Women Traveling Alone — Are You One of Them?

I marvel at the brave women traveling alone in foreighn countries. These days, I'm more interested in exploring what my local region has to offer.

As a single, female, 60 something, baby boomer, and with the state of the world, I’m no longer comfortable with the idea of overseas travel, especially as a woman traveling alone. Perhaps some of you feel the same way. I read lots of travel blogs, mostly written by young millennials. Some are women traveling alone in remote places and I marvel at their bravery and sense of adventure. I’m OK with traveling alone in the US. In fact, this past spring I took a 10-day road trip, with just my cat for company, to a pet blogging conference in Phoenix. I stopped in Orange County in both directions and had a great time in spite of planned meetups with friends not working out. In January, I’ll be going to Texas to visit my Dad and help him celebrate his 95th birthday. I haven’t seen him in three years so I’m pretty excited…

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Awe Inspiring Giant Sequoias in Calaveras Big Trees State Park

Did you know that the giant sequoias are the largest living thing to ever have existed on earth? You can visit them at several locations in Gold Country.

Seeing the giant coastal redwoods (sequoia sempervirens) has always been on my bucket list. You would think that someone who has lived most of her life in California would have checked that item off her list after all these years. Somehow, I have never made it there even though I made many trips over the years from Southern California to Northern California. I had no idea when I moved to Pine Grove that I would be barely more than an hour drive from the coastal redwoods’ relative, the giant sequoias (sequoiadendron giganteum). In fact, I didn’t even know they had relatives. The giant sequoias, also knows as sierra redwoods, are the largest living thing ever to exist on earth! That statement alone just blows me away. The coastal redwoods grow taller but the giant sequoias are more massive. They date back over 180 million years to the age of the dinosaurs and can live 3,000 years.…

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Schmitz 24 BRIX Wines and Barrel Cellar Tasting Room

Schmitz 24 BRIX Wines Tasting Room is relatively new to the Shenandoah Valley. All their wines are highly rated with the Winemaker's Blend the most popular.

24 BRIX is a relatively new kid in the Shenandoah Valley. We watched over a period of weeks this past year as the old antique store on Highway 49 in Plymouth was transformed into the Schmitz 24 BRIX Barrel Cellar Tasting Room. When the Vineyard Vixens visited, we got a warm welcome from the owner and winemaker himself, Paul Schmitz. The 24 BRIX Vineyards I love learning new things about wine and winemaking when I go wine tasting. The name of the winery comes from the fact that they harvest their grapes when the sugar content is at or close to 24 brix (brix is a measure of the sugar content of an aqueous solution). They feel this natural sugar level is the optimal ripeness for the fruit and dramatically influences the quality and taste. 24 BRIX wines have no commercial yeast added. The grapes are fermented using naturally occurring vineyard yeast. The…

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It’s All In My Head! – Food, Wine and Travel

A preview of what's coming on the blog in food, wine and travel - a field trip to Allspicery, some wine tasting and a couple of terrific recipes.

It seems I’ve been on a bit of an unintended hiatus from the blog. I’ve been so busy doing research, photograpy and coming up with ideas for content that I haven’t had (taken) the time to write it down. Now I have so many things in my head it is almost overwhelming but I will start getting it written! Here are some of the things I’m working on in food, wine and travel that you can expect to see on the blog in the next few weeks. When I wrote about my Wine Lovers Vino de Mocha Fudge, I promised an easy, microwave version. I’ve made several batches, including one I took to Thanksgiving dinner, and am very happy with the results. I’m also making a batch of it to add to a gift basket for the Motherlode Newcomers’ Christmas luncheon coming up on December 1st. Every month at our luncheon, the Newcomers raffle off baskets or other…

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Sutter Creek Chili Cook-off & Car Show

The Saucy Sisters had stiff competition at the 2016 Great Sutter Creek Chili Cook-off and Car Show. Do you think we won again this year?

I love that there are so many local fairs and festivals in Gold Country. My October pick was the Great Sutter Creek Chili Cook-off and Car Show. This annual event is always held on the second Saturday in October so you might want to mark your calendar now for October 8, 2017! This event is so much fun and is family friendly. Main Street is shut down for the day. One end is filled with booths of competitors in the chili and salsa competition. At the other end of the street, you can lay eyes on more than 100 classic cars and hot rods. I’m not much into cars but I did have a few favorites. In between the two, you’ll find some other fun activities and vendors. If you come for the chili, just $6 gets you get a bowl and spoon so you can sample chili until your…

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Ferrari Originals – More Than Lampwork

Ferrari Originals specializes in components for jewelry designers, collectors and bead lovers, but also creates one-of-a-kind and custom pieces.

Gold Country Handmade This new series on the blog will feature talented artists and artisans from all over Gold Country. I plan to bring you a diverse sampling of the talent here. I am excited to introduce my friend Pam Ferrari and Ferrari Originals as my first featured artisan. Ferrari Originals Pam Ferrari is the artist behind Ferrari Originals. Pam began making lampwork glass beads in December of 2001 because she couldn’t find beads that she really liked. Since then, she has added fused glass, patina on copper, painting on copper overlaid with resin, and enameling to her repertoire. She specializes in making components for jewelry designers, collectors and bead lovers but she also sells beautiful one-of-a-kind pieces and can make you a custom piece. Lampwork Glass Beads Lampwork is a technique of heating glass with a flame until it is molten and then shaping it by blowing, turning or some other…

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Lumberjack Day in West Point, CA

Lumberjack Day, held the first Saturday in October, is a day-long celebration of the history and traditions of the logging industry in Calaveras County.

You never know what you are going to run into when you are traveling around Gold Country. Yesterday I was on my way to a pet sitting client when I saw a sign I remembered seeing a few times in the past week or so. It was for Lumberjack Day in West Point on October 1st, and it just so happened it was October 1st. I thought to myself that maybe I would stop and check it out on my way home from my client’s house. On my way home, as I was approaching West Point, I was debating in my head if I would stop or not. I had a lot to do at home so maybe I would just pass. Well, the universe had already heard earlier that I wanted to stop. As I came to the stop sign in town, the car ahead of me was the…

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The Vixens Play at Bray: Bray Vineyards

Earlier in September, the Vineyard Vixens toasted another year of wine tasting adventures, beginning with Bray Vineyards.

The Vineyard Vixens, the wine tasting group of the Mother Lode Newcomers, goes on hiatus for the summer. Earlier in September, we toasted another year of tasting adventures, beginning with Bray Vineyards. Some members of our group had been before but most had not, including me. We started our day with lunch at Villa Toscano as we often do. The buffet included a pasta dish that we all fell in love with. I asked Executive Chef Tim Benham for the recipe so he came out to our table and explained how he made it. It was so delicious and relatively easy. He didn’t give us any specific amounts of each ingredient so I will be working on replicating that recipe to include on the blog at a later date. After a leisurely lunch filled with laughter, food and a little Toscano wine, we headed for our tasting at Bray Vineyards.…

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