Hello everyone, we want to introduce a new and important aspect of Michel’s life, travel and adventure. Over the four years that we have been together, we have dedicated a lot of time to travelling and exploring both our local areas and the world. Though this does not pertain specifically to ADHD, there are certainly fun stories influenced by it. So this new section of the blog is going to focus on sharing with you travels we have had, recommendations, and planning/trip resources. 

You may have guessed from the above paragraph that Michel is not the author of this post, I am Raquel, Michel’s wife. To provide a short introduction, Michel and I have been together for four years and married for (coming up on) two. I work as a nurse and have spent the majority of the past year caring for COVID-19 patients. When not working or planning our next trip you can find me taking photos, scrapbooking our memories, or curled up with a good book. 

Now that we’ve got introductions done and over with, back to my favorite topic, traveling! I think an excellent way to start off this section of the blog is with our adventure we took today. As we prepare to move across the country (yikes) we created a list of all the amazing things to do in the area we will soon be leaving and have been slowly but surely crossing them off. Today we spontaneously decided to take a break from apartment hunting and packing up our copious amounts of books to go check out Virginia City. 

Virginia City is a small town of 830 people in Nevada about half an hour outside of Reno. In all of the years I’ve lived here I’d never been, but I certainly wish I had. Though small, this town has lots to explore and learn. It is an old mining town that in its heyday had 25,000 people living there, which was bigger than L.A. with only 8,000 residents! It is described as the richest place in the world as well as one of the most haunted. The mines in this area produced more than $50 billion in profits, and only 20% of the minerals found here have been mined, the other 80% are still in the ground. The city boasted the Millionaires Club who’s membership dues cost the equivalent of $3,500 per month today, and had many notable members including Ulysses Grant, Mark Twain, and General Sherman. Nevada got the title the Silver State from these mines, but funnily enough when first starting, everyone was looking for the gold and didn’t recognize the abundant silver. The miners thought it was a bunch of muck and made mountains of “trash” out of it, they even paved their roads with it! Until one day someone came along who recognized the mineral as silver and the miners were able to get over 7 million tons of silver out of the mines, considerably more than the gold that was mined. Included in this thriving city was Piper’s Opera House, which in its time had the best theatre and entertainment west of Chicago. Crazy to think that a small ghost town in the Nevada desert used to be such a bustling city. 

But with all of the wealth and excitement that came with the mines, there was also a fair share of tragedy. Mining is dangerous work and countless people died from it. The legend has it that since the miner’s often died far underground in the mines but all of their possessions were above ground in their homes and boarding houses, many spirits stayed behind. A hot spot for hauntings in Virginia City is the Washoe Club, a building from the 1860’s that used to be the home of the Millionaire’s Club as well as a saloon and boarding house. This building is said to house upwards of 6 ghosts who can be heard walking the halls, laughing, seen as shadows crossing your path, or showing up in mirrors. If you’re a fan of the show Ghost Adventures you likely know this saloon from the shows beginnings where they caught a full bodied apparition walk across the ballroom floor.  

Of course on our trip we had to stop by the Saint Mary of the Mountains church. Not only is it a beautiful historic building, but is the starting place of the hospital I have been working at. 

Whether you like the gold rush, history, ghost hunting, or just getting out for a fun day, Virginia City is a great place to go. It is truly like walking back in time, many of the buildings are from the 1860’s and the entire town retains the Old West mining vibe. Even driving up the curvy mountain roads to get there feels like you’re going back to the time it was thriving. 

Must Do Activities in Virginia City

Walk the Main Street shops – Part of the charm of this town is walking on the wooden sidewalks exploring the many old-time shops. You can go in a candy shop and search through barrels of salt water taffy, find gems in mining store, and much much more. 

Chollar Mine – You can take a 50 minute tour where you learn some of the rich mining history of the area and actually go into an old mine! A very cool experience to see what the actual mines looked like. It is important to remember that abandoned mines are very dangerous and are abundant in the northern Nevada area. Don’t ever enter a mine without an official guide, old mines are at high risk of cave ins, may have extreme temperatures (hello 160 degrees), often have a severe (and deadly) lack of oxygen, and may have sudden several hundred foot drops that end in steel or water. Not to mention the wood will absorb your cries for help. Play it safe, don’t risk your life.

Entrance to the Chollar Mine

Fourth Ward School House- A four story, wooden, Victorian era school house that is quite literally the last of its kind. A beautiful work of architecture with many fun exhibits inside going over life in the school, mining, Mark Twain, and the women of the era. This school house is the last of its kind, the others either got destroyed or significantly changed as times progressed and fire codes changed. 

Washoe Club- Another great place to learn about the history of the city and the top place for hauntings in the area. For those who are really brave, you can stay the night in this establishment with free reign of the three story building. Who knows, maybe you’ll see one of their famous ghosts. You may even find an eerie dance partner in the ballroom.

Along the upper edge of a wall in the Washoe Club you can see original wallpaper from when the building was built in 1870 shortly after the end of the Civil War

See the Suicide Table – If you walk in the doors of the Bonanza Saloon you’ll quickly find your way to one of the most famous objects in the city, the Suicide Table. This is a poker table that has had three of its owners commit suicide after purchasing it. Now used only as an exhibit with a dark yet fascinating history, no more deaths related to the table have been recorded. 

Take an Old-Time Photo- Tucked away among the shops you’ll find several places to get an old-time photo taken. You can dress up as a show girl, in a fancy Victorian Era dress, an old west suit, or cowboy outfit. You then get to choose from a variety of settings such as a saloon or if you’re feeling particularly rambunctious a bathtub… Strike a pose with props of your choosing be it a gun, a pint, or money from the mines (and gambling). What a great way to memorialize your journey into the thriving mining city of the 1860’s.

Be careful who you cross in Virginia City…

I hope you’ve enjoyed learning a bit about this small piece of Nevada, and maybe are inspired to add it to your bucket list. If in the Reno area it is certainly worth the short drive to visit and easy to fit into any itinerary for the Biggest Little City. 

Until our next adventure…

One thought on “Step Back Into Virginia City

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