Montana is a vast and varied state of mountains, canyons, river valleys, forests and caverns. It's the 4th largest state in the nation but with our popularion under 1 million, it's actually the sixth least-populated state. Ah... there is room to breathe and nowhere is the air fresher. Oh sure, there's history, good food, and a variety of places to stay, but the main attraction is the sheer beauty. It's a land where everything seems intensified, in super sharp focus, richer in color, more majestic, more peaceful, and somehow closer to the sky. One of the many reasons we located here
Happily for travelers who prefer to avoid crowds, there's plenty of elbow room. Montana may be the fourth largest state in area (145,550 square miles), but, at under a million people, it ranks 48th in population density.
We played hookey mid week since the past weekend was a house ful of guests to visit this much touted city n .Also, since the builder of the log home we call the Fish Creek House Bed and Breakfast, is based out of Virginia City, we decided to give this tour a go... especially so we could see it up close and in person . Great recommendation for guests
Virginia City was the birthplace of Montana and the cradle of much history for the state. Though it may be best known as the rough-and-ready mining camp where vigilantes organized to rid the country of road agents and murderers, it is important to our history for many other reasons as well.
Gold is the force which created Virginia City, Montana and which controlled its history and made it strategic during the Civil War. Virginia City was producing enough gold to win the Civil War for whoever could capture it.
We noticed on our map that the Continental Divide runs pretty well north and south between Helena and Butte. The Continental Divide is like the ridge on your roof, where the water flows down and away from the ridge to the two sides of your house. The Continental Divide separates the water shed of the east from the west so that if you pour a glass of water on the east side it runs into the Atlantic Ocean and if you pour the water on the west side it runs to the Pacific Ocean. The Continental Divide is west of Helena and goes south to east of Butte, but at Butte it does a west and then north hook, then over to Anaconda, then south like a well behaved Continental Divide should until it becomes the Idaho - Montana border. Then it stays on the border and goes northeast, then across the lower end of Yellowstone National Park. When Idaho and Montana became separate territories the dividing line (the present state border) was believed to be the Continental Divide. Your map will show you where the crazy Continental Divide really runs. North of Virginia City the Continental Divide runs east and west, then circles around and finally, south of Virginia City, it runs east and west again. Then you will go over the top and down into Virginia City, Montana, and are you in for a treat!
The very much alive ghost town, Virginia City, Montana, is frozen in time. It is a remarkably well preserved old west Victorian gold mining town just 20 miles west of Yellowstone National Park (90 miles by road). When the gold ran out, there was still enough left so that homes and businesses were occupied, but there was not enough wealth to remodel the buildings. So it froze, and now represents the whole Victorian era. It is a true and original Old West. It is a gem, held within an incredibly rich area of natural beauty, recreation and history. Adjacent to Virginia City is Nevada City, filled with buildings and artifacts that will impress you. For many years Virginia City, Montana was a Rebel town in Union territory.
Back in 1865, merchants established the first businesses in Virginia City in wagons, tents, and wickiups (brush shacks) during the summer of 1863. Gold dust was the preferred medium of exchange, which was valued at $16 - $18/ounce.
Of course what would a stop in Virginia City be without a stop at the brewery? And yes right next door is the opera house!!
In Old Town, we stopped off at Cousins Candy Shop The Virginia City shop has the original oak shelving and tin ceiling. Jars of the freshest candy are located in an old, covered chuck wagon pictured above. When we opened our shop in Old Town, we replicated the shelving and covered wagon exactly. Not only do we have great candy and a wonderful selection, Cousin's is just a fun place to visit with the entire family Of course the day wouldnt be complete without a stop at the Bale of Hay Saloon , an authentic wild west Saloon complete w/ Montana's best microbrews. Live music to to top off a great day