Roaring Camp Saturday Night Cookout Experience

The Roaring Camp Saturday Night Cookout is an evening full of adventure, food, fun, entertainment, education and history for the whole family.

Of all the things I’ve done so far in Gold Country, one of my favorites is the Roaring Camp Saturday Night Cookout. It is an evening full of adventure, food, fun, entertainment, education and history. Descent into the Mokelumne River Canyon Your adventure begins at the Roaring Camp office on Tabeaud across from the Gold Country Campground in Pine Grove, CA. Everyone caravans from there at 5pm sharp to the Roaring Camp Mining Company staging area and entrance just a little farther down Tabeaud. There, trucks are waiting to take you down the very steep descent into the Mokelumne River Canyon. The trip down in the trucks is one of the best parts of the evening for me. The scenery is breathtaking and your guide tells you…

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Imperial Hotel Amador City: Nobody Famous Slept Here

Although it is the smallest incorporated city in California, Amador City still has much to offer, including the elegant, yet casual, Imperial Hotel.

Amador City, population 200, was a booming town during the California gold rush. The Keystone Mine was one of the highest producing mines in the area and as many as 5,000 people lived and worked in the town during that time. Most of the buildings, including what was to become the Imperial Hotel, were wood frame and, as with most mining towns, there was a fire that burned the majority of the town to the ground. After the fire in 1878, the structure that would become the Imperial Hotel was rebuilt out of brick. The owner at the time was Mr. Sanguinetti and the hotel was called The Italian. Some time in the 1920s the name was changed to the Imperial Hotel but no one…

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Mushroom Farm Tour — Dragon Gourmet Mushrooms

Dragon Gourmet Mushrooms in Sloughhouse, CA, practices sustainable farming to raise many exotic varieties on their mushroom farm. Farm-to-Fork.

Mushrooms are one of those things that I think you either love or hate. Even if you hate them, though, learning about them is pretty fascinating. When I contacted Dragon Gourmet Mushrooms in Sloughhouse, CA, and asked if they could do a tour of the mushroom farm for my cooking group, the Saucy Sisters, I was pretty excited when owner, Ryker, said yes. We were in the middle of a heat wave the day we went, with the temperature somewhere over 100 degrees, but eight of us were dedicated enough to brave it. Ryker and Mushroom Ninja Valarie seemed genuinely happy to have us there to share all about mushrooms with us. Mushroom Farm Tour Ryker told us about how he got started as a mushroom…

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Riding the Rails by Motorcar in Amador County

Take a motorcar ride in a vintage railroad maintenance-of-way work car in Ione, CA. You'll want to bring your camera for this 6 mile round trip ride into the beautiful foothills of Gold Country.

When I first saw information about the motorcar ride in Ione, CA, I was intrigued. The stable where I had my horseback riding business was right next to the railroad tracks in Anaheim, CA. I saw lots of high rail trucks on those rails, but these vintage motorcars were so cute. And they were telling me I could go for a ride in one! On the railroad tracks! The Motorcar If you are wondering what motorcars are and why they are on the railroad tracks, let me give you a little history lesson. You might be familiar with handcars from old western movies. Handcars came on the scene in the 1860s and were mainly used to maintain small sections of track. In 1910, handcars began…

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Dog & Pony Ranch: Luxurious Gold Country Vacation Rental

It's been two decades in the making but Troy and Cyndi Harrell's dream has finally come to fruition. They recently hosted a thank you/open house celebration for their Dog & Pony Ranch in Jackson, California. They officially became residents of Amador County the end of last year but waited for better weather to have the celebration for the completion of their home and luxurious Gold Country vacation rental.

It’s been two decades in the making but Troy and Cyndi Harrell’s dream has finally come to fruition. They recently hosted a thank you/open house celebration for their Dog & Pony Ranch in Jackson, California. They officially became residents of Amador County the end of last year but waited for better weather to have the celebration for the completion of their home and luxurious Gold Country vacation rental. Just like everything else Cyndi does, the celebration was planned to the max. Early in the day there was hiking, basketball, games in the new game room, zip lining if you were brave enough, playing with your dog in the pond, and feeding the farm animals. Later, there was an open bar, a band, super patriotic decorations, a…

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Volcano, CA: Where to Eat, Sleep and Play

For such a small hamlet, Volcano, CA, has a surprising number of places to eat, sleep and play. Here's the rundown to help you visit Volcano like a local.

Volcano is located in Amador County in the sierra foothills of Northern California’s Gold Country. It is surrounded by natural beauty and steeped in history. For such a small hamlet, Volcano, CA, population 116, has a surprising number of places to eat, sleep and play, all within walking distance of each other (with the exception of Black Chasm Cavern) on Main Street or just around the corner on Consolation St. Here are the restaurants, hotels and attractions so you can visit Volcano like a local. Where to Eat in Volcano Kneading Dough Bakery Everything at Kneading Dough Bakery is made on site using farm fresh, locally sourced ingredients when available. Of course they have bakery items and artisan bread but they have so much more. They have…

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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…

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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…

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