Travel

dolphins in bay with text overlay

Dolphin and Bird Watching on Laguna Madre with Fins to Feathers

One of the drawbacks of traveling solo is that it can be difficult to get into a small tour group. I've been trying for several weeks to get into a dolphin watching cruise on a small boat that only takes a maximum of six passengers. That doesn't sound like a ...
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river with white water and text overlay: best things to do in Amador County

25 Extraordinary Things to do in Amador County from a Local

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 ...
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bench overlooking lake with text overlay Texas State Parks Annual Pass

Will You Save Money with a Texas State Parks Pass?

Getting a Texas State Parks Pass has been on my list of things to do for a while but I have put it off because the weather has not been very conducive to outdoor activities. We finally have had a few clear days with sunshine so, recently, I went to ...
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orange umbrellas and bougainvillea decorate entryway

Quinta Mazatlan Celebrates the Monarch Butterfly

I have been anxious to get outside and visit more of the amazing nature areas nearby but the weather has been less than cooperative in that arena. Even on the day that Quinta Mazatlan celebrated the monarch butterfly with their Monarch Festival, there was a 30-40% chance of rain. I ...
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Photo of covered bridge with title text overlay: Epic 40-day California to Texas RV Itinerary

Epic 40-day California to Texas RV Itinerary

When I finally pulled away from the home I had lived in for the past four years in Pine Grove, I was both relieved and excited. I knew there were things I would miss but there were also some uncomfortable things going on that I was glad to be leaving ...
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Photo of barrels with title text overlay: Award-winning Rum Desert Diamond Distillery Kingman, AZ

Award-winning Rum at Desert Diamond Distillery in Kingman

When I finally made it out of California and reached Arizona on my RV trip from California to Texas, I was really looking forward to tasting my first Arizona wine. My original plan was to boondock at Stetson Winery but a delay earlier in the trip meant I arrived on ...
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A sub-tropical climate, with average winter lows in the 50s, means year-round outdoor activities. Museums top the list of indoor things to do in Harlingen. #travel #texas #harlingen #museums #birding

Museums and Nature Top the List of Things to do in Harlingen

The city of Harlingen is located in the southern tip of Texas in the Rio Grande Valley and is just 30 miles from the Gulf of Mexico. In addition to all the dining and shopping opportunities you’d find in any city of its size, Harlingen has an international airport, a ...
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Texas is a diverse state with a mind-boggling number of things to do. Bucket list worthy things to do in Texas by region recommended by travel bloggers. #travel #texas #food #wine #hiking

Bucket List Things to do in Texas by Region

When I moved to Texas a few months ago and started researching where to go and things to do, I was almost overwhelmed. I knew Texas was a BIG state but I didn't quite realize how much there is to do here and how diverse the state is. My new ...
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Gladys Porter Zoo in Brownsville, Texas, has more than 1500 animals, representing nearly 400 species, and is known for its success in breeding endangered wildlife.

Gladys Porter Zoo in Brownsville, Texas

Zoos may be a controversial issue for some but I absolutely love them and appreciate what they do. I love being able to see animals I would never otherwise see in the wild and that may, in fact, not exist in the wild in the near future. I won't apologize ...
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The International Museum of Art & Science in McAllen, Texas, has many interactive exhibits that are educational for adults and children alike.

International Museum of Art & Science (IMAS) in McAllen

A couple of weeks ago, I went to McAllen, Texas, to meet up with a group of fellow RVers from RVillage (an RV membership group). I wanted to make the most of my time in McAllen so I looked for something to do in the morning before the meet up ...
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Geocaching is an outdoor treasure hunting game. Learn about the area while you have fun geocaching with Harlingen Parks and Recreation's Geo-Quest.

Geocaching with Harlingen Parks and Recreation

Geocaching first came to my attention several years ago when I lived in southern California. I love scavenger hunts and solving puzzles so I thought it sounded like fun. I was about to get involved when I decided to move to rural northern California where there really weren't many geocaches ...
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The museums of Harlingen, Texas, the Iwo Jima Memorial Museum and the Harlingen Arts & Heritage museum, top the list of best things to do in Harlingen.

Museums of Harlingen: Early Rio Grande Valley to WWII

When I moved to southern Texas, I started making a list of things to see and do, starting with the closest places first. When I searched things to do in Harlingen, Texas, the museums of Harlingen came out on top. Museums of Harlingen Iwo Jima Memorial Museum The Iwo Jima ...
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This is one of my favorite posts to do during the year. It is so fun to look back over articles and see what was popular and resonated with my readers.

Most Viewed Posts 2018 Edition

This is one of my favorite posts to do each year. It is so fun for me to look back over my articles and see what was popular and resonated with my readers during the year. It gives me food for thought about what to include as future posts. 2018 ...
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The five missions on the San Antonio Mission Trail, as a group, were designated a UNESCO World Heritage site in 2015. They are the largest collection of Spanish colonial architecture in the world. #travel #tourism #texas #sanantonio #missions

San Antonio Mission Trail: Visions of a New People and Culture

When I went on my first day of sightseeing in San Antonio, Texas, I learned that the Alamo is just one of five missions on the San Antonio Mission Trail. The five missions, as a group, were designated a UNESCO World Heritage site in 2015. They are the largest collection ...
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I purchased my hop-on hop-off ticket, added the Rio Cruises River Walk tour, and made my way inside the Alamo to begin my San Antonio sightseeing adventure.

Best of San Antonio in One Day: The Alamo, Pearl & River Walk

By the time I got to San Antonio in mid-November, I had been on the road for 33 days. I had been to some amazing places and had been enjoying remarkably beautiful weather until I arrived in central Texas the week before. For almost a week it had been cloudy, ...
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Walker Honey Farm and Dancing Bee Winery in Rogers, TX, may be a little off the beaten path but well worth a visit for amazing raw honey and honey wine.

Boondocking at Walker Honey Farm and Dancing Bee Winery

I joined Harvest Hosts RV membership program to find some unique and interesting places to stay on my RV trip from northern California to southern Texas. I picked at least one intriguing place in each state and built my RV park stays around them. When I found Walker Honey Farm ...
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When you think of Bakersfield, do you think of a place to visit and explore? No? Me neither! But there is more to do there than you might imagine.

Things to do in Bakersfield in Three Days

When you think of Bakersfield, do you think of a place to visit and explore? No? Me neither! When I was planning my RV trip from northern California to southern Texas, I scheduled an overnight in Bakersfield to break up the drive. At one of my going away parties – ...
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Casa Rondeña Winery has been chosen “Best Winery” seven years in a row by Albuquerque the Magazine readers.Read on to learn why.

Casa Rondeña Winery – I Finally Get Some New Mexico Wine

Although I had cases of amazing Gold Country wine in my wine fridge when I was getting ready to leave northern California, I didn’t bring much with me. I shipped a couple of cases and gave the rest away. Turns out, that was a bit of a mistake. My plan ...
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Piedras Marcadas Canyon in Petroglyph National Monument, Albuquerque, NM, combined my love of and fascination with history, geology and archeology.

Piedras Marcadas Canyon in Petroglyph National Monument

When I began fantasizing about this journey to southern Texas, I planned to leave northern California the third week of September, in time to get to Albuquerque for the Balloon Fiesta. Since that didn’t happen, I had no real plans of what to see or do in Albuquerque other than ...
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Petrified Forest National Park in Arizona, lies at the heart of the Painted Desert and is one of the largest concentrations of petrified wood in the world.

Petrified Forest National Park and Painted Desert

When I heard that the National Parks’ Senior Lifetime Pass was increasing from $20 to $80, I decided to go ahead and get mine. I was a few years past the time when I qualified but I never really thought I would use it. Other than Yosemite, there weren’t many ...
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I love trains so I knew that combining the Grand Canyon Railway with seeing the Grand Canyon would be the highlight of my trip.

The Incomparable Grand Canyon via the Grand Canyon Railway

My RV journey began with the thought that a travel trailer might be easier than finding multiple hotels that would take my three cats on my move from Northern California to southern Texas. From that simple thought it grew into the idea of fulfilling a life-long dream of traveling around ...
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If my first weekend on the road as an RV newbie is any indication of how things are going to go for the next few weeks, I’m truly going to love this life.

Notes from an RV Newbie’s First Weekend on the Road

If you have been following my blog, you know that just before my birthday I made a life changing decision to downsize, buy a travel trailer and do some long-term traveling while moving in the general direction of southern Texas. Preparing to be an RV newbie has been a monumental ...
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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.

View a Glorious Display of Spring at Daffodil Hill

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 ...
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Murphys, CA, in Calaveras County is home to Mercer Caverns, one of four fantastic caverns in Northern Caifornia's Gold Country. Learn about the fascinating history and amazing geology on an entertaining guided tour.

Mercer Caverns: A Top Attraction in Murphys, CA

My friend Joy and her husband were here visiting for a few days from Southern California so I planned some activities for them. We spent the day on Sunday in Murphys attending their Presidents' Wine Weekend event. On the drive to Murphys, Joy wanted to know if we could visit ...
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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.

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. If you ...
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When you visit Murphys, it will be obvious why it was voted one of the top ten coolest small towns in America. Take a trip back to the 1800s while enjoying great food, shopping, art galleries, outdoor activities and more.

Things to do in Murphys CA — More than Wine Tasting

If you haven't been to Murphys, you should definitely add it to your list of places to go in California's Gold Country. I have been there for special events like the Chili Cook-off, just to shop, and to stop for breakfast on my way to Calaveras Big Trees State Park. When ...
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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 ...
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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 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 ...
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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.

Most Viewed Posts of 2017

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 ...
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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.

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. Jamison's Ale House If you want to know anything about beer or home brewing, visit Jamison's Ale House ...
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Do you know how to tell if you are purchasing a high-quality olive oil and if it is truly extra virgin? Australia and California make it easier.

Everything You Need to Know to Find the Best Olive Oil

What is the first thing that pops into your mind when you think of Australia? Is it olive oil? Probably not but, after you read this, that might change. I have been wanting to delve into learning more about local olive oil for some time now so when one of ...
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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.

A Glimpse into Local History during Sutter Creek Heritage Days

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 ...
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The Roaring Camp Saturday Night Cookout is an evening full of adventure, food, fun, entertainment, education and history for the whole family.

Roaring Camp Saturday Night Cookout Experience

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 ...
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exterior of Imperial Hotel i Amador City

Imperial Hotel Amador City: Nobody Famous Slept Here

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 ...
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Dragon Gourmet Mushrooms in Sloughhouse, CA, practices sustainable farming to raise many exotic varieties on their mushroom farm. Farm-to-Fork.

Mushroom Farm Tour — Dragon Gourmet Mushrooms

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 ...
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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.

Riding the Rails by Motorcar in Amador County

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 ...
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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.

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 ...
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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, CA: Where to Eat, Stay and Play

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 ...
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View a wide variety of formations at Black Chasm Cavern including stalactites, stalagmites, flowstone and the vast array of rare helictite crystals.

Black Chasm Cavern: Amador County Hidden Gem

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 signs hundreds of times and have been meaning to go to Black Chasm Cavern ever ...
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I tried snowshoeing for the first time this week. I love that I can go from wildflowers to snowshoeing in 30 minutes or less in Gold Country. Check it out.

Wildflowers to Snowshoeing in 30 Minutes or Less

When I lived in Southern California, I lived near the beach and loved that I could be in the mountains within a couple of hours. Now, I live in the mountains of Northern California and the beach is only a little farther than a couple of hours away. I live ...
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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.

Wildflower Train: Railtown 1897 State Historic Park

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 ...
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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.

Electra Road Wildflowers Take a Hike from Ordinary to Extraordinary

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 ...
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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.

Animal Enrichment at the Sacramento Zoo

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 ...
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The more than 20 murals that depict various aspects of the Rio Grande Valley's history and culture, is one of the main things for which Harlingen is known.

The Murals of Downtown Harlingen

I just got back from a week-long trip to La Feria, Texas. I was visiting my Dad and helping him celebrate his 95th birthday. What a blast we had! He has bad knees so it is hard for him to walk a lot, which meant we didn't go many places ...
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A look back at 2016 and my most viewed posts of the year. There were a few surprises and some things I knew would be there.

Most Viewed Posts of 2016

It's the beginning of a new year and I've been reflecting on the blog, looking back at old posts and setting some goals for 2017. Even though the blog hasn't been in operation for a full year yet (my first post was published on March 7th), I thought you might be ...
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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.

Women Traveling Alone — Are You One of Them?

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 ...
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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.

Awe Inspiring Giant Sequoias in Calaveras Big Trees State Park

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 ...
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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.

Everything Nice at Allspicery

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

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 ...
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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?

Sutter Creek Chili Cook-off & Car Show

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 ...
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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.

Lumberjack Day in West Point, CA

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 ...
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With summer activities winding down, there is still so much to do that it is hard to choose. Here's my list of best Amador County October Activities.

Best Amador County October Activities

With fall just around the corner, one week from today in fact, outdoor summer activities are starting to wind down in Amador County. Even the weather has given us a taste of fall the past few days, but just because summer is winding down doesn't mean there will be any ...
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I had the opportunity to try out a Kodiak Canvas truck tent on a recent horse camping trip. I share the pros and cons of the tent with you in this blog post.

Kodiak Canvas Truck Tent Review

Kelly and I just got back from a horse camping trip to Pt. Reyes National Seashore north of San Francisco. Kelly usually stays in the back of her horse trailer when she camps, but for this trip, she decided to get a tent for her truck. I hadn't heard of ...
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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.

Old West Music at Scofield’s Cowboy Campfire

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 ...
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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.

Amador Flower Farm Daylilies

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 ...
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During the height of blooming season, you can see more than 100,000 irises at Bluebird Haven Iris Garden in Somerset, CA, in southern El Dorado County.

Bluebird Haven Iris Garden

On our way back from Toogood Estate Winery in Fairplay, the Vineyard Vixens stopped at Bluebird Haven Iris Garden. We do have other interests besides wine! Bluebird Haven Iris Garden is located on Fairplay Rd. in Somerset, CA, just a few miles down the road from Toogood in southern El Dorado ...
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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.

Volcano, CA: Perfect 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 ...
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My Gold Country Spring Bucket List

If you are like me, you see something fun and interesting to do, talk about it, then forget about it. At least that's what happens to me with a lot of things. I've been doing better so far this year, checking out event calendars at least a month ahead and ...
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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.

Cronan Ranch Trail Ride on Multi-Use Trails

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 ...
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Northern CA's Gold Country encompasses ten counties that lie along the western slope of the Sierra Nevada mountains, reaching into the Sacramento Valley.

Gold Country: What and Where Is It?

Northern California's Gold Country, also known as the Mother Lode, encompasses ten counties that lie along the western slope of the Sierra Nevada mountains, reaching down to the Sacramento Valley. Its name comes from the famous, or infamous, California Gold Rush of 1849 that occurred here. The beauty and scenic ...
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