You can learn a lot about a place from its name. This burgeoning town at the junction of Highways 49 and 50 started out as Dry Diggins, a nod to the old mining technique of using water to sift gold nuggets from dry soil. In 1849, a year after the discovery of gold in nearby Coloma sparked the Gold Rush, the settlement became known as Hangtown, a graphic reference to the Wild West justice that was meted out here.
In 1854, the town took on the more amiable name of Placerville, commemorating the gold placer deposits found in local river beds and hills. While it has long been a popular stop for travelers heading to Lake Tahoe’s south shore, it has even more appeal these days, with sophisticated shops like Dedrick’s, focusing on artisanal cheeses, tempting you to stay and browse a while, maybe even take your cheese selection and have a picnic on the grounds of historic Hangtown’s Gold Bug Mine.
Bumping up against the west side of the Sierra Nevada Range, on California’s eastern side, the Sierra foothills that make up the Gold Country are California Classics.
Discovery of gold in 1848 sparked the largest mass migration in U.S. history, with more than 300,000 pioneers heading west.
Here, the state’s past, present, and future merge into one unforgettable destination. Pan for gold like a 49er, bike through meadow-and-oak countryside, and raft a rapid-filled river, then explore historic towns with Old West architecture and a new generation of pioneers, opening up outstanding wineries, farm-to-table restaurants, inviting shops, and charming B&Bs.
Pluck a bit of gold from a riverbed scoured by the original ’49ers. Descend deep into the earth to check out unusual rock formations. Get your heart racing with a ride down whitewater rapids. For...
Elegant estates at the end of country roads lined with vineyards? Check. Low-key wineries housed in converted barns? Check again. Urban wine trails with hip in-town tasting rooms? Yup,...