"All good things are wild and free." --Henry David Thoreau

Saturday, July 16, 2011

Special Summer Travel: Virginia City, Nevada

Writing about places to take a baby outside of the San Francisco Bay Area exceeds the focus of this blog, but there ya go. The place in question is Virginia City, Nevada, a location I'd not heard about, but now think is perhaps the loveliest place in the whole hot, dry state. Temporary home of Mark Twain, built on the riches of gold and silver veins discovered in the 1800s, once a boom town of thirty thousand, Virginny City isn't just a throw back to another era with its preserved buildings, but a physically stunning location in the mountains of the high desert, fragrant with sage.

And for babies and kids? Where else can you ride a steam train and a stagecoach pulled by galloping Quarter horses, stumble down a wooden sidewalk, feed carrots to a donkey named Independence that's owned by a man named Stinky, and explore an old mine shaft? Then come evening you can eat at the inexpensive and delicious barbeque joint, or perhaps delight in the one Chinese restaurant in town, where you can sit on the back porch with its 100-mile view, eating Asian food so good it rivals San Franciscan cuisine. (Then for a dollar, go into the downstairs which has an old-time smut museum---no problem for the littlest ones; a boobie is just a boobie, after all. Speaking of museums, there are quite a few in town.)

For all those parents who like to sip a beer while bouncing their baby, the townfolk don't seem to mind kids in the bars. (Fun fact: In 1966, the house band of the Red Dog Saloon was Big Brother and the Holding Company, and at that saloon, a young woman named Janis Joplin came walking in one evening...)

We stayed at the Sugarloaf Mountain Motel, originally built in the 1800s (but alas, the room we stayed in was prefab). I must say the proprietors were some of the kindest, most generous people we met; they were very baby friendly, offering fruit and swift, sweet pinches to the baby's cheeks.

View Larger Map