Weekend Getaway: Sutter Creek, California

Downtown Sutter Creek
Downtown Sutter Creek.

Sutter Creek is a Gold Rush town nestled in middle of Amador County in northern California.

The town of Sutter Creek is adorable, the streets are lined with colorful 19th century buildings, many with precarious looking balconies. The town is so photogenic, I’m embarrassed that I don’t have a good photograph of the main street.

Matt and I initially came to the area after hearing recommendations from friends. What keeps us coming back is the proximity to tons of wineries – and it’s only a two-hour drive from Carson City where we live. I love the cute mining towns scattered around the county that each have their own unique charm and history. I love how you can spend a day bouncing around to all these places, and then park the car for the evening and walk to one of the many tasting rooms in town and then on to a great restaurant.

We like to stay at the Hanford House Inn. It’s a bit on the pricey side, but as a guest, you are served fresh scones (delivered to your door!) along with coffee first thing in the morning. Then, you get an amazing breakfast included at Element, the adjoining restaurant. They also offer a complementary glass of local red or white wine every evening.  Of course, the rooms are modern and impeccably clean. Can you go wrong here? No, you really can’t.

Hanford House Inn
Hanford House Inn
Waiting for breakfast at Element
Waiting for breakfast at Element

In Sutter Creek, we always like to stop by Hotel Sutter for a meal and Sutter Creek Provisions for picnic supplies… and a beer. There are always great beers on tap.

The balcony of Hotel Sutter
The balcony of Hotel Sutter
Hotel Sutter
Hotel Sutter
Sutter Creek Provisions
Sutter Creek Provisions
Sutter Creek Provisions
Sutter Creek Provisions
Sutter Creek Provisions
Sutter Creek Provisions
Sutter Creek Provisions

Can you tell that I like this place? I have even more pictures, but I’ll restrain myself from posting those too.

We’ve established that downtown Sutter Creek is as cute as a button. Even so, I don’t really have any pictures of the tasting rooms within walking distance. And I’m pretty sure Matt and I have been to each one over the years. I can tell you that we have not been disappointed, so you should also visit them all! Just not all in one day (or even in two days!).

We do more than just drink wine when we visit Sutter Creek. There are a lot of cool places to see in the area. Let’s start with Indian Grinding Rock State Historic Park in Pine Grove. It’s a small park, featuring huge slabs of stone with holes where the Northern Sierra Miwok pounded acorns, a major part of their diet, into meal. There are a couple of short trails to stretch your legs a bit too.

Indian Grinding Rock State Historic Park
Indian Grinding Rock State Historic Park
Indian Grinding Rock State Historic Park
Indian Grinding Rock State Historic Park
Indian Grinding Rock State Historic Park
Indian Grinding Rock State Historic Park

Next, we have the Kennedy Gold Mine, which offers guided and self guided tours. The Kennedy Mine was one of the deepest gold mines in the world. With its beginnings dating all the way back to 1860 and running until 1942, it’s an impressive site.

Kennedy Gold Mine
Kennedy Gold Mine
Kennedy Gold Mine
Kennedy Gold Mine
Kennedy Gold Mine
Kennedy Gold Mine
Kennedy Gold Mine
Kennedy Gold Mine
Kennedy Gold Mine
Kennedy Gold Mine

Here is one of the tailing wheels from the mine at Kennedy Tailing Wheels Park in Jackson. Can you see Matt?

Wheel 4 at Kennedy Tailing Wheels Park
Wheel 4 at Kennedy Tailing Wheels Park
This old mine entrance is also part of Kennedy Tailing Wheels Park

This next place is really cool… and super creepy. It’s called Preston Castle located in Ione. It was in operation in 1894 and was known as the Preston School of Industry. Basically, it was a place for wayward juvenile boys (including Waylon Jennings!) to learn a trade, and to be rehabilitated, as opposed to being sent to prison. The school closed in 1960 and was left vacant until 2001. You’ll have to take a tour to learn more about this place and its former wards. It’s now a historic landmark and the foundation is hoping to restore the building completely.

Preston Castle
Preston Castle
Preston Castle
Preston Castle
Preston Castle
Preston Castle
Preston Castle
Preston Castle
Preston Castle
Preston Castle
Preston Castle
Preston Castle

Isn’t that a gorgeous building? But so, so spooky inside!

Moving on to the main reason why we love Amador County… Wine! Every time we visit, I collect recommendations from friends. Sometimes we stop at those places, sometimes we stop at places that are conveniently located or have beautiful property. If the tasting room is quiet, we learn a lot about the wine. If it’s busy, we’ll just buy a glass and take it outside.

Sera Fina Cellars
Rancho Victoria Vineyard
Rancho Victoria Vineyard
Rancho Victoria Vineyard
Rancho Victoria Vineyard
Driven Cellars
Driven Cellars
Driven Cellars
Driven Cellars
Terra d' Oro Winery
Terra d’ Oro Winery

I could go on with these images, but I think you get the idea.

Have you been to Amador County? Where are your favorite places to eat, drink, play? Let me know in the comments!

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Related posts: Weekend Getaway: Nevada City, Weekend Getaway: Graeagle, Weekend Getaway: Mendocino

4 thoughts

  1. Live half an hour from Sutter Creek, and you know much more about this cute town than I do. It probably is because we moved here 5 years ago from Costa Mesa (Los Angeles), and the big city is still in our blood! Great post!Next time when you’re up to seeing some art, you are welcome to visit! Write my blog a week before, so I’ll be home when you come!
    My url http://thejeshstudio.wordpress.com

    Like

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