Virginia City, Nevada
It was close to Halloween when Don and I stayed at his fine hotel a couple years ago.
We really didn't need all the fake cobwebs and plastic skulls that decorated the town. The hotel was creepy enough on its own!
I would love to know more about the hotel when it was called Molinelli's.
I'm guessing that was around 1870, when Virgina City wasn't filled with tourists and costumed ghost tours guides. There were 25,000 living in the booming mining town then.
There are less than 900 residents now and tourism is what keeps the town alive. But most travelers just come for the day, to go on ghost tours or drink in the saloons. Some come for the shopping, which seems mostly to involve teeshirts and fudge.
But Don and I came for the whole experience. Which meant staying a night in a hotel that focused more on the saloon than the guest rooms, two flights above.
Check In, at the Saloon
I'm not sure if the cobwebs were just for Halloween or if that's a year round thing. We walked underneath them to check in with the bartender, who went by the name of Mississippi.
She wore a cowboy hat with horns and black sweatshirt with a giant shimmering, silver skeleton. Her denim painter's pants were covered with flower designs.
The Door... The Stairs
We had to step back outside onto the wooden sidewalk to find the entrance to the actual hotel.
We opened the tall blue door and headed up a steep staircase, covered in worn, flowered carpet.
And Up Some More Stairs
After we climbed 29 steps, we reached a narrow atrium, lit by a skylight on the third floor.
Then we headed up the last set of stairs.
You have to love the zany design of this old building. The hole in the floor, cleverly allowed light to shine from the skylight to the floor below. But it looked funny.
The shape of the carpeted floor, pointed like an arrow to our room #18. We could have literally bumped into our neighbors, coming and going. But, I don't think anyone else was staying in the entire hotel.
75 Dollar Room
Our tiny room looked as though it had been furnished with thrift shop decor. The limp blue pillow shams, stylish headboard and framed deer, just made us chuckle.
$75. might seem a little high for a place that required such a hike and showed no signs of updating. But we were pretty glad to be 2 levels above the saloon, which got pretty lively as the night progressed.Sugar Loaf
Plus look at our view, through the lace curtains!
And there were at least 5 mountain ranges beyond!
And we could keep an eye out on the boardwalk below. The couple strolling by the Bonanza Saloon looked like they were enjoying themselves in their western attire!
Don, on the right, was obviously wearing the wrong hat and jacket when we sat down for a drink and a little conversation with Mississippi.
The beautiful back bar was hard to see through the webs and decorative clutter. A rotating hotdog heater and a nacho cheese crock kept us reminded of the times.
Catfish Carl provided some music with his guitar and keyboard.
He also kept me entertained with some stories about the giant "Silver Lady" and the wedding chapel.
It was pretty fun stepping into this brick and stone walled chapel and picturing Captain and Tenille getting married here in 1975. I don't remember all their lyrics to "Love will keep us together..." but maybe the word humor was in there somewhere. At least I'm hoping they married here, with a good sense of humor.
I knew the chapel was still getting business because Mississippi answered a call at the bar just moments earlier. She said the man on the phone wanted to get married here. He also wanted Mississippi to have his proposal written on a chalk board when he arrived at the bar with his fiance-to-be.
The Silver Lady
And this is what I will remember most from the Silver Queen Hotel. This fine piece of art stood 15 feet high and 8 feet wide. 3,261 silver dollars went into this creation!
The pretty lady's belt was made of 20 gold pieces and her choker was made up of delicate dimes! The inside info that I learned from Catfish, was about the woman featured in the portrait. The man who had this portrait created, did so to honor his lovely wife. However, the "Silver Lady" found out her husband was cheating and killed herself. I didn't know that sad bit of news when I did my own sassy pose.
Early Morning Departure
Don and I crept down the stairs very early the next morning and left before dawn.
It wasn't fear of ghosts, although there are many stories. And it wasn't the lumpy bed. We were just eager to get on our way.
I don't imagine Don and I will ever choose to stay again. It's not a place that we would recommend. But I'm sure glad we got to experience this one. We left feeling satisfied and amused. It took a bit a nerve to bite the bullet and stay the night, but we did it!
My New Year's Resolution for 2014 was to start documenting some of the memorable overnights I've had in some very odd and curious motels and hotels. Like the adventures in my Dining Blog, I have learned to enjoy the surprises that happen when you step out of the comfort zone, far away from the well-known chains.
I began with a few entries recalling my very first home away from home memories from my youth. Then, I started sharing about some of the quirky and unforgettable motels, hotels and inns that my husband and I have discovered in recent years.
The best part about this challenge was making some lists with Don and getting on the road in search of new overnight adventures. I gave myself a 2-year goal to write up 90 stories and the goal was met. Now we just keep on adding!