A little to the south of Reno, Virginia City figures large in the history of this region. The mining boom of the 19th century made this the most important settlement between Denver and San Francisco; and lucky prospectors could become instant millionaires. Mansions were built and filled with the finest imported furniture; it's people were clothed in fashions from Europe and the Far East; and much of the money made here went into making San Francisco a much finer city.
This boisterous town, center to a region with gold in every hill, drew men from everywhere and their legacies still abide in the shadow of Sun Mountain. Mark Twain spent time here as a reporter for the Territorial Enterprise, learning much about people and his trade that would carry him through a long writing career.
Modern vistitors stroll board sidewalks, and visit the period churches, homes, public buildings, saloons and cemeteries. There are also shops, museums and restaurants; rides on a stagecoach, horse-drawn carriages, the trolley, or the Virginia and Truckee Railroad steam-engine; and the scenic high desert landscape, with it's now mostly abandoned old mines, to enjoy.
For a place to stay, the Cobb Mansion B&B (877-847-9006) is an elegantly restored 1876 Victorian Mansion with period furnishings, built by the owner of a cigar shop, just after the Great Fire of 1875 burned down most of the city. Located a half block from Piper's Opera House, near the center, for $99 to $199 per night.