No More Views of Spring at Daffodil Hill in Volcano

Yellow daffodils with text overlay: Daffodil Hill Farewell to a Landmark in Volcano, CA

I’ve been reading a lot lately about overtourism but who would think a sleepy little place like Volcano, CA, could experience such a phenomenon? But, indeed it has happened, and to a much-loved local attraction. Daffodil Hill in Volcano has closed to the public indefinitely, which I fear means permanently. The infrastructure of the area just couldn’t handle its popularity and that is not likely to change. The family released a statement earlier in July making the announcement. In the statement, the family said, “Over the past 80 years, many thousands have visited Daffodil Hill in beautiful Amador County. While we, the Ryan family, have enjoyed sharing our serene and peaceful Daffodil Hill with the general public, it is with deep sadness that we announce…

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Black Chasm Cavern: Amador County Hidden Gem

Entrance to cave at Black Chasm Cavern

UPDATE: This post was originally published on April 18, 2017 and has been updated on May 24, 2019 to reflect the change in ownership and other details for Black Chasm Cavern. The operation was sold in December of 2017 and is currently owned and operated by Gold Country Adventures. Although not a whole lot has changed, the new company’s website is not nearly as informative as that of the previous company and there are very few photos. I hope you find this blog post and the updates in it helpful. 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…

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25 Extraordinary Things to do in Amador County from a Local

river with white water and text overlay: best things to do in Amador County

Beautiful Amador County, with an elevation range of 250 feet to over 9,000 feet, is in the heart of the Sierra Foothills of California and is one of the 10 counties in the region known as Gold Country. All of Gold Country is often overlooked in favor of northern California coastal city and beach tourist destinations. As a result, you can enjoy activities in Gold Country without the crowds of the coast. I lived in Amador County for four years and did my best to see everything that there is to do, so you can trust me when I say Amador County has a lot to offer. Here are my recommendations of 25 extraordinary things to do in Amador County, in no particular order. Best…

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Amador City: Where to Eat, Stay and Play

Although Amador City is the smallest incorporated city in California, covering less than a square mile, it has lots to offer. It has a hotel and four great places to eat. Main Street is also dotted with unique shops, a wine tasting room or two and a museum.

Although Amador City is the smallest incorporated city in California, covering less than a square mile, it has lots to offer. It has a hotel and four great places to eat. Main Street is also dotted with unique shops, a wine tasting room or two and a museum. If you want to learn about local history, you can take a walking tour of the town. Hike the back roads to immerse yourself in the natural beauty of the area.     Where to Eat in Amador City Imperial Hotel The Imperial Hotel is the perfect place for an elegant dinner for a special occasion or just some really delicious food. The hotel dining room prides itself on featuring organic, locally grown produce, fresh meats and sustainably…

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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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Oldest Documented Old Vine Zinfandel Vineyard in the Americas

I've been researching Zinfandel for some time now, learning what is so special about old vine Zinfandel. When I saw an opportunity to visit the oldest documented Zinfandel vineyard in the Americas, planted in the 1860s, I knew I had to go.

You may have read elsewhere on the blog that I’ve been working on a post about old vine Zinfandel for some time. When I saw an opportunity to visit the oldest documented Zinfandel vineyard in the Americas, planted in the 1860s, I knew I had to go. The 3-day OGP Zinfandel Weekend event included an optional tour of the Original Grandpère Vineyard on Saturday and Sunday. I joined the tour on Saturday which was led by Rusty Folena, winemaker at Vino Noceto.     OGP Zinfandel Weekend, Shenandoah Valley, Plymouth, CA Only four wineries are privileged to produce wine from grapes grown in the Original Grandpère Vineyard (OGP), also called Vineyard 1869. The OGP Weekend is put on by the three wineries located in the…

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Most Viewed Posts of 2017

My top ten most viewed posts of 2017 include stories about historic places, amazing food and fun and interesting things to do in Gold Country.

Last year, when I wrote a post about my most viewed posts of 2016, the blog had only been in operation for just under 10 months. During that time, I wrote 34 posts, an average of over three a month. I didn’t meet my goal of at least four posts per month but I was pleased with the quality of what I had put out. When I sat down to figure out my most viewed posts of 2017, I was a little shocked to see that during 2017 I only published 32 posts for the whole year. That’s way below my goal of four per month. Consistency is definitely my biggest short coming when it comes to blogging, but I believe in quality over quantity. I…

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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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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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