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Virginia City, Nevada - Stepping Out with History and into an "All-fired" Vacation!

Updated on September 12, 2014
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Experience the Old West Charm and History

As you roll into Virginia City from the north by way of Nevada SR 341 or south on SR 342 be prepared to step out into an authentic western town that straddles a timeline of both present and past. Guests of Virginia City will be pleasantly delighted at the wealth of historical attractions within the .87 square mile city limits. Its main thoroughfare, C Street, is lined with remarkably preserved original buildings, and its planked sidewalks, gently buckled over the decades, lead you to both modern and venerable delights and entertainment ... and great dining. This once thriving mining boom town has kept so much of its 19th century Victorian charm that one can't help but wish they could step through a time portal and hitch their horse to a post.

It is not surprising that Virginia City, is the largest federally recognized Historical District in America. There is so much to see and learn about the boom town's important contributions to U.S. history by way of tours, museums, buildings, grave sites, antique shops, depots and more, that visitors really do need to set aside a few days to fully discover and appreciate its fabulous yesteryear. Besides the town's many historical attractions and tours, Virginia City's calendar includes special renowned events throughout the year such as Virginia City Motorcycle Run, Hot August Nights, and the International Camel Races.

The town's commitment to hospitality and history can be seen daily in the local residents welcoming and friendly reception to the town's visitors and in their active participation in preserving and celebrating its history. I have vacationed several time in Virgina City, and hands down it is one of the most friendly and welcoming towns I have ever visited. Another delightful feature I've always enjoyed is the daily parade of Virginia City residents dressed in the mode o' day of the 19th century. The ladies and gents stroll down planked sidewalks, the cantankerous miner tows his mule, and the sheriff and outlaws clink those shiny spurs up and down C Street. A tip of the hat and "good mornin' mam" makes you smile. If you stay in Virginia City long enough, you'll be expecting all the gents to tip their hats and every lovely lady to take a little curtsy.


Scroll down and let me share with you several of Virginia City's highlights.

Big Red Underwear proudly hang just outside the the Virginia City Mercantile.
Big Red Underwear proudly hang just outside the the Virginia City Mercantile. | Source

TNT Stagelines

An absolute thrill at full speed... be prepared for a bumpy ride!
An absolute thrill at full speed... be prepared for a bumpy ride!

Virginia City Attractions ...Woohoo!!

It would be impossible to cover the numerous attractions to be found in and around Virginia City. Here are a few that you don't want to miss. Please follow the links provided to an expanded list of attractions, museums, tours and special events.

  • TNT Stagelines - You'll get a chance to ride full speed and experience the bumpy travel conditions of the wild west. The tour guide/stage coach driver provides a bit of history before the ride and fair warning about the speed and less than smooth riding conditions. The TNT Stagelines is located on F Street, right next to the Comstock Gold Mill. I loved the experience!
  • Comstock Gold Mill - One of the most interesting tours in Virginia City where you will get the opportunity to learn how rock containing gold and silver ore was crushed and processed. The old steams engine, pulleys and line shafts and pound stamps are rusted and worn, but fascinating. The tour guide has a wealth of information. It's a great history lesson you don't want to miss. The Comstock Gold Mill is right next to the TNT Stagelines on F Street near the railroad tracks.
  • Piper's Opera House - It's haunted! Piper's Opera House was built in the 1880's and was host to many famous people of the past, notable Mark Twain, Lilly Langtry, Al Jolson and Buffalo Bill to name a few. It's a good size theatre which has gone under recent renovations. Again, the history of this Virginia City landmark is fascinating and definitely a must see. The Piper Opera House is located on B and Union Street. I took lots of pictures hoping to capture a ethereal image within my lens, but no ghostly images were apparent. Maybe, next time ...
  • Virginia City Cemeteries - The Silver Terrace Cemetery and the Gold Hill Cemetery are just off C Street as you leave Virginia City going toward SR 341. Strolling through the cemeteries is not only interesting, but humbling as well. Within each resting place lie many adventurous souls, most who died very young by today's standard. They were brave men and women who helped concur the untamed west.

Best Places to Eat in Virginia City

Prepare yourself for some hearty meals and tasty treats!!!

  • Cider Factory - American
  • Cafe del Rio - Mexican
  • Red Dog Saloon - Pizza
  • The Roasting House - Coffee, Breakfast
  • Palace Saloon and Restaurant - American
  • Virginia City Baked Goods - Bakery

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Hippies in Virginia City!?

Which 1960's psychedelic band's career did the Red Dog Saloon help get started?

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Travel Tips for Virginia City

Clothes
Expenses
Extras
casual wear and comfortable walking shoes
Average Cost Lite Lunch for two: $15
Sunscreen
Spring/Summer Day: shorts, t-shirts
Average Cost Dinner for two: $20 to $25
Camera
Sring/Summer Evening: light coat or sweater or sweatshirt
Attractions: Anywhere from $5 to $15 per person depending on attraction. Children discounted or free if under a specific age.
Sunglasses and Hat
To best experience all that Virginia City has to offer give yourself at least 3 days. However, if your are just passing through, be sure to stop and enjoy your afternoon. Bet you dollars to donuts you'll want to return!!
Bucket of Blood Saloon established in 1876.  Really cool and affordable t-shirt sold inside.
Bucket of Blood Saloon established in 1876. Really cool and affordable t-shirt sold inside. | Source
Silver Queen - Her dress is made from 3,261 "Morgan" silver dollars minted in Carson City.
Silver Queen - Her dress is made from 3,261 "Morgan" silver dollars minted in Carson City. | Source

Famous and/or Infamous VC Saloons

There are lots of saloons along C Street in Virginia City, each unique and each peppered with their own tall tales and legends.

  • The Red Dog Saloon - has quite a "musical" history
  • Bucket of Blood Saloon
  • Delta Saloon - famous for the suicide table
  • Mark Twain Saloon
  • Bonanza Saloon and Casino
  • Ponderosa Saloon
  • Washoe Club - the oldest saloon in Virginia City
  • The Silver Queen - portrait of the Silver Queen whose dress is made of over 3,000 silver dollars

Inside the Comstock Gold Mill
Inside the Comstock Gold Mill | Source

Virgina City Historical Facts

  • located in Storey County at the base of the Sierra Nevada Mountains
  • largest federally designated Historical District in America
  • late 1850's gold discovered in the Six-Mile Canyon by miners Pat McLaughlin and Peter O'Reilly
  • 1859 gold and silver ore discovered in Gold Canyon by James "Old Virginny" Finney and Henry Comstock
  • the town named after James Finney
  • discovery of gold and silver ore became know as The Comstock Lode
  • during the "bonanza" years between 1870-1880 30,000 people lived in the Virgina City and surrounding area
  • deepest mine in Virginia City was 3,862 feet below ground
  • Nevada became a territory in 1861 and a state in 1864
  • once the most important settlement between San Francisco and Denver


Mark Twain
Mark Twain

Mark Twain and the Territorial Enterprise

Did you know that Samuel Clemens, under the pen name of Mark Twain, began his writing career in Virginia City? In 1861 Orion Clemens was appointed secretary to the Nevada territory. His brother, Samuel, joined his brother on his journey to the west and prospected for gold for a year. In need of money, Samuel Clemens took a job with the newspaper Territorial Enterprise as a reporter in 1862. He began writing under the name Mark Twain and within a years time his stories and articles were quite popular.

"To find a petrified man, or break a stranger's leg, or cave an imaginary mine, or discover some dead Indians in a Gold Hill tunnel, or massacre a family at Dutch Nick's, were feats and calamities that we never hesitated about devising when the public needed matters of thrilling interest for breakfast. The seemingly tranquil ENTERPRISE office was a ghastly factory of slaughter, mutilation and general destruction in those days."
- Mark Twain's Letters from Washington, Number IX, Territorial Enterprise, March 7, 1868

Wonderful views from C Street
Wonderful views from C Street | Source
Virginia City Cemetery
Virginia City Cemetery | Source

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Virginia City, Nevada

Lets go shopping on C Street!

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Shopping in Virginia City ... something for everyone.

Shopping in Virginia City, along C Street, one is sure to be greeted with warm and helpful smiles by proprietors and sales clerks.

One spot you will not want to miss is the Virginia City Antique Mall. The antique shops making up this unique mall are filled with quality antiques of all sorts and eras. If you are interested in antiques as a hobby or just as a browsing curiosity then the Antique Mall is the place to go. There are several antique shops outside the mall too, all are worth a stop.

Be sure to stop by the Virginia City Hatmaker. You can even watch a master hat maker at work.

All in all, there is an abundance of novelty gift shops, many specializing in western arts, crafts and jewelry. There are several apparel and custom t-shirts shops with good quality merchandise. Candy, baked goods and ice cream shops can be found easily while you stroll along C Street.

Merchants are friendly, helpful and it's always a pleasure to chat with them. Again, as you shop you will find that the hospitality is outstanding in Virginia City.


Virginia City Honors our Troops and Veterans

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Parade of Heroes

American patriotism abounds in Virginia City, as does the city's support for military men and women, past and present. U.S. Flags ... Red, White and Blue banners ... and myriad displays of U.S. patriotic enthusiasm is everywhere in Virginia City. Perhaps one of the most touching displays of patriotism and military support has been in recent years with the Celebration of Heroes Banner.


The Celebration of Heroes Banner was started in memory and in honor of Army SSG. Bryan E. Bolander who gave his life in active duty in 2008. The Celebration of Heroes Banners which adorn C Street Memorial Day through Labor Day, was started by Bryan Bolander's mother and family.

When Bolander wanted to honor her fallen son with a flag, she went to a group in a nearby town only to be told they could not help since her son was no longer in active status. Bolander decided she wanted to do something anyway, so she created the triangle shaped flags so any hero could be honored – fallen, active, or veteran.

The flags are displayed from Memorial Day through Labor Day (winters can be harsh in Virginia City), when they are taken down the buyer has the option to keep the flag or donate it to the town for display the following year. Bolander, along with her husband, Greg, put the flags up each year and store any donated flags.

Flags can be ordered directly from the Bolanders at bgbolander@yahoo.com or by going to Grandma’s Fudge Factory on C Street. The cost is $55.00; donations are accepted for those who have an American hero in their life but cannot afford to purchase a flag.


Read more at http://guardianlv.com/2013/05/memorial-day-patriotism-in-historic-virginia-city/#83e3ISdKEKvTs2Cg.99


Driving down C Street lined with with banners of Fallen Heroes, Active Duty and Veterans past and present, is both an emotional and humbling experience.

Here's a wonderful video about Virginia City and its residents!

Cities close to Virginia City, Nevada

  • Reno, NV - 26 miles, 40 minutes driving time
  • Carson City, NV - 15 miles, 28 minutes driving time
  • South Lake Tahoe, CA - 44 miles, 1 hour 9 minutes driving time
  • Sun Valley, NV - 28 miles, 43 minutes driving time
  • Las Vegas, NV - 428 miles, 7 hours 30 minutes driving time

Did you know Virginia City, Nevada is one of the most haunted cities in the world!

Virginia City, Nevada - Stepping Out with History and into an "All-fired" Vacation!

© Jeanne Rene (ForEverProud)

© 2014 Jeanne Rene

Comments are always welcome!

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    • ForEverProud profile imageAUTHOR

      Jeanne Rene 

      4 years ago from Northern California

      Thanks for reading SheGetsCreative. The history of Virginia City is really important to its residents and they do a great job preserving and sharing it with visitors. :)

    • SheGetsCreative profile image

      Angela F 

      4 years ago from Seattle, WA

      I visited Virginia City years ago while staying with friends in Reno. Good to know it's still alive and kickin' .

    • ForEverProud profile imageAUTHOR

      Jeanne Rene 

      4 years ago from Northern California

      Thank you for reading and for your kind comment. Virginia City NV is a great getaway. I hope you'll be able to visit someday.

    • profile image

      Howard Schneider 

      4 years ago from Parsippany, New Jersey

      Very interesting history of this famous western town, ForEverProud. It is good to hear that they are still thriving. Great Hub.

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