● By Wendy Sipple
Take a joyride up the hill and you’ll find yourself winding through a county rich in history, beauty, allure…and enchantment!
From the majestic Sierra Nevada Mountain range on the county’s east side, to rolling foothills and sprawling ranch lands near its western end, Amador County occupies a rather expansive 570 square miles. Convenient to most Northern California areas, Amador includes the note-worthy towns and cities of Jackson (the county seat), Sutter Creek, Plymouth, Drytown (a supposed ghost town), Amador City (CA’s smallest incorporated city), Volcano, Kirkwood, and Ione among others. This area is one that I liken to a hub of sights to see and things to do. Style recommends the following, but like the area, the opportunities for fun are vast.
Just outside the town of Volcano (named by miners who thought it was a volcanic crater), you’ll come across Daffodil Hill, which blooms with color throughout April. Here in a beautiful alpine setting at an elevation of over 3,000 feet, the rolling hills are covered with more than 300 named varieties of daffodils. With pine trees, an old barn, wagon wheels, rusting mining equipment and farming tools, it appeals to anyone with a love of nature. Flowers are everywhere, with peafowl, chickens, pigeons and lambs making themselves at home. If you want to take a bouquet of assorted seasonal flowers, there’s a bountiful assortment at the nearby Amador Flower Farm in Plymouth.
Another great place to discover is Kennedy Gold Mine. On tours, which take place March through October (Saturdays and Sundays), visitors get to experience the complications and hardships of the miner’s way of life…and the excitement of panning gold! The tour is one and a half hours long, so bring a picnic and soak in the all of the historic ambiance when you come.
If you want to get lost in history, I suggest you do it in the Preston Castle in Ione. Guided tours are offered here every first and third Saturday of each month. The castle was built between 1890 and 1894, and the 46,000 square feet is both mysterious and spectacular! Oh yeah, it’s also a California State Historical Landmark and is listed on the National Register of Historical Places.
Once you’ve had you’re fill of history…switch gears and fill up on wine and shopping! In the heart of the Sierra Foothill Gold Country, you can happen upon over 33 wineries including Deaver Vineyards (a family favorite), and C.G. DiArie Vineyards & Winery, two of my favorites, but there are a whole notable slew worth sipping, including those in the neighboring Shenandoah Valley.
For shopping pleasure, Main Street in Sutter Creek is where you’ll find it. With more history to be had, Main Street is lined with a plethora of antiques and collectibles stores as well as some pretty nice art galleries including Chaos Glassworks and the Fine Eye Gallery.
MARK YOUR CALENDARS:
April 17 – 38th Annual AAUW Home Tour
April 24 – The Great Sutter Creek Duck Race
April 25 – 32nd Annual Mother Lode Hot Jazz Party
July 9 – Wine, Art & Music Summer Social
August 25 – ACAC Hot Rod Heaven Car Show
September 25 – 11th Annual Blues & Brews Festival
October 2-3 – The Big Crush
For more events and information on Amador County, visit the Amador Council of Tourism, touramador.com.