Gold Rush Country extensive guide to Berkeley and San Francisco area, plus inspiring articles about trips around the world

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GOLD RUSH COUNTRY/HIGHWAY 49

a-header-b+w-miners-c Calif. State Dept. of Parks and Rec-400pix
image courtesy of California State Department of Parks and Recreation

          The Mother Lode, as this area is sometimes referred to (a term that is derived from a Spanish word for “riches”), stretches along the entire route of Highway 49, south from Mariposa and north through Nevada City, ending in Downieville.  (On the other hand the Mother Lode veins, which run from Northern California to South America, surface in the area between Jamestown and Auburn and again in Nevada City.)
          All the main Gold Rush towns can be visited by driving along Highway 49.  But many scenic side roads lead to tiny hamlets with intriguing names such as Fiddletown and Rescue, inviting exploration. 
          This area provides history, adventure, and scenic beauty.  Not yet heavily promoted and packaged, it also provides many low-key and inexpensive vacation joys for the hype-weary traveler.  A thorough visit could take weeks, but a satisfying one takes only a few days.  For a weekend visit, don't attempt to drive the entire route.  Visit one portion and then go back another time to see more. 
          Because the area is steeped in history, consider reading for more background information.  Two classic books about the area that are also good for reading aloud are The Celebrated Jumping Frog of Calaveras County, by Samuel L. Clemens (Mark Twain), and The Luck of Roaring Camp, by Bret Harte. 
          Currently there is said to be another gold rush on.  Many nervous people are staking claims, so caution is advised when doing any unguided panning or prospecting. 
          During the Gold Rush this area was filled with wineries.  Its rich soil and high elevations produce excellent grapes and bold, deeply flavored wines.  So be on the lookout for the nearly 100 wineries that have popped up here. 


These towns are arranged geographically/mapwise, with north at the top and south at the bottom.

NORTH END

GRAEAGLE
     shops
     Graeagle Restaurant

SIERRA CITY
   Attractions
     Oktoberfest Festival
     The Gallery in Sierra City
     Sierra County Historical Park

          Kentucky Mine--how a Pelton water wheel works--VIDEO
   Restaurants
     Sierra Country Store & Deli
   Hotels
     The Buttes Resort
     Sardine Lake Resort
NEVADA CITY
   Attractions
     fall colors
     Victorian Christmas
     Asylum Down
     Miners Foundry Cultural Center
     My Favorite Things
     Nevada Theatre
     Spirithouse Import Gallery
   Restaurants
     Broad Street Bistro & Gallery
     Sopa Thai Cuisine
     Three Forks Bakery and Brewing Co.
   Hotels
     The Art Cottage & Art Studio
     National Hotel
     Two Room Inn

ROUGH AND READY
PENN VALLEY
     Pilot Peak Vineyard & Winery
     Blue Cow Deli
GRASS VALLEY

     Cornish Christmas
   Attractions
     antiques shops
     The Center for the Arts
     Empire Mine State Historic Park
     North Star Mining Museum
     Tess’ Kitchen
   Hotels
     Gold Miners Inn--A Holiday Inn Express Hotel and Suites
     Grass Valley Courtyard Suites
     The Holbrooke
AUBURN
   Attractions
     M and Company
     Placer County Courthouse Museum
     Machado Orchards
   Restaurants
     Awful Annie’s
     Ikedas
COLOMA
     Olde Coloma Theatre
        
Melodrama--Peas Pudding Hot--VIDEO
           Melodrama--Mary Had A Little Watch--VIDEO
           Melodrama--Mary Had A Little Lamb-VIDEO
           Melodrama--funny headlines--VIDEO
PLYMOUTH
   Article
     Zero in on Zin
   Attractions
     Amador Four Fires Festival
     Amador Flower Farm
     Amador 360 Wine & Visitor Center
     C.D. Di Arie Vineyard and Winery
     Cooper Vineyards
     Deaver Vineyards & Winery and Amador Harvest Inn
     Jeff Runquist Wines
     Shenandoah Vineyards
     Sobon Estate Winery & Vineyards
          old-time potato planters--VIDEO
   Restaurants
     Amador Vintage Market
     Taste
   Hotels
     Shenandoah Inn
AMADOR CITY
   Attractions
     Amador City Cemetery
     shops
   Restaurants
     Andrae’s Bakery
     Buffalo Chips Emporium
   Hotels
     Imperial Hotel & Restaurant
SUTTER CREEK
   Attractions
     AmadorArts Gallery
     Monteverde General Store Museum
     shops
   Restaurants
     Susan’s Place
   Hotels
     Hotel Sutter and restaurant
     Sutter Creek Inn
VOLCANO
     Black Chasm Cavern
     Volcano Union Pub & Inn
COLUMBIA STATE HISTORIC PARK
     Nelson’s Columbia Candy Kitchen
     Columbia House Restaurant
     Columbia Kate’s Teahouse, Bakery, and Boutique
     Columbia City Hotels + restaurants and theater
SONORA
     Indigeny Reserve
     The Lighthouse Deli
TUOLUMNE
     Black Oak Casino Resort
JAMESTOWN
   Attractions

     antiques shops
     Gold Prospecting Adventures
     Railtown 1897 State Historic Park
          Sierra No. 3 steam engine clangs and couples and spews plenty of steam--VIDEO
   Restaurants
     Here’s the Scoop
   Hotels
     Jamestown Hotel
     National Hotel
MIDPINES
     Yosemite Bug Rustic Mountain Resort
MARIPOSA
     Mariposa Museum and History Center
     drinking venues

SOUTH END

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