First rule. Never not take advantage of a holiday.
Second rule. Realize that holiday traffic will be horrid. So opt instead for a mini moto trip! Pack light, and travel fast!
We take our Labor Day weekend about 150 miles east of our hometown San Francisco to the historic mining town, Nevada City. It’s not close to Las Vegas, so no, friends, I will not meet you at Bellagio. And no, it’s not even in Nevada. As a matter of fact, Nevada City, California’s best preserved Gold Rush town, was settled since 1849 even before the establishment of the state of Nevada in 1864.
Nestled against the beautiful backdrop of the Sierra Nevada at 2,500 feet above sea level, Nevada City is an incredibly quaint town with a surprisingly charming nightlife. Lights adorn buildings, music float along the streets, and posts give homage to the city’s rich history with signs of “The Fur Traders,” “Transcript Printing Office 1862,” and “Crazy Horse Inn.”
Nevada City’s Must Not Miss
The Golden Era for a Nightcap – Hot off the press, The Golden Era is the perfect way to extend your evening. The Golden Era has only been open for less than a year (November, 2015), but you’ll find here all your heart’s desire in this classy but warm local establishment with all the feels of a townhall hospitality. This place comes with a live band and a saxophonist who will blow your mind working deux saxes, craft cocktails that maintain the spirit of the Prohibition era (pun intended), and more importantly, the opportunity to sit at the mid-1890s front bar that has been in the exact same location since 1904.
Crazy Horse Saloon & Grill to Grub Some More After Dinner – Located just about a block from the border of what used to be Chinatown, The Crazy Horse Saloon is another oldie, but goodie. Its building has been around since the Civil War era, and still carries its transcendent reputation of ruggedness, even through several trend changes from being that of a tavern to a biker bar to now a sports bar. Don’t expect speedy service. This place intends for you to sit and enjoy the live music. But do expect pleasantly on point bar food that really hits the spot!
Ike’s Quarter Café for Brunch – Even if you didn’t know that all the food prepared is made from scratch, organic and farm-sourced locally with a focus on sustainability, and that the cuisine was that of the comfort creole persuasion, you would still be compelled to come through that adorable white picket fence adorned with vines of fall colored leaves to sit beneath the cherished cherry tree and bask in that southern comfort hospitality. I highly recommend the Eggs St. Charles, which are topped with poached eggs, sautéed trout with padron peppers, roasted corn butter and spices, creamed spinach and creole hollandaise on top of grits. And more importantly, the CORNBREAD!
The Nevada Theatre for Bragging Rights – How many people can say they’ve been to the oldest existing theatre building on the west coast that continues to operate as a theatre? Opened in 1865, it just recently celebrated its 150 years while still exhibiting live theatre productions as well as films today.
Jump on a Running Train at the Nevada County Narrow Gauge Railroad Museum – Just kidding. You can’t do that. But you actually can board a completely restored historic Railbus 97. It’s a 30-minute trip through the Inn Town Campground, to the Northern Queen Inn, pass the ruins of the New Mohawk Mine along Gold Run Creek, and goes alongside the original roadbed of the Nevada County Narrow Gauge Railroad (1876-1942). You will get to hear some very interesting history and facts about the construction and mechanics of the railroads by very knowledgeable, passionate, and charming retirees. And all this… for FREE! However, donations are encouraged. All contributions go directly to the restoration costs, of which none are given to the workers (all elderly) who are working purely on a volunteer basis. So don’t be a jerk. Donate.
Vacation Days Taken: Zero!
This charming little mining town can be done in a weekend. No vacation days warranted! But, with a three day weekend, we make our trip even more worthwhile by hitting up South Yuba River. Stay tuned for posting on this part of the mini-moto road trip!