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…

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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…

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Animal Enrichment at the Sacramento Zoo

The Sacramento Zoo had a special animal enrichment event in celebration of Valentine's Day. The orangutans made the most of it. Check them out.

I have always loved going to the zoo. When I lived in Southern California, I went to the San Diego Zoo and the Wild Animal Park frequently. Even though it was about 90 minutes away, I had season passes some years. When Kelly told me she saw a special animal enrichment event coming up at the Sacramento Zoo in celebration of Valentine’s Day, I said I was definitely in. It has been raining here almost nonstop for weeks so we were quite lucky to have a beautiful, sunny day for our outing. The Zoo was very easy to get to but I thought the entrance was a little hidden as we almost drove past it. There didn’t seem to be an official parking lot, at least…

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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 in Calaveras Big Trees State Park (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…

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Everything Nice at Allspicery

The Saucy Sisters cooking group recently took a foodie field trip to Allspicery, a new spice shop in downtown Sacramento. We were like kids in a candy store.

Recently, the Saucy Sisters cooking group took a foodie field trip to Sacramento to visit, among other places, Allspicery. When Jan, the organizer of the field trip, told me the Allspicery story, I knew I would want to tell you about it. As a cook, I enjoy experimenting with herbs and spices. I used to buy my herbs and spices in bulk online which can be a great money saver but isn’t all that great an idea unless you cook a LOT! Herbs and spices don’t really go “bad,” they just lose potency. Some people recommend replacing them every six months but 2-3 years for ground spices and 1-2 years for dried herbs is more realistic. I have to admit, lots of my spices have been hanging around…

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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…

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Old West Music at Scofield’s Cowboy Campfire

View of crowd from stage at Scofield's Cowboy Campfire - Experience the old American West at Scofield's Cowboy Campfire in Fiddletown, CA, with a chuck wagon dinner and cowboy music from world-renowned performers.

Back in March I went to see Dave Stamey at The Call in Pine Grove. I had been wanting to see him for years but I kept missing him when I lived in Southern California and he performed there. The Call is just a few minutes drive from my house and a great venue for a concert. It’s intimate and has a terrific sound system. I was excited to hear that he would be performing so close to home and I definitely was not disappointed. I enjoyed his performance so much that when I learned he would be at Scofield’s Cowboy Campfire at Red Mule Ranch in August, I planned right then to see him again. I hadn’t been to Scofield’s so I would be getting two for…

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Amador Flower Farm Daylilies

Amador Flower Farm daylilies come in a variety of shapes, sizes, colors and bloom cycles. They are easy to grow and are just about the perfect perennial.

I’ve said it before, but I just have to say it again. I’m discovering that plants from bulbs have the most spectacular blooms. I guess this is becoming more apparent to me as I have more time to explore places like Amador Flower Farm, where the daylily reigns supreme. Although I think irises are my favorite bulbs, daylilies are right up there at the top of my list of flowers. Did you know that there are more than 35,000 daylily cultivars? Amador Flower Farm daylilies are stunning. With over 1200 of the most popular varieties available, you are sure to find something you love. Daylilies are said to be very easy to grow. They come in a variety of colors, shapes, sizes and bloom cycles, so you can…

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Volcano, CA: Perfect for a Walking Tour

Volcano, CA is an amazing little town in the Sierra Foothills. It is a living history lesson and is the perfect place for a walking tour.

How Volcano Got its Name When I first moved to Pine Grove in beautiful Gold Country and learned there was a town nearby called Volcano, I immediately wondered if there was an extinct volcano in the area. That, however, is not the case. The town of Volcano sits in a crater-like valley surrounded by small hills. Sometimes there is a mist that sits in or rises from the valley floor resembling a volcano. When the new settlers began arriving in their search for gold, they dubbed the town Volcano and the name stuck. History of Volcano Mi-Wok Indians inhabited the area prior to the arrival of the first white men during the winter of 1848. When the soldiers of Jonathan Stevenson’s New York 7th Regiment arrived and…

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Cronan Ranch Trail Ride on Multi-Use Trails

We enjoyed a day of natural beauty a camaraderie on our Cronan Ranch trail ride. Cronan Ranch is part of the 25-mile South Fork American River Trail.

When it comes to getting up and getting out, the one thing I did a lot of in Southern California was horseback riding. My riding buddy, Nancy, was always ready to hitch up and trailer out for a trail ride so we were off on a different adventure almost every weekend. The eight weeks after my surgery, in the spring of 2014, was about the only time I didn’t ride and I couldn’t wait for my doctor to give me the go ahead to get back in the saddle. I had a lot of riding buddies in Southern California and at least someone in the group had been to almost every riding destination within a few hours’ drive and knew the trails. Trails were easy…

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