Sunday, July 05, 2009

Summer visit to Gold Country

Last December, during the cold winter break, we escaped the Bay Area for three days to the California Gold Country. The two highlights of the trip were the Columbia Historic Park and the Railtown 1897 in Jamestown.

The first one is a traditional eighteen hundreds mining town, including a stage coach. During the fourth of July weekend there are a lot of old fashioned games and traditions. We missed the parade but did enjoy greased pole contest and five way tug-o-war. Many also fashion traditional clothing.

We did pan again for gold, but were not as lucky as last time and came home only with fool's gold or pyrite.

The second highlight of our winter trip was Railtown 1897. This historic state park houses various steam engines. While during our winter visit no trains were running, we were able to freely roam the grounds and explore are the areas.

This time steam engine 2 did run between Jamestown and the rock quary. This was a Shay locomotive (geared engine). The geek in me did waste a couple of hours last night browsing wikipedia and steam engine websites on the details about the locomotive. I also came across a transcript of the cannon ball express ride (pdf).

The last stop of the trip is adult only: a sampling of the many wineries in Calaveras county (map). Over the last two days we samples wines from Ironstone, Solomon, Twisted Oak, Frog's Tooth, Broll and Bodega del Sur. The wineries of the Sierra Foothills use different grapes and produces wines uncommon to the Napa or Sonoma valleys: grenache, verdelho, roussanne, mourvedre and tempranillo. I favored the taste of the wines of Broll most.

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