Yes, folks, it *really* happened: Marc and Carol celebrated their 50th wedding anniversary on June 19th, 2010. Eric and Brian made sure they did it in style with their favorite people in Sparks. (Sparks is next door to Reno.) Sparks is roughly a three and a half to four and a half hour drive (depending on traffic) from the San Francisco Bay Area, through Sacramento. It is also roughly 40 miles north of Incline Village on the north shore of Lake Tahoe.
Thank you to everyone who contributed a memory of where they were on June 19th, 1960. Here’s a link to a PDF version of the booklet I put together and handed out at the party. Marc and Carol had to think *a bit* with some of the entries (Marge was the hardest), but in the end they guessed them all.
The party took place at 5pm at
Vista Pavillion @ Hidden Valley Regional Park, Sparks/Reno, NV
a lovely spot managed by the Washoe Co. Parks and Rec department in the eastern hills above Sparks and Reno with trees for shade, tables, two barbecue stands, and a horseshoe pit. The view is to the west, so sunset is one of the featured events, especially when it back lights the incredible band we hired: Analog Jazz. The kept people dancing and singing through the whole party, part of the time fronted (spontaneously) by Marc’s sister Amy. We *highly* recommend hiring them for your next celebration in the I-80 Bay Area – Sacramento (where they’re based) – Reno corridor.
Besides terrific jazz music from the 1960s, the party featured a visual display of some of the terrific movies that came out in 1960:
La Dolce Vita
Oceans 11 (the original)
and one movie that came out in the 1970s but is set around 1960 (in the CA central valley): American Grafitti.
The menu was a tribute to Carol Rector cuisine over the past 50 years:
Pimento Cheese on crackers
Eric’s Blue Thistle cheese (a new addition)
Potato Latkes (fried potato pancakes) with cream cheese and chives
Butterflied Grilled Leg of Lamb
Grilled Bison T-Bone Steaks (a new addition)
Crepes Suzette, which flambeéd on the grill just as the sunset flambeéd the western sky.
The Rector family continues to travel this week as we celebrate Matt and Andrea’s wedding the following weekend. As soon as we all arrive back home, more pictures will be posted.
Brian’s Guide to Reno/Sparks Accommodations:
“Peppermill – OM likes the sports book. They thought the motel-style (i.e. cheapo) addition that they stayed in was nice. It’s a mile or so from downtown Reno and not terribly convenient to my house. I stayed there for a convention a couple years ago in one of the brand new rooms and that was pretty sweet. Natasza and I spent the night once on a locals promo in an older room which wasn’t as sweet. Buffet was not great.
Eldorado Hotel Casion – Probably the best option for restaurants. The buffet there is excellent. Awfully-good-for-the-price upscale Italian place. Haven’t been in their rooms. Right downtown, which is not that hard to get to/from my house.
Silver Legacy Resort Casino – Also downtown (actually connected to the Eldorado by a skywalk). I’ve only walked thru the lobby but it had a nice vibe to it with a classy old-west feel.
Circus Circus – The original. Good for families with kids as they have continual, free circus performances. Haven’t been in there. Downtown.
The Nugget – Closest & easiest one to my house (it’s in Sparks). A bit past its prime but not rundown. One of the best ones for entertainment (I’m going to see Nanci Griffith there tonite). Have only been for a show (Del McCoury), not for food or lodging.
Atlantis – Down by the Convention Center (like the Peppermill), walked thru it a couple times during the convention. Wasn’t terribly impressed. Probably what the Peppermill will be like in 10-15 years if the economy doesn’t pick up.
Harrah’s – Reputed to be the “classiest” casino in town. We went into their sports book one Monday nite to watch football and it was pretty dead. Decamped to the Peppermill.
Siena Hotel Spa Casino – Markets itself as upscale but I don’t think it’s that much more expensive than the others. Tuscan theme. Natasza & I at supper there one night on a locals promo and it was pretty good. Downtown but not on the strip. Right across from the Aces ballpark, which has a new restaurant/entertainment complex next door (sadly, the team will be in Fresno on that weekend).
Most of these places have “resort” amenities like massage, sauna, etc., for extra money. I’ve never been to any of those but there is likely information at their websites.
As for “non-gaming” hotels/motels, I’m not sure those exist. I guess there are prolly national chain hotels that don’t have casinos in them (altho some, like the Ramada, do). I’m not sure motels are really worth considering as most of the big casinos have bargain rate options. “