View a Glorious Display of Spring at Daffodil Hill

Daffodil Hill is a privately owned farm that has been in the McLaughlin family since 1887. If mother nature cooperates, as many as 300 varieties of bulbs put out more than 400,000 blooms annually. Visitors can witness this spectacle from mid-March through mid-April, weather permitting.

When I moved to Pine Grove in Northern California’s Gold Country, one of the first things to go on my spring bucket list was a visit to Daffodil Hill in nearby Volcano. The blooms of the more than 300,000 daffodils are legendary and people visit from all over the world to see the spectacular sight.     I got lucky that first year. We had a mild winter with little rain – we were at the height of the drought – and the flowers were amazing during the spring of 2015. I’m so glad I made it that year because in 2016, a huge hail storm beat down all the flowers and forced them to close after just a few days.   Pretty excited that…

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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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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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