Small Town Wine Bar in California’s Smallest Incorporated City

When I learned that another eating and drinking establishment was opening in Amador City, I have to admit, I was a little jealous. They already had the Imperial Hotel and Jamison’s Ale House, two of my favorite places to eat in the county. They had Andrae’s Bakery, which puts out some awesome bread and pastries. Now they were going to have Small Town Wine Bar, too.     Small Town Wine Bar in Amador City Small Town Wine Bar owner, Ginger Budrick Carter, has been in the hospitality industry all her life. She started working in her parents restaurant in Sutter Creek at the age of 13 where she worked her way up through all the positions. She learned to pay close attention to every…

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Amtrak from Sacramento to San Francisco

Amtrak -- Sacramento to San Francisco -- who knew? Certainly not me. At least not until recently. I've lived here for more than three years and didn't know you could take Amtrak from Sacramento to San Francisco.

Amtrak — Sacramento to San Francisco — who knew? Certainly not me. At least not until recently. I’ve lived here for more than three years and didn’t know you could take Amtrak from Sacramento to San Francisco. San Francisco is about a three hour drive and 130 miles from where I live in Amador County. Then there’s the traffic and the parking. When I learned from a client that you could take the train, I was quite eager to try it out because I LOVE riding the train, which you can read about here and here. It was on my mind for a few months but I just didn’t have a specific reason to go. When I received an invitation to ZinEX (hold that thought…

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Oysters and Smoked Meats at Jamison’s Ale House

The first time I went to Jamison's Ale House and Oyster Bar in Amador City, CA, I knew I would be going back often and would want to share it with you. You'll find things on the menu you won't find anywhere else in the county.

The first time I went to Jamison’s Ale House and Oyster Bar in Amador City, CA, I knew I would be going back often and would want to share it with you. Jamison’s Ale House If you want to know anything about beer or home brewing, visit Jamison’s Ale House and talk to co-owner Virginia Vasquez. Virginia has been judging beer for nearly 20 years, both commercial and home brew competitions. As a result, she began to appreciate how important it is to understand the ingredients, process and history of beer. She has organized pub crawls all over Northern California, blogged and written for a brewing magazine. Seven years ago, Virginia was coming through town and stopped to visit a merchant friend. She ended up…

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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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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

exterior of Imperial Hotel i Amador City

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 in Amador City 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…

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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. Dragon Gourmet Mushroom Farm Tour Ryker told us about how he got started as…

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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, Stay 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, stay 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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