THE BLOG

Love Letters: Virginia City, Nevada

08/21/2013 07:34 am ET | Updated Oct 21, 2013

Sharron Land Gegenheimer traded a fast-paced career in international sales and marketing to manage the volunteer group called the Virginia City Living Legends, a group of history lovers who dress in period costume. After studying in Germany, she became fluent in the language and has represented Nevada Reno-Tahoe Territory and Virginia City in Europe on multiple occasions. Sharron currently lives in nearby Minden, Nevada with her husband and a cranky cockatiel.

Virginia City, you're a charming anachronism.

The queen of the Comstock lies nestled in the mountains of Northern Nevada at 6,200 feet. You look much like you did 150 years ago, and stepping back in time is a rare joy. Although the fierce Zephyr winds blow icy snow by winter alternating with Satan's breath by summer - you still my heart in every season. So different are your seasons that it seems the leaves change as I blink. So I come back, again and again.

There are few things finer than listening to The Comstock Cowboys play in the Bucket of Blood Saloon on lazy a Sunday afternoon or perhaps listening to an up-and-coming band grace the stage at the Red Dog Saloon where Janis Joplin once played. A block or two north a bar stool beckons at the Ponderosa Saloon for a chat with an old friend.

Your rough worn boardwalks speak of decades past, with their faded shamrocks reflecting the pride of generations long gone. You creak, groan and catch the heels of my boots as I saunter past tall narrow doorways. I can't help but think of all those who have stood in those doorways before me. Did they actively peddle their wares to those who passed by or did they simply allow items such as Tiffany silver to glint in the summer sun to draw in the customers? Did those customers ride the Virginia and Truckee railroad into town as they do today? Then, as well as today, your establishments offer refreshment and dining to all those walking past.

The naughty past of Storey County, of which you are the seat, is never far away. A few miles north or south lie the houses where gentlemen seek the caring arms of the working girls. Today, as for 150 years, nature takes its course. The lady of justice at the crown of your courthouse has never worn a blindfold, and never shall. Her sword, sharpened on just the one side, bespeaks her preference.

The 4th Ward School brought education and modernity into the lives of those who both needed and earned it. She stands tall and graceful, still delivering her message to the youth of today. Your population was diverse before it was fashionable.

Piper's Opera House brought you culture and the best and brightest graced the stage on B Street. Even today, wonderful musicians draw crowds from hundreds of miles away.

You straddle the centuries gracefully with one foot in the 19th and the other firmly planted in the 21st. As I write this missive, I yearn to be back in Virginia City. You have the key to my heart.