So where else should you go on your way to Daffodil Hill? Here are a couple stops you can make on your trip to Daffodil Hill:
Pioneer: Starting your trip in the small town of Pioneer, just shy of 3,000 feet in elevation, offers you boutique stores and an opportunity to explore a new place. Start at Possibili-Teas (25321 State Highway 88), a loose leaf tea, herb shop in Pioneer that opened in the new location last fall. Visitors can book teas for up to six people with dishes of cardamom ginger scones, lavender egg salad and butter pecan shortbread truffles. There are classes, including gentle yoga with tea, and a Wednesday afternoon book club. There are also a variety of gifts, like fresh jam and local art. For more information, call (209) 295-5321 or go to www.possibili-teas.net.
If tea is not your thing, stop in at Zip’s Pioneer Shop (next door from the tea store) for a haircut or visit local celebrity, Baxter, a bull dog/pug mix, at Pioneer Hardware.
Down the street is Sierra Mountain Home Furnishings and Gifts, (22673 Highway 88) where you can purchase hand-painted whirligigs, jewelry, garden decorations, log bed frames and other furnishings and rustic home decor. Rob Jurasek, who owns the shop with his wife, Linda, also makes chainsaw carvings of bears and other items. For more information, call (209) 295-4488 or go to www.sierramountainhome.com.
Black Chasm Cavern: For a family-friendly adventure before or after Daffodil Hill, consider heading to Black Chasm Cavern. The cave is a National Natural Landmark, thanks to a variety of rare helictite crystal formations. It is one of the three sites in the nation for the delicate cave formations, which are made from water droplets forcing their way out of the cave walls and leaving mineral deposits in unique shapes.
The tour goes down a steep flight of stairs through three rooms that feature a variety of formations. Tours are $14.95 for adults and $7.95 for children.
After the tour, pick up a Zen garden trail map and enjoy a short walk. The entire trail is about one mile and winds through hydraulic marble that was mined and left during the Gold Rush. You can climb on different paths through the rocks in the shaded, wood, area. For more information on the cave, call (209) 736-2708 or go to www.caveandmineadventures.com.
Volcano: The small town of Volcano is the perfect stop for lunch or dinner after your visit to the ranch. In 1858, the Gold Rush town had swelled to a population of 5,000 and included churches, a school, butcher shops, bakeries, breweries, a public hall and theatre, a fire company and five saloons.
Now, when you drive into town, there is a a quaint main street with the three-story historic St. George Hotel as the most notable building with its white facade and large balconies. The historic hotel offers a variety of rooms, and from Wednesday through Sunday, you can eat in the downstairs dining room or at the Whiskey Flat Saloon next door.
Consider checking out their Sunday brunch from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Sundays. For more information and to check hours, call (209) 296-4458 or go to www.stgeorgevolcano.com.
While in Volcano, walk around and read the historic markers on each building which details its history. There is are several local shops open on the weekends and a park for enjoying a picnic. Throughout the year, the Volcano Theatre Company also puts on shows with the next one, Baby with the Bathwater, beginning April 12. Information is available at www.volcanotheatre.org.
One of the highlights in town is The Country Store, the oldest continually operating general store in California. Inside is a collection of vintage beer signs, shelves lined with old cans and a variety of grocery items. They serve hamburgers and deli sandwiches that are cooked in a wood-fired oven and you can enjoy a pint of beer or glass of wine while eating.
Debbie Dunn, who owns the store, also owns the Jug & Rose Eatery next door. On Thursday, Friday and Saturday from 8 a.m. to 11 a.m., she serves what she describes at the “simplest breakfast in the county” — eggs, bacon, sausage or ham and toast. The space also doubles as Kneading Dough Bakery. Jackie Tarchala bakes natural and organic specialty breads and desserts, including dairy-free, egg-free and gluten-free products. Items include decadent desserts like cinnamon rolls, cobblers and cheesecakes and breads, like buckwheat-blueberry, roasted garlic potato or 4-seed wheat.