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Highway 49 and its holiday destinations

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Posted: Friday, December 16, 2011 7:53 am

Sing carols with locals in Victorian Nevada City

About an hour and a half from Lodi, the foothill town of Nevada City is a bustling historic town that illuminates warmth during the winter months. With snow on the hills and brisk temperatures, bundle up in coats and scarves and browse the quaint and historic downtown area.

Take a drive to Nevada City Sunday afternoon (1:30 a.m.-6 p.m.) or Wednesday (5-9 p.m.) and celebrate the last of the city’s weekly event, Victorian Christmas. It is an old-fashioned holiday in downtown Nevada City, and the street fills with strolling carolers, those taking carriage rides and booths selling handcrafted cards, roasted chestnuts and eggnog.

In Nevada City, shopping is popular at two destinations: Downtown and in the 7 Hills Business District about a half-mile south. Downtown offers shops with clothing, handmade jewelry, home and garden products and other gift items.

Nevada City and Grass Valley’s bookstores have earned a “Booktown USA” destination for the cities.

It’s a ‘White Christmas’ in Placerville 

Experience Placerville by taking a stroll through its artst side at tonight’s Placerville Art Walk, which is held the third Saturday of every month. Art galleries and merchants stay open late to host changing art and late night shopping and dining. When the weather is nice, you can take a stagecoach ride from place to place. The event runs from 5 to 9 p.m.

And through Christmas, the El Dorado County Fairgrounds in Placerville is bringing the holiday tale “White Christmas” to the stage. Showtimes are Thursday and Friday at 7 p.m. and Saturdays at 2 p.m. Details are available at or by calling 530-642-0404.

If you want to take a leisurely stroll through Placerville, you’ll find shopping on Main Street, as well as eight antique stores in one spot.

Amador City: A sleepy town with fun for foodies

A quaint town that prides itself on its Gold Rush history, Amador City is a town that offers mining-era buildings that are now antique stores, boutiques, art galleries and museums. 

If you’re foodies looking for fun, you can find an artisan baker and old-fashioned soda fountain.

Sutter Creek fills its stages yearround

Sutter Creek is the charming town up the hill that just feels like it’s the holidays all year long.

It is known as the Jewel of the Gold Country because of its winetasting, bed and breakfast inns, dining, shopping and nature.

Sutter Creek’s Main Street offers specialty, consignment and antique shops, but there is also plenty of entertainment to find while you are there. 

The Sutter Creek Theatre features award-winning local, national and international artists every week. The Main Street Theatre Works, now in its 15th season has received many awards for the Sacramento regions. 

Win money in Jackson, shop for antiques, too

Gambling. Antiques. 

They’re very different, and they are both very fun — and you can do both in Jackson.

The Jackson Casino and Rancheria has 49 gaming tables, 9 poker tables featuring Texas Hold ’Em and more than 1,500 slot and video poker machines. 

After you play, visit Main Street Jackson for hours of shopping and browsing through antique, costume and specialty stores.

Columbia: Holidays the  with miners

Not only do people like to dress up in Gold Rush garb in the cute town of Columbia, the town also hosts candy-cane making sessions during the holidays.

This is the last weekend that Nelson’s Columbia Candy Kitchen will offer the sessions. For information, call 532-7886.

If the classes are full, you can still sit around a campfire drinking hot cider or coffee at Columbia’s “A Miner’s Christmas.” Locals and visitors will hang out with miners as the roast chestnuts and make crafts from the 1850s. Father Christmas will also wander the streets looking for good boys and girls to share holiday cheer with. 

Share cookies with Santa in Sonora

Sonora is a hub for Christmastime festivities.  With its large historic downtown shopping district, there is plenty to see and browse. But the Gold Rush town also offers holiday things to do. Here are some events going on today:

• Milk and Cookies with Santa at the Heart Rock Cafe, 1 S. Washington St. Call 532-3508 for details or visit

• “A Gold Rush Christmas” will be performed at the Sonora Opera Hall, 250 S. Washington St. The Black Irish Band celebrates the season with Celtic and original tunes with special guests the Auxiliary Ukulele Orchestra, of Columbia, and Matt and Celtic duo Aimee Hirsch. Visit or call 532-8375.

Ride the train with Santa in Jamestown

For industrial and railroad history, visit Jamestown. There are many things to do in Jamestown yearround, such as visiting the Railtown 1897 Interpretive Center, the authentic roundhouse and shops and the Depot Store with a specialty gift shop.

This weekend, Santa is visiting Railtown. Families are invited to climb aboard the steam-powered excursion train, departing every hour from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m., and ride with Santa.

For information, call 984-3953.

After visiting Santa, expert Main Street’s mixture of buildings from different eras: Wooden buildings date from the Gold Rush and Victorian style buildings were built during the 20th century.

Gift, antique and collectible stores selling many local items line Main Street.



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