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March 17, 2004

Pot of Silver at the end of the rainbow

I wish I was in Virginia City, Nevada today.

A few years back, a bunch of friends and I were on our annual retreat to a condo at Lake Tahoe. As most of the gang went off skiing, I took off on my own for a random, roadtrip.

I ended up on the other side of the hill, over in the Carson City, Nevada area, exploring the valley. I saw signs for "Virginia City".

I always thought VC was a made-up place, for the TV show Bonanza. So I followed the signs.

After heading out into the desert for about a half hour, the signs directed me off US-50, and up a windy road into the craggy, red/brown mountains.

As I approached the little downtown of Virginia City, the look of the place, and the signage along the road, had created a picture for me of a restored, old wild-west tourist town. Saloons, wooden raised sidewalks, sasparilla.

At the edge of town the main street was blocked, and traffic was diverted onto a parallel street. I got glimpses of crowds along the main street, and I heard "gunshots". Some sort of "gunfight at the OK corral" tourist attraction, I thought.

I parked and walked down a side street to the center of town. As I walked down the street a metamorphosis happened. It was kinda like when Dorothy first opened the door of her house in Oz. The colors changed from reds and browns, to lots of green.

There were shamrocks in the store windows, and "erin go bragh" signs all over. It was St. Patricks' Day in the wild west.

Can you say "cognitive dissonance"?

It seems that Virginia City was founded way-back-when, by three Irish Guys who were looking to strike it rich in the silver mines. The town has always celebrated St. Paddy's Day with enthusiasm. According to one explanation, their festivities are the second longest running in the US. Right behind Boston's.

Anyway, I stumbled into this thing, and it was a fun way to spend the day. A weird mismatch of the OK corral and pot-of-gold wielding leprechauns. With some Mark Twain mixed in for flavor, but that's another story.

So next time you are in western Nevada in mid March, or any time for that matter, drive on out to Virgina City. The countryside is magnificant, the history is fascinating, and they have green beer.

Posted by jghiii at March 17, 2004 11:40 AM
Posted by: adamg on March 17, 2004 09:52 PM

Yeah, a most cool place - I like the way the whole thing is perched on the side of a mountain.

Posted by: Jo Ann on March 18, 2004 06:47 AM

Woo Hoo! I love Virginia City, too! It really is a town that time forgot. It's very authentic and feels very much like you're transported in time, or at least onto the set of a western movie. Yet, it is not too touristy and fake, but it is still a functioning real town! Like a living ghost town. Very, very cool!

Posted by: MGA on March 18, 2004 07:26 AM

Now here is a reason to be frustrated with being back east in the snow.

Sounds like a fun visit. You didn't take any pictures you could have posted?

Posted by: Jack Hodgson on March 18, 2004 07:53 AM

MGA, It was 5-6 years ago. Pre-digital-camera. I wish I did have pics.

Posted by: sherman on March 18, 2004 12:02 PM


Did someone say pot?

I've done acupulco gold but never silver.

Posted by: Sherman on March 18, 2004 03:14 PM

Good news for you New Englanders in today's Globe:

The snow flurries and squalls that continued to dot the region yesterday are not over.

Storm junkies can look forward to the next few days as forecasters watch a new system that could bring 5 more inches of snow. This, on top of the 11 inches dumped on portions of central New England and 8 inches at Logan Airport by yesterday afternoon.

Forecasters expect sporadic, light snow throughout the area today. Then, a new storm is expected to move in early tomorrow and continue into the day. Depending on its track, it could dust the area or add 4 to 5 inches to this week's total.

Snowfall in Boston, which does not include Melrose for you fools out there who think it does, will be about nine feet.

Snow will end this week, but expect freezing rain and tornados next week.

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