Back from a short 4 day trip to Gold Country - We had a tremendous time!
Weather was gorgeous, it even cooled down for us a bit the beginning of the week. No smoke in the air the whole time we were there .. yahoo!!
We stayed at the Worldmark - Angels Camp resort. Loved the location and the concierge staff there were marvelous.
Day 1 - We checked out Columbia State park. The kids loved riding the stagecoach, panning for gold, and especially the shaved ice sasparilla drinks. We drove to Sonora and had dinner at the Diamondback Grille - fantastic hamburgers .. but the portions were HUMONGOUS!! Waaaay too much food for me .. But I would go back in a heartbeat (grin)
Day 2 - We went cave exploring - California Caverns. We took the shortest tour (since we were travelling with 8 year olds wearing flip flops LOL) and everyone was more than impressed with the incredible caverns we toured. We are already planning another trip (this time with hiking boots and long pants) where we will explore more of the caverns. I want to raft across the subterranean lake! We had a late lunch in Murphy's at the Sun Cafe - Chinese food. Everything, from the potstickers to the fried rice was fresh and made from scratch. It was surprisingly inexpensive, and it was the only time both 8 year olds cleaned their entire plates! After lunch, the girls played in the park, our oldest daughter (20) graciously offered to stay with them while we popped into a few tasting rooms along Murphy's main street. Twisted Oak was a hoot.
Day 3 - We went hiking in Big Trees, the smaller 1.5 mile hike. It was short, and just enough to keep everyone happy and blister free. The hike is very easy, flat, and shady. And the trees are awesome. From there we explored the river a bit, and just wandered around most of the day just seeing what there was to see. We had dinner at Alchemy in Murphy's and it was wonderful. I had tortilla soup - spicy and fresh .. soooo good!
Day 4 - time to head home, we drove in on I4 (egads .. steep and windy - but so beautiful) We drove home on HWY 49 and stopped at Sutters Mine for a tour. Our guide was a lot of fun and very knowledgeable about the history and business of mining. The hour flew by. We ate at the Buffalo Chip in Sutters Mill, and had some of the best homemade pies out there.
It was a great trip - can't wait to come back and hit Yosemite and some of the great hiking around the beautiful areas we saw this trip!