I have to admit that I didn’t know much about western US history before embarking on this trip. We decided that we wanted to see more than just the National Parks. We wanted to get a flavor for the old west too.
My son, Ryan, loves to watch the Lone Ranger. I figured that much of the TV show was fictionalized. After all, how could it be THAT lawless?? We found a couple of ghost towns that looked interesting. Virginia City and Nevada City are located just 1.5 miles apart. Nevada City was abandoned after the gold rush. A businessman saw that the old buildings were being burned for firewood. He decided to step in and buy as much of the town as possible. In addition, he acquired other period buildings and moved them to Nevada City to create a town like would have been there. On weekends, there are living history demonstrations. We happened to be there on a Monday so the town was once again dead…except for one man who was moving out after the weekend. He graciously talked with us and showed us his cabin.
Virginia City is much livelier! Buildings are open for viewing and a good number of them are actual stores. Characters are everywhere!
In between the two was a place to pan for gold. Normally we wouldn’t have bothered but it was included in our family pass. So glad it was! The kids had a blast. We didn’t find any gold but we did get 3 small vials filled with garnets. We kind of lucked in to staying in the town of Ennis because of its location but we were absolutely thrilled with our choice. The Lure Me Inn was just what our family needed. A self-contained cottage with cooking facilities. I would highly recommend the Inn along with the town. Neat area of Montana!!!
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