Kevin Standlee (kevin_standlee) wrote,
Kevin Standlee

Out and About in Tonopah

Today after breakfast, we could walk to our first stop, which was the second half of a museum we'd looked at on a previous stay. (Again, click through to see more photos.)

Central Nevada Museum

The Central Nevada Museum is a only a couple hundred meters from the Tonopah Station Hotel. Much of the museum grounds are always open, and we visited here once on a day when the museum building was closed and walked the open front grounds. Today we saw the indoor and back-lot exhibits. A sign said that no photos were allowed inside. We discovered later that his only meant of material in the research library, but the result was that I took no photos of the indoor exhibits.

Going through the back door took us to the museum's back lot.

Tonopah's Railroads

This is a collection of railroad ties and other material from the many railroads that served Tonopah and the surrounding areas during the glory days of the mining boom.

T & G Railroad Plaque

Here's a plaque about the Tonopah & Goldfield.

Tonopah & Goldfield Railroad

This sign was not at the museum, but instead greets people on the highway as they approach Tonopah from the north on US-6/95.

Central Nevada Museum

Much of the history of Tonopah includes the Tonopah Army Air Field. These are salvaged engines from aircraft that crashed in the desert.

Central Nevada Museum

There is a whole lot more to see here and it's worth a stop. Admission is free, but donations are solicited. We bought a book on local history and made a donation before heading downtown.

At the museum, they told us that the Mizpah gives tours. We drove downtown to the Mizpah, where they explained that there weren't tours, but that we were welcome to go walk around upstairs and if the housekeepers were working on rooms and were willing, we could have a look at some of the rooms.

Lady in Red Room

We got lucky, talked to several friendly housekeepers, and got to see inside the Lady in Red Room, which is a specially-themed room based on the legend that the ghost of a woman murdered near this room haunts it.

Lady in Red Bathroom

Incidentally, this room and some of the other rooms have old-fashioned claw-foot bathtubs.

Mizpah Economy Queen

There are also more conventional rooms, like this economy queen. (It has only a shower, not a bathtub.)

Mizpah Hotel

The hallways are very nicely appointed.

Hotel Skylight

There's an interesting skylight on the top floor.

We got to see more rooms, including some of the smaller suites, but I did not get pictures. After seeing the rooms with her own eyes, Lisa decided that they were not quite as fragile looking as the hotel's web site seemed to imply, and we may indeed stop here on a future stay. It would be hard to beat the luxury (of our style) of the suite we have at the Tonopah Station, though. (For example, the Mizpah rooms don't have refrigerators.)

Downtown Tonopah has a bookstore. We went to examine it.

Tonopah Bookstore

This store takes one back. It's full of books! We ended up buying several books, all at reasonable prices. This place is very close to the downtown hotels and the convention center.

Based on what we saw at the Central Nevada Museum, we knew that the former Tonopah Army Air Field is now maintained as a local airport, so we drove a few miles out of town on US-6 to have a look.

WW II Airfield

This old hangar is a relic of the days when this was a WW II US Army Air Corps facility.

Brace of Skymasters

Today's airport only maintains one of the three historical runways and has light traffic. OTOH, Lisa looked at the airport information and says that the runway could handle big planes, not just small craft like this pair of Cessna Skymasters. Mind you, as there are nearly no facilities, if you brought in a 737 or something like that it would have to be one of those that are self-serving.

After our airport trip we went looking for lunch, but the first two places we tried were nothing but pizza, and Lisa wanted a hamburger, so we went back to the Mizpah, where we'd seen their lunch special was a specialty hamburger. However, the hotel was hopping with a large wedding party, and the restaurant appeared to be closed. We started to leave when a manager asked if we wanted lunch and when we said yes, led us into the restaurant. We were on the only customers, but the kitchen was open, and things were quiet on account of the wedding catering was all done. We ordered a couple of their burgers and chatted with the sales manager who had led us into the restaurant. She told us that Tonopah had recently hosted a convention of hospitality professionals, and as we thought, the town is punching considerably above its weight in the hospitality field. We also learned from her that the group that restored the Mizpah are also restoring the Belvada across the street, and that it should also be opened to the high standards of the historic Mizpah next year.

The chef brought our burgers to us. I confirmed that he had been cooking the last two nights as well, and complimented him on the lemon dill salmon we had on Thursday night. The burgers were excellent as well.

We were very impressed that the people there took care of us even in the midst of having just filled the hotel lobby with a large wedding group. They take their jobs seriously. Aside from the logistical issues of getting people to Tonopah, this place keeps looking better all the time as a site for a smallish convention of the sort we like.

Finally for this afternoon, we refueled the minivan and made one more pass through town to see if there were things we'd missed.

Electric Highway in Tonopah

There are "Electric Highway" signs on US-95, and this large group of charging stations in front of the fire station in a small park on Main Street. Given that Tonopah's electricity can be attributed to the Crescent Dunes plant, this means you can charge your car with solar energy. But only Tesla stations are here; none of the other types of charger we've seen about were present, which seems unfortunate.

Tonight we are going to see if stargazing lives up to its advance billing. A misadventure with Google Maps led us this afternoon down an unmarked road that came dangerously close to stranding us, but Lisa managed to persuade the Astro over a near-washout, and we found ourselves only a few hundred meters from our hotel. We drove back to the Tonopah Station over the much safer route from where we wound up, and we'll go back over there tonight after dark. Don't expect photos. I don't have the right kind of camera for it. But I can see why Tonopah Star Walks were billed as starting at the Tonopah Station Hotel, as it looks to be an easy walk to the Tonopah Stargazing Park.

It's been a really good three days here in Tonopah. We'll head home tomorrow, but I think we may come back again, and I recommend that if anyone reading this has cause to drive this way between Las Vegas/Southern California and Northern Nevada that you give yourself time to stop here in Tonopah and check out its attractions.
Tags: hotels, tonopah

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