Last weekend we took a short drive up to Montana and visited the utterly charming, old west “living ghost town” Virginia City. It’s about an hour and a half north west of Yellowstone park and well worth the drive if you’re in the area.
The main reason we went is because it was their annual Irish Heritage days and, since both of us have a lot of proud Irish blood in us, we thought it would be fun to join in the festivities. Plus, neither of us had ever been to Virginia City, despite it being just a couple hours from home, so it was a chance to finally get to see what all the fuss was about!
We knew that it was the original state capital of Montana and that it is a well preserved living ghost town, but we had no idea just how well preserved it is until we began to walk the boardwalks and took it all in.
At every turn, the past came alive. From the clop-clop-clop of the horses feet as they gave stage coach rides…
…to the sound of the whistle coming from the train station. It’s the closest thing you can get to traveling in a time machine, really.
Founded by a group of prospectors in 1863, the history of Virginia City is quintessentially what you would expect it to be. Like most towns driven by mining for gold, it was eventually abandoned but not before there were a lot of myths and legends created and a few infamous hangings performed.
And a few ghosts left behind (of course!).
By the time Charles and Sue Bovey came along in the 1940’s there wasn’t much left but their efforts led it to being given National Historic Landmark status in 1962. Nearly every building in town has been lovingly restored and carefully preserved and while many of them are operating businesses (restaurants, saloons, gift shops, candy stores etc.) many others are set up exclusively to give us a glimpse back in time.
From a variety of dry goods stores and mercantiles…
…to everyday clothing stores, tailors and women’s fancy dress shops.
There is a toy store…
…and a couple of blacksmiths…
…and a watch maker…
…and a laboratory…
…and a fabulous hotel…
…and a resident kitty cat which may or may not have been a ghost but was adorable either way…
…and, well so much that I can’t fit it all into one post so I’ll just encourage you again to see it for yourself! They do ghost tours and host all sorts of fun activities throughout the season. It’s just one of those places you won’t soon forget.
Needless to say, we won’t forget it.
We’ll definitely be going back. In fact, we plan to make it an annual thing now that we know they celebrate our Irish heritage there each year at this time!
Oh, and the best part was, we also got to celebrate our shared German heritage at the same time.
8 thoughts on “What A Trip! Virginia City, MT”
That looks as if it was a wonderful experience. Too bad I live so far away, I’d love to see this.
It was such a nice surprise. I wasn’t expecting it to be so rich with history. I hope you can make it over some day. 🙂
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Me too, but boy howdy is my bucket list getting long 😉
Feels like being transported back in time – thanks for sharing!
You’re welcome! 🙂
That looks fabulous! What a great little time warp. I’m definitely putting this one on my bucket list.
I felt so at home and didn’t want to leave. We met a lady who lives there year round and she loves it (and lives in a purple house too!). I am so jealous lol.
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