MONTANA'S - Leisure Group Travel
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MONTANA'S - Leisure Group Travel

on location: west ❖Donnie SextonHelena, the capital of Montana, abounds with historical attractions andhas a lively arts scene. The Last Chance Tour Train hits the highlights.Nevada City, a genuine ghost town, hashas been used in Hollywood movies.features Old West period melodramasnightly in the summer.Located a mile and a half from VirginiaCity is the small ghost town ofNevada City. Restored between 1945and 1978, it is now an open-air museumwith 100 original wooden buildings and40 living history interpreters. Because ofits authentic buildings and setting, thetown has been a prime spot for Westernmovies such as Return to the LonesomeDove and Missouri Breaks. The AlderGulch Short Line train connects NevadaCity to Virginia City.As Virginia City replaced Bannackas the capital, Helena became the capitalafter Virginia City’s decline. Locatedin the foothills of the MontanaRockies, Helena was a prosperous miningtown in 1865; only Manhattanboasted more millionaires. The goldwas found in Last Chance Gulch, sonamed by the four miners who discoveredit since it was their “last chance” toprosper in the Gold Rush.Today, Helena remains Montana’scapital and is a bustling center for thearts and outdoor activities. Architecturallysignificant buildings are scatteredthroughout the city. The PioneerCabin, Helena’s oldest surviving home,dates from 1864 and houses a museumof the Gold Rush. Reeder’s Alley inDonnie SextonOld Helena highlights minerhouses and shops built in the1870s.Other sites include Helena’sState Capitol Buildingin the Greek Renaissancestyle. Topped by a Montanacopper dome, it contains thelargest painting of Lewis andClark by Charlie Russell. The Cathedralof St. Helena, finished in 1924, featurestwin 230-foot spires and Bavarianstained-glass windows. Between 1913and 1959, Montana’s governors lived inthe Victorian-style Governor’s Mansion,which is available for tours. Agreat way to see these sites is throughLast Chance Tours Train, a train engineon wheels that winds through Helena.Montana’s Gold West Region enjoyedprosperity and decline duringthe Gold Rush. For today’s visitors,Bannack, Virginia City, Nevada Cityand Helena provide a glimpse intoAmerica’s mining history and westwardexpansion. LGTObtain Montanavisitor guidesand itineraries –and contact groupfriendlysuppliersdirectly – EXCLUSIVEFor more information on touringMontana’s capital city, see the Helenaarticle at June 2011

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