades, Truckee offers more charming delights than you'll find at any of the ski resort villages.
My family recently spent two days in Truckee, and we discovered a great places were travelers can stay, play, and eat.
Stay: With feather beds, an outdoor hot tub, and free hot breakfast, the Best Western Truckee Tahoe Lodge provides comfort and value. At the front desk you can buy discounted lift tickets for nearby resorts such as North Star and Squaw Valley.
Play: Twenty minutes south in Soda Springs, Royal Gorge Cross-Country Ski Resort offers some 200 miles of trails that spread across 10,000 acres of mountain, forest and meadow. For families, it's a great alternative to the nearby downhill resorts that are spendy and often crowded. The kids camp is only $75 and includes a full day of instruction, lunch and rentals. Access to the trails are free for children 10 and under.
Eat: Downtown's Donner Pass Road is chockablock with restaurants but Moody's Bistro is the rowdiest and most refined of them all. The nightly changing menu features dishes such as homemade gnocchi drizzled with truffle oil and roasted Fulton Valley chicken, and the food is so good that it got a write-up in The New York Times. But peope aren't only coming here to eat. They're also pouring into this former hotel to hear live music; Paul McCartney has played here not once, but twice. And on Sunday, this is a hot spot for families as dinner is served family-style--$30 per adult; $15 for kids 12 and under.