Wednesday, June 29, 2016

Highway 49--Gold Rush Country: Jamestown, Jamestown Hotel + National Hotel

update/p.350

This small Gold Rush town has not just one, but two historic hotels!

Jamestown Hotel  18153 Main St., (800) 205-4901, (209) 984-3902.  8 rooms.  Full breakfast; restaurant.  Built in the 1850s, this hotel is furnished with Victorian antiques and has many spacious suites with sitting rooms.  Don't miss the impressive antique cash register displayed at the registration desk. 
    The Jamestown Hotel Restaurant serves breakfast, lunch, and dinner daily, and a welcoming saloon specializes in fancy drinks, California wines, and tasty appetizers.

exterior of Jamestown Hotel in Jamestown, California
exterior of Jamestown Hotel in Jamestown, California

owner Charlie Morgan in front of antique cash register at Jamestown Hotel in Jamestown, California
owner Charlie Morgan in front of antique cash register at Jamestown Hotel in Jamestown, California

dining room and saloon at Jamestown Hotel in Jamestown, California
dining room and saloon at Jamestown Hotel in Jamestown, California

guest room in Jamestown Hotel in Jamestown, California
guest room in Jamestown Hotel in Jamestown, California

National Hotel  18183 Main St., (800) 894-3446, (209) 984-3446.  9 rooms.  Unsuitable for children under 10.  TVs upon request.  Full breakfast; restaurant; room service.  A sense of history awaits at this really old hotel.  Built in 1859, it has been in continuous operation ever since.  In fact, it is one of the oldest continuously operating hotels in the state and is an official historical landmark.  Until 1978, rooms were rented to men only and went for $4 a night.  Indoor plumbing was added in 1981.  Much of the antique furniture is original to the hotel, and that which isn’t is right in tune with the era.  A private Soaking Room with a clawfoot tub for two--sort of an 1800s hot tub--is available to all guests.  Overall, everything is far more luxurious now than anything those gold miners ever experienced.  
exterior of National Hotel in Jamestown, California
exterior of National Hotel in Jamestown, California

stairway to guest rooms at National Hotel in Jamestown, California
stairway to guest rooms at National Hotel in Jamestown, California

Currently the bar accepts gold for payment--just like in the 1800s--and is the only establishment in the West that does so.  
gold exchange board at National Hotel in Jamestown, California
gold exchange board at National Hotel in Jamestown, California

owner Stephen Willey with gold scale at National Hotel in Jamestown, California
owner Stephen Willey with gold scale at National Hotel in Jamestown, California


The hotel restaurant serves lunch and dinner daily and Sunday brunch, and is an especially inviting spot for dinner after the drive in.  On warm evenings, diners are seated outside on a pleasant patio.  Menu strong points include fresh fish with creative sauces, a wine list with the largest selection of Gold Country wines available anywhere, and exceptional desserts.  Just off the parlor, an old-time saloon features its original redwood long bar with brass rail and 1881 cash register and makes the perfect spot for a nightcap.  Also noteworthy, they grow their own herbs and bake most of their own breads, and in summer they serve farm fresh produce from local area farms.

saloon at National Hotel in Jamestown, California
saloon at National Hotel in Jamestown, California


More things to do in Jamestown.

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images ©2016 Carole Terwilliger Meyers 


Thursday, June 23, 2016

San Francisco: Delarosa + Contemporary Jewish Museum


Delarosa  37 Yerba Buena Lane, SOMA.  L-D daily.  No reservations.  Featuring Roman-style pizza and small plates, this roaringly-popular spot has mostly communal seating.  Tabletops and floors are hardwood, and big windows open to views of the outside walkway--all adding to the potential for an ear-splitting noise level.

interior of Delarosa in San Francisco
interior of Delarosa in San Francisco

My favorite menu item is the Margherita pizza topped with creamy melted burrata--soooo good!  Pizzas are served on raised stands, and napkins are generously-sized kitchen towels--a boon for those of us who run through numerous paper napkins at every meal.

Margherita pizza at Delarosa in San Francisco
Margherita pizza at Delarosa in San Francisco

Though to accompany it we chose broccolini with garlic and really hot little red peppers

broccolini at Delarosa in San Francisco
broccolini at Delarosa in San Francisco

as well as deep-fried asparagus with caper aioli,

deep-fried asparagus at Delarosa in San Francisco
deep-fried asparagus at Delarosa in San Francisco

others were chattering about the marinated olives with fennel and citrus and the crispy tagliolini dumplings.  Non-pizza panini and pastas are also enticing.  With only a little room left for dessert, we shared three Bomboloni caldi (warm housemade donuts) with chocolate, raspberry, and marscapone sauces and wound up leaving one behind.

Bomboloni donuts at Delarosa in San Francisco
Bomboloni donuts at Delarosa in San Francisco

Note that a vegan cheese substitute is available on pizza.  Drinks include craft beers, Italian and Californian wines, and delicious cocktails.  I ordered the most popular cocktail--a murky-looking, smoky-tasting Painted Ladies (mezcal, tamarind, chili tincture, lemon bitters, lime)--and my partner ordered a slightly more colorful Golden Coast bourbon (batavia arrack, apricot, pineapple, orange, lime).

cocktail delivery at Delarosa in San Francisco
cocktail delivery at Delarosa in San Francisco

My mouth actually watered as I read this menu in advance.  One visit just won’t do it.  I’ll be back.

Delarosa Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato


          Since this location of Delarosa (the original at 2175 Chestnut Street in the Marina) is right across the walkway from the Contemporary Jewish Museum, you might want to time your meal to coordinate with a museum visit.  I had dinner here after a Thursday night museum visit--when the admission drops to $5 after 5 p.m. and includes an exhibit tour at 5:30 p.m.--and was pleased to see “Bill Graham and the Rock & Roll Revolution Show,” which runs through July 5.  (“Stanley Kubrick:  The Exhibition” is coming next.)  Apparently Bill always liked to feed people.  As a child, he stole apples from an orchard to share with his fellow orphans, and he was the last kid from his orphanage selected for fostering--a sadness that followed him through his life.  And so this show begins with the actual bucket that held the apples that he gave away to patrons at the Fillmore--a tradition that continues today.  The exhibit includes plenty more stories and some spectacular behind-the-scenes images of those trippy hippie days, all while era-appropriate music plays in the background.  It is groovy, man, really groovy.  More about the museum . . .

Bill Graham's barrel of apples at Contemporary Jewish Museum in San Francisco
Bill Graham's barrel of apples at Contemporary Jewish Museum in San Francisco

Bill Graham show at Contemporary Jewish Museum in San Francisco
Bill Graham show at Contemporary Jewish Museum in San Francisco



Jimi Hendrix poster at Bill Graham show at Contemporary Jewish Museum in San Francisco
Jimi Hendrix poster at Bill Graham show at Contemporary Jewish Museum in San Francisco


exterior of Contemporary Jewish Museum in San Francisco
exterior of Contemporary Jewish Museum in San Francisco
More things to do in San Francisco. 
 
Way more things to do in San Francisco.

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images ©2016 Carole Terwilliger Meyers  


Tuesday, June 21, 2016

Highway 49--Gold Rush Country: Tuolumne, Black Oak Casino Resort


Black Oak Casino Resort  19400 Tuolumne Road North, in Tuolumne, (877) 747-8777.  Casino:  6 restaurants, 3 bars.  Hotel:  5 stories; 148 rooms.  Saline pool; fitness room.  No pets.  Free valet parking.  Owned and operated by The Tuolumne Band of Me-Wuk Indians, this casino features more than 1,300 slot machines, 26 table games, and two electronic poker tables, as well as the Family Fun Floor with kids’ arcade and 24-lane Brunswick bowling center on the subterranean level below the casino.  The Willow Creek Lounge presents live entertainment, including music and stand-up comedy, and fine dining is available at Seven Sisters.

exterior of Black Oak Casino
exterior of Black Oak Casino

interior of Black Oak Casino
interior of Black Oak Casino

bowling center at Black Oak Casino
bowling center at Black Oak Casino
 
prawn appetizer at Seven Sisters at Black Oak Casino
prawn appetizer at Seven Sisters at Black Oak Casino
Seven Sisters/ Black Oak Casino Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Hotel facilities are luxurious and upscale and surrounded by the natural beauty of fragrant pines.  A fully equipped 108-space RV park will be opening soon.

hotel reception at Black Oak Casino Resort
hotel reception at Black Oak Casino Resort
 
floral decoration at Black Oak Casino Resort
floral decoration at Black Oak Casino Resort


guest room at Black Oak Casino Resort
guest room at Black Oak Casino Resort

lamp table in guest room at Black Oak Casino Resort
lamp table in guest room at Black Oak Casino Resort

greeting frog in guest room at Black Oak Casino Resort
greeting frog in guest room at Black Oak Casino Resort

The annual Me-Wuk Indian Acorn Festival and inter-tribal pow wow is held on the second weekend in September at the Tuolumne Me-Wuk Indian Reservation.  Traditional dancers, a hand games tournament, and native arts and crafts are part of the fun, and food vendors cook up deep-pit barbecue and Indian tacos.  Shuttle service is provided from the casino. 

More things to do in Gold Rush Country.

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images ©2016 Carole Terwilliger Meyers   

Thursday, June 16, 2016

Highway 49--Gold Rush Country: Sonora, The Lighthouse Deli


The Lighthouse Deli  28 S. Washington St., (209) 532-1631.  M-Sat 11-3.  Featuring a lighthouse-themed decor--including lace curtains with a lighthouse motif—this sweet spot has table service and a large selection of sandwiches.  Popular items include housemade pulled pork topped with coleslaw (made even more delicious with an additional slap of barbecue sauce), a fried-shrimp po’ boy, and a southern muffeletta.  Not real hungry?  You can order just half a sandwich.  A variety of burgers, fish & chips, salads, and both housemade soups and chili round things out.  I especially liked the sides of Creole potato salad and crunchy fries.  

view to street from The Lighthouse Deli in Sonora, California
view to street from The Lighthouse Deli in Sonora, California

dining room at The Lighthouse Deli in Sonora, California
dining room at The Lighthouse Deli in Sonora, California

soup and pulled-pork sandwich at The Lighthouse Deli in Sonora, California
soup and pulled-pork sandwich at The Lighthouse Deli in Sonora, California

pulled-pork sandwich and potato salad at The Lighthouse Deli in Sonora, California
pulled-pork sandwich and potato salad at The Lighthouse Deli in Sonora, California
Lighthouse Deli & Ice Cream Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

More things to do in Sonora. 

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images ©2016 Carole Terwilliger Meyers  


Tuesday, June 14, 2016

Highway 49--Gold Rush Country: Sonora, Indigeny Reserve


Indigeny Reserve  14679 Summers Lane, 10 mi. from town, (209) 743-3208 (533-9463).  M-W 10am-4pm, Thur-Sun 10am-5pm.  Located a few miles from town, this ciderworks and distillery is on a rural 160-acre property planted with Tuolumne County’s oldest organic apple orchards (the reserve has more than 25,000 apple trees and 51-plus varieties).  A covered bridge that dates to the 1930s leads in to the parking lot. 
covered bridge at Indigeny Reserve in Sonora, California
covered bridge at Indigeny Reserve in Sonora, California

In the tasting room, sample small-batch hard ciders (my favorite was the blackberry), triple-distilled infused vodkas (don’t miss the apricot), and brandies.   
tasting room at Indigeny Reserve in Sonora, California
tasting room at Indigeny Reserve in Sonora, California

flavored vodka tasting at Indigeny Reserve in Sonora, California
flavored vodka tasting at Indigeny Reserve in Sonora, California

A free tour of the double copper-pot distillery takes you through the barrel room and informs about apple fermentation and more, and if you are here at the right time you can view the seasonal crush.   
distillery tour at Indigeny Reserve in Sonora, California
distillery tour at Indigeny Reserve in Sonora, California

Native American art at Indigeny Reserve in Sonora, California
Native American art at Indigeny Reserve in Sonora, California

The entire family is welcome to enjoy the self-guided trails, shaded picnic areas, and special events.  The only place you can buy this cider is in the he gift shop, which is also worth a browse for its artisan food offerings--locally produced honey, olive oil, nuts, cooking sauces—as well as locally made products that include tasteful handmade jewelry and paintings.  
gift shop items at Indigeny Reserve in Sonora, California
gift shop items at Indigeny Reserve in Sonora, California
More things to do in Gold Rush Country.

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images ©2016 Carole Terwilliger Meyers 

Friday, June 10, 2016

Highway 49--Gold Rush Country: Jamestown, Railtown 1897 State Historic Park

update/p.350

Railtown 1897 State Historic Park  Fifth St./Reservoir St., (209) 984-3953.  Park:  Daily 9:30-4:30, Apr-Oct; 10-3 Nov-Mar; free.  Train:  Sat-Sun 11-4, on the hr.; Apr-Sept only; $12, 6-17 $6; first class $20/$15.  Be sure to arrive early enough to watch the hubbub that surrounds preparing the train for departure.  The depot is full of excitement as the steam train rolls in and out, sounding its screaming whistle and belching a mix of fire, smoke, and steam.  The Sierra No. 3 steam engine pulls passengers at 5 m.p.h. on a 40-minute, 6-mile round trip.  Listen for the “toooot-toooot-toot-toooot” at railroad crossings, which I learned dates back to when this Morse code for “Q” was used in England to announce that the Queen was coming.  Special trips are sometimes scheduled.



interior of train at Railtown 1897 State Historic Park in Jamestown, California
interior of train at Railtown 1897 State Historic Park in Jamestown, California

interior of train at Railtown 1897 State Historic Park in Jamestown, California
interior of train at Railtown 1897 State Historic Park in Jamestown, California

A free tour is available of the six-stall roundhouse turntable and machine shop, where the trains are still serviced.  (This is one of only two remaining fully-operational original short-line roundhouse complexes in the U.S.)  Here you’ll see the Sierra Railway car, which was built in San Francisco and has probably been robbed more times in the movies than any other railcar in the world.

exterior of roundhouse at Railtown 1897 State Historic Park in Jamestown, California
exterior of roundhouse at Railtown 1897 State Historic Park in Jamestown, California

roundhouse tour at Railtown 1897 State Historic Park in Jamestown, California
roundhouse tour at Railtown 1897 State Historic Park in Jamestown, California

roundhouse tour at Railtown 1897 State Historic Park in Jamestown, California
roundhouse tour at Railtown 1897 State Historic Park in Jamestown, California

If it all looks familiar that could be because more than 200 TV shows and movies have been filmed here, including Bonanza, Little House on the Prairie, The Virginian, High Noon, and Pale Rider.  Hollywood use kept this railroad alive during the 1930s, and is credited in an exhibit displaying Hollywood-related memorabilia.  Note that most of the people who work at this park are not employees but instead enthusiastic volunteers who usually dress in period costume and are excited to educate you about the equipment.  

Hollywood exhibit at Railtown 1897 State Historic Park in Jamestown, California
Hollywood exhibit at Railtown 1897 State Historic Park in Jamestown, California

Ginger Dingus wears her engineer's hat with pins from prior train trips,  at Railtown 1897 State Historic Park in Jamestown, California
Ginger Dingus wears her engineer's hat with pins from prior train trips, at Railtown 1897 State Historic Park

More things to do in Jamestown.
   

More things to do in Gold Rush Country.

Travel articles to inspire and help you plan some spectacular getaways.

images ©2016 Carole Terwilliger Meyers