Join the Family at Sentivo Vineyards

If you want to be treated like family when you go wine tasting then Sentivo Vineyards is where you want to be. Beautiful location, great wine and food.

A while back, my wine tasting group, the Vineyard Vixens, went to visit a couple of wineries in Fairplay, CA, and to pick up some futures. We had a bit of an unpleasant experience when we went to pick up our futures. Several members of our group had been wine club members at that winery and we had always been treated well and had a good time. Suddenly, since no one was a member anymore, we were treated like persona non grata. We didn’t stay to taste and instead decided to visit Sentivo Vineyards which had been recommended by Mary at Gold Vine Grill where we had lunch. I am so glad we did! The staff at Sentivo Vineyards saved the day for us so that it ended very upbeat. Our First Visit to Sentivo Vineyards From the moment we arrived at Sentivo Vineyards we felt so welcome. Everyone was friendly and…

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Black Chasm Cavern: Amador County Hidden Gem

View a wide variety of formations at Black Chasm Cavern including stalactites, stalagmites, flowstone and the vast array of rare helictite crystals.

If you drive through Pine Grove on Highway 88/104 in Northern California, you will most likely notice the signs for Black Chasm Cavern at Pine Grove-Volcano Road. It’s hard to miss them. I have seen these signs hundreds of times and have been meaning to go to Black Chasm Cavern ever since I moved here. Last year, I talked about how I see fun things then forget about them. Well, I finally put this on my calendar and went! Arriving at Black Chasm Cavern The drive to the Cavern and visitor center is over a well-maintained gravel road off of Volcano-Pioneer Road. There are a couple of roads that turn off as you drive up — just follow the signs. Before you reach the center, there is a parking lot for RVs and buses. Automobile parking is farther up the road by the center. Outside the entrance to the visitor center and gift…

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Wildflowers to Snowshoeing in 30 Minutes or Less

I tried snowshoeing for the first time this week. I love that I can go from wildflowers to snowshoeing in 30 minutes or less in Gold Country. Check it out.

When I lived in Southern California, I lived near the beach and loved that I could be in the mountains within a couple of hours. Now, I live in the mountains of Northern California and the beach is only a little farther than a couple of hours away. I live at a great elevation where I get a little snow but not enough that I’ve ever had to dig out, at least not so far. I love that I can go from wildflowers to snowshoeing in 30 minutes or less. If I want to see a lot of snow, I just have to drive up the hill another 30-40 minutes and it’s a winter playground. That’s just what my hiking group did earlier this week. I went along and tried snowshoeing for the first time. Snowshoeing at Iron Mountain Sno-Park We went to Iron Mountain Sno-Park near Mormon-Emigrant Trail Road on…

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Wildflower Train: Railtown 1897 State Historic Park

You can ride the train at Railtown 1897 State Historic Park every weekend April through October. The Wildflower Train is a special event in April.

I have always been fascinated by rail travel and just love riding a train any chance I get. That hasn’t been nearly as often as I’d like, though. I’ve taken the train from Los Angeles to New Orleans and the Coast Starlight from San Jose to Seattle. Rail travel is always an adventure and these two trips were no exception. I’ve also done lots of short trips from Santa Ana to Carlsbad or San Diego. Does the train at Disneyland count? I think it does! There’s just something about it that gets my blood flowing. And the nostalgia of a historic steam engine is even more exciting. Last year, some friends went on a wildflower train ride and just raved about it. I tried to go last year but tickets sold out. The Wildflower Train only runs on two weekends in April, so when tickets went on sale this year, I jumped…

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Electra Road Wildflowers Take a Hike from Ordinary to Extraordinary

The Electra Road wildflowers are spectacular this time of year and offer an added bonus to any hike along the road and the Mokulemne River.

Hiking on Electra Road is not a very traditional hike or much of a challenge, but it is an excellent place to just get up and get outside. The day use area offers clean restrooms, picnic tables, barbecues and a beach for swimming. An added bonus this time of year is that the Electra Road wildflowers can be spectacular. Electra Road is just north of the bridge that crosses the Mokelumne River on Highway 49. Here, the river is nearly 100 feet wide and Electra Road provides easy access for white water boaters. The road is narrow, barely more than one lane, and in poor shape so be sure to drive slowly and share the road with the hikers. The road follows the river for over 3 miles before it ends at the power plant, which makes for an awesomely beautiful and tranquil hike. I have hiked Electra Road quite a few times…

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Health Benefits of Nuts and the Ultimate Grilled Cheese

I love adding nuts to pretty much everything, including my ultimate grilled cheese sandwich. Check out my secret for always have totally melted cheese.

I absolutely love nuts, all kinds of nuts, and I put them in pretty much everything. Nuts are a healthy addition to your diet (good thing for me) and add flavor and texture. Some tout them as a healthy snack but the problem with nuts is that they are high in calories. I find it hard to control portions when I’m snacking on them so I prefer to add them to my food. I put them in salads, stir fries, frittatas, pasta, and even my favorite grilled cheese sandwich, which I call the ultimate grilled cheese. Health Benefits of Nuts I think most people have heard that nuts are “heart healthy” but they also have other benefits. Research shows that people who eat nuts tend to be leaner and less prone to some diseases compared to people who don’t eat nuts. Nuts are packed with protein and most nuts contain at…

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Birth of a Blog — or Four: Finding My Blogging Passion

One year ago today I published my first post on Gold Country Cowgirl. I was not new to blogging. It just took a while to find my blogging passion.

One year ago today I published my first post on Gold Country Cowgirl. Although that was my first post on this blog, I was not new to blogging. It took me a while to find my blogging passion but I think I finally made it. One of my biggest passions is horses. I’ve owned horses for quite a few years and have done a lot of trail riding and camping. I decided I wanted to document and share these experiences so I launched my Horse Buzz A-Z website in August of 2012. Of all the blogs I’ve written for, I think I enjoyed writing these destination travel guide posts most and would still be writing them except that horseback riding is a lot different here than in Southern California. Trails are not highly publicized and there aren’t many horse campgrounds so I have not posted anything to this blog since I moved.…

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Wine Blending at Wine Tree Farm

The wine blending class at Wine Tree Farm is educational and thoroughly enjoyable. It was a blast and I highly recommend it.

I have done a lot of wine tasting in Gold Country over the past couple of years and the most enjoyable times have been when I learn something new about wine or winemaking. As I’ve mentioned, I’m no expert. I just enjoy wine and learning about it. On a recent visit to Wine Tree Farm with the Vineyard Vixens wine tasting group, I attended a wine blending class which was both educational and thoroughly enjoyable. The vineyard and winery are located on Highway 49 near the turnoff to Amador City. It can be easily missed but just look for the large sign up on the hill opposite the turnoff. Even though the grapevines are still dormant, we’ve had so much rain that the hills are an amazing green. Owner Corinne Moore and the wine dogs greeted us outside when we drove up. Kelly and I were a little early so I had time to…

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