The History: Some 40 miles northwest of the entrance to Yosemite National Park is Tuolumne County, incorporated in 1850 as one of California’s original 27 counties. The courthouse, of course, played a key role in the development of this essential local government. Yet the original structure, built in 1853, became dilapidated in just a few decades. The “new” courthouse, designed in the Spanish Revival style and resembling the old missions of California, was completed in 1900; its foundation required 500 barrels of cement, 300 wagonloads of gravel, and 150 loads of sand. Other essential sites include the lobby of the Bradford Place Inn, an old-fashioned B&B built in 1889 as a private residence for a Wells Fargo agent; the Tuolumne County Museum, which formerly served as the jail, dating to 1866; and the Opera Hall.
Where to Play: Learn more about the area’s history at the Tuolumne County Museum; then live it by staying at the Bradford Place Inn. Dine a short walk away at Talulah’s, an Italian spot with a neighborhood feel. Golfers should head to Saddle Creek Golf Resort, one of the top courses in northern California. And of course you’ll want to sample some of the wineries tucked in the foothills, like Ironstone Vineyards.
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,...