Dare I say that this beautiful historic hotel in the community of Dutch Flat is undiscovered? Yes, I have to tell you about it. Someone shared it with me. It's only fair to share with you. Dutch Flat is not on a well traveled road as are many of the gold rush towns on Hwy 49.
I wandered into Dutch Flat on a bicycle ride. The route was chosen because it kept us on roads with little to no traffic, and took us to a seldom visited part of the Bear River. We had been riding amidst the tall pines for about an hour, seeing just a house here and there. Then we descended through a forest that grew more lush and came out onto a flat where this small community is located. We rode past the church, the community hall, then up a hill to main street. There it was, the Dutch Flat Hotel, looking pretty much like it did when it was just finished being built in the mid-1800's. The interior of the hotel has the look that it must have had when it's first guests arrived. We saw that the following week the hotel was featuring a "Night in Napoli." I made a reservation for my wife and I to attend the dinner.
The following Saturday we drove up from Grass Valley, about a 30 minute drive. When we arrived, 30 minutes before the official start time, hundreds of people had already gathered in the park like setting behind the hotel. My wife and I were lucky enough to find a table for two. We didn't have tickets, hadn't paid. I asked the bartender how we were to pay. She had no idea, but thought that an announcement would be made. 10 minutes later, Sus, one of the owners took the stage. She told the audience that each table had a big wine glass on it. "Just put your money, checks, in it," she said. Amazing!
An Italian dinner was served. In the twilight of this evening, the band took it's place on the stage. They began to play. We could hear singing, but didn't see a singer on stage. Then, he strolled past our table and walked onto the stage. For the next hour we listened to great Italian songs, sung, of course, in Italian.
With a full moon peeking between the trees, Sus took the stage. She and the singer began to sing pieces from Puccini. Tears of joy began to stream down our cheeks as the music of these beautiful voices penetrated our souls.