No matter what your style is, from championship relaxing to more vigorous choices, you can do most of it in one long weekend. Pack your bags, load the car, charge the camera and off you go. A relaxing day in town, a simple drive into the foothills or some time in the majestic Sierra will provide just about all you need to get back on the relax track.
Crocker Art Museum
216 O St.
Sacramento, CA 95814
www.crockerartmuseum.orgStart your long weekend with a trip to the Crocker Art Museum. A little culture kicks off your day. Wander through grand paintings of California’s early history. As you continue your explorations through the various galleries, you will find works by some of the state’s and world’s best artists. When your museum time is over, walk over to the riverfront and Old Sacramento, or perhaps take a Hornblower Cruise. The California State Railroad Museum is in Old Sacramento and always worth a visit. Explore Old Sacramento or head over to the Capitol and take in the gardens, then move on to the art galleries that are spread throughout the downtown area. For more outdoor exploration, go to the American River and spend some time on the trail.
Gold Bug Mine and Park
2635 Gold Bug Lane
Placerville, CA 95667
www.goldbugpark.orgSome of those historical paintings at the Crocker were about the discovery and mining of gold in California. Placerville’s Gold Bug Mine is part of that early history. It is a hard rock mine, which produced quite a bit of gold in its time. Enjoy the mine and park, then head to Coloma, where James Marshall found gold in the American River and touched off the gold rush. Finish your day in Placerville, an historic gold country town that is beautifully preserved. All of those old buildings on Main Street are the real deal. Make sure to go into Placerville Hardware, the oldest hardware store west of the Mississippi. It has been in business here for over 150 years. Dinner is at one of the fine eateries on Main Street.
Camp Richardson Resort
1900 Jameson Beach Road
South Lake Tahoe, CA 96158
www.camprichardson.comThe Richardsons bought this small resort in 1921 and developed it into what it is today. Located on the shores of Lake Tahoe, this is a fine place to spend some time unwinding. Take some time sitting by the lake to figure out what you’d like to do. Head to the casinos at Stateline, take the gondola from the shops at Stateline to the top of Heavenly Valley or hike on the shores of the lake. Rent a boat, paddle board or kayak from the marina at Camp Richardson. Tour the awesome Tallac Historic Estates or drive to Emerald Bay and hike down to Vikingsholm. You can’t do it all in one day, so plan to come back soon.
Nevada City Chamber of Commerce
132 Main St.
Nevada City, CA 95959
www.nevadacitychamber.comNevada City is a short drive from Sacramento and is full of things to do. Check in at the Chamber of Commerce and gather some maps and advice. The entire downtown is a national historic landmark, and another fine gold rush town. The art galleries alone are worth the trip. The Mowen Solinsky Gallery on Broad Street is stellar. Wander through the shops, then head to the Empire Mine State Historic Park. The Miners Foundry Cultural Center is a pretty amazing timber and stone building worth some camera time. You can take a horse-drawn carriage ride while you’re here and get a load of local history while gently rolling through the town.
Charles Ferris is a freelance writer who has lived in the Sierra, halfway between Sacramento and Lake Tahoe, for the last 37 years. In 2010 he retired from teaching after 36 years . He and his wife hike, kayak, cross country ski, snow shoe, ride mountain bikes and road bikes, year round. His work can be found at Examiner.com.