Wilderotter Vineyard and Winery: From Small Beginnings

Jay and Maggie Wilderotter, owners of Wilderotter Vineyard, want you to feel as welcome in their tasting room as you would in their home.

Jay Wilderotter is one of the lucky ones. He found his passion a long time ago and lives it every day. He told me, “I never feel like I’m going to work.” Jay and his wife, Maggie, own Wilderotter Vineyard and Winery in the Shenandoah Valley in Plymouth, California. Jay says, “My business is threefold: vineyard, winery and hospitality [referring to the Grand Reserve Inn which I’ll tell you about in another post] and every day is different.” Wilderotter Vineyard and Winery Jay has been in the wine business for 27 years. For the first 15 of that, he was a grower and sold to other wine producers. He participated in the production of the wines made from his grapes and, with the help of…

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A Glimpse into Local History during Sutter Creek Heritage Days

Take a look at this post on Sutter Creek Heritage Days for a glimpse into the history of Sutter Creek, the gold rush era and the old West.

Sutter Creek Heritage Days I think I saw more of Sutter Creek in a few hours during Heritage Days than I have seen in all the other times I have visited put together. Most people visit Sutter Creek to shop at the many antique and vintage stores or to go wine tasting. During Sutter Creek Heritage Days, all the historic venues were open with free admission so I went on a fun, self-guided walking tour. There were plenty of other family-friendly activities going on like stagecoach rides around town and gold panning at Miners’ Bend. If you follow my blog at all, you know I love learning about local history so I was excited to see some new places!   Finally here! So excited for…

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Shenandoah Schoolhouse Road Progressive Picnic

You don't need an excuse to go wine tasting but a special event like the Schoolhouse Road Progressive Picnic in Shenandoah Valley adds to the fun.

7th Annual Schoolhouse Road Progressive Picnic You don’t need an excuse to go wine tasting but an event or special occasion can add to the fun. On Labor Day, six of the businesses on the Shenandoah School Road loop in Shenandoah Valley participated in the 7th Annual Schoolhouse Road Progressive Picnic. Labor Day Progressive Picnic Locations Wilderotter Vineyard My first stop was at Wilderotter Vineyard for gourmet hot dogs (from Evergood Foods in San Francisco), baked beans and Kettle chips. I have to tell you, I haven’t eaten anything like this since I started my keto journey in January. This was such a non-keto friendly meal but I had to at least try it. I don’t know if it was because I hadn’t eaten so…

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Dobra Zemlja Celebrates 22 Years in Shenandoah Valley

The beautiful grounds with a lake; delicious, robust wines and super friendly staff make Dobra Zemlja Winery a great place to visit in Shenandoah Valley.

When I learned that Dobra Zemlja was having an event to celebrate 22 years in Shenandoah Valley, I decided it would be a good time to pop in. I had visited once before during Spring Fling and loved the grounds but I wasn’t able to photograph them. It was cold and raining that day, in stark contrast to the clear skies and 102 degree heat the day of the celebration. I also thought it would be good to taste their wines when they weren’t my fifth stop for the day, like during Spring Fling! I had a great time visiting with General Manager, Laura Irmer; Tasting Room Manager, Mary Jo Pingree and my pourer, Carol. They gave me the low down on the winery and…

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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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Dining Solo on My Birthday — Are You an Introvert?

Traveling, or even dining solo, is something I always tried to avoid. Turns out, it is probably because I am an introvert. You might be too if...

I have always considered myself a shy person. I am attracted to “take charge” extroverts and was always happy to let them be my front person. New people I met rarely remembered me or, if they did, I was so-and-sos friend. Traveling, or even dining solo, is something I always tried to avoid. I didn’t want to have to interact with strangers or wonder what they were thinking of me. Are You an Introvert? Over the years, I learned that my “shyness” comes from being an introvert. Some still think that being an introvert is a negative thing, but no, it doesn’t mean I don’t like people or I’m antisocial. It just means I enjoy my alone time. I didn’t realize how much of an introvert…

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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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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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