In the eastern mountain range above Nevada lies a real, live Wild West town. Virginia City was made famous during the 1873 silver rush era when the Comstock mines were turning prospectors into millionaires. It was also inhabited by a few famous people including Mark Twain (who wrote for the Territorial Enterprise), engineer Adolph Sutro and madame Julia Bulette.
Virginia City is far from a ghost town though. It is still inhabited by locals who work, shop and go to school in the small town. However, if the kids are into ghosts and creepy things, take them to the Virginia City (Silver Terrace) Cemetery. This historic area sits on top of several hills on the north end of town and include graves from the mid-1800s up until the mid-20th Century. The cemetery offers regular tours and special events during the holidays. Several famous ghost hunters including the Travel Channel Ghost Adventures have captured strange phenomena at this cemetery.
Back in town, children will get a kick out of the various candy and fudge shops, the Wild West shows and the cowboys and saloon ladies who periodically walk the streets. For the ultimate trip, take the kids on the Virginia & Truckee Railroad. This authentic stream train takes passengers to and from Virginia City through Gold Hill and Silver City into Carson City. It runs from May to October and is a wonderful way to get a view of the surrounding hills, the old mines and get a history lesson at the same time.
V&T Railroad — Photo courtesy of V&T Railroad
When the kids have gotten their fill of candy and cowboys, parents might want to take a break at the Red Dog Saloon in Virginia City or the bar or restaurant at the Gold Hill Hotel. This hotel is the oldest working hotel in Nevada and is said to be haunted by several ghosts.