Virginia City and Carson City, Nevada, Your Holiday Train Adventure

Wild West towns of Nevada have always intrigued visitors and two of the most exciting, have paired to bring road tripping couples a  historical and adventurous excursion aboard the Virginia & Truckee Railroad.

We stayed in Carson City, right in the heart of town at the Best Western Carson City. The staff were exceptionally friendly and helpful, the room was immaculate and great dinner and drink specials kept both our tummy’s happy. Right in the heart of downtown, within blocks of eateries, museums and malls, this was the perfect hub for our weekend stay.

In the late morning we boarded the Virginia Truckee Railroad just outside of town. Our 28 mile round trip jaunt aboard the train was fun, informative and exciting. We had barely left Carson City when everyone on board was thrilled to spy a herd of wild mustangs. As the steam locomotive climbed through tunnels and wound its way past mining history, our animated crew narrated and imparted tidbits of trivia and lore that kept us enchanted. Unlike some train excursions, there was never a dull moment.

Once in Virginia City, the real Wild West greeted us as we disembarked for another kind of adventure. We chose to take the narrated Virginia City Trolley Tour of town which was a great choice and allowed us a chance to decide what we wanted to experience during our three and a half hour visit to follow.

We opted to tour the Mackay Mansion which was fascinating. Our guide was excellent and it even afforded us a great view into the canyon for the afternoon cannon presentation below.

Fortunately we’ve been to Virginia City before and knew to allow some time to browse the wooden side walked town with its shops, saloons and museums.

The pinnacle of this visit was a Wild West Thrill Ride with TNT Stagelines. This is a must do for anyone who wants to feel the wind in their hair and dust on their hands as they experience an authentic stage coach ride pulled by four beautiful horses who culminate the adventure at a full clip of 24 miles per hour.

Riding shotgun with the driver is another option for adrenaline junkies. Hold your hat, hunker down, and pull your bandana up over your face for a wild ride. Many visitors compare this to a roller coaster ride but much more fun.

Expect to get dusty and bounced around but that’s half the thrill. You will have a new appreciation for the Wild West days and this spectacular piece of history.

After our exhilarating afternoon visit to Virginia City that was over in an, oh-so-short flash of fun, we boarded the V &T for our train ride back to Carson City.

Our afternoon adventures somehow worked up quite an appetite and when we got back to Carson City we elected to try out an eclectic local eatery, called Sassafras.

Sassafras has garnered a following as a “Chalkboard Restaurant.” Ever-changing menus incorporate the influences of a varied style of cuisine. This restaurant in the heart of downtown, is whole heartedly committed to working with local vendors, whole foods, farms, breweries, wineries, bakeries, coffee roasters and organic products. Everything is refreshingly natural and flavors pop with freshness.

Sassafras’ Owner Scott Doerr serves up delicious salads, homemade pizzas and an ever changing menu of staple entrees like steak, seafood and pasta. We loved the homemade pizza and the salads.

Next door, Scott also offers, Plan:b a Micro-Lounge that has quickly become a “musician’s” venue, where many local and not so local big name and small name, unique and original performances are discovered. Plan:b is a comfortable and acoustically sound venue, that hosts live performance art nearly every night of the week. From World Class Jazz, to Independent movie night, to the locals favorite Open Mic Night, there is always something going on at Plan:b.

Our little weekend getaway to Carson City and Virginia City was over far to quickly but we packed a lot in, in just two days and we know we will be back. Even better we learned some valuable history and got immersed in the culture of yesteryear without even realizing it. Great fun, great learning, and fabulous memories. What a terrific combination!

The Virginia City &Truckee Railroad has numerous holiday inspired themed trains in November and December. Be sure to check out their website for all these fun offerings.