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Sutter Creek

Sutter Creek

Escape to a Gold Country town that’s the perfect blend of the old and the new

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Close your eyes and picture a classic Gold Country town and it will probably look a lot like Sutter Creek. Dubbed the “Jewel of the Motherlode,” Sutter Creek is famous for its historic Main Street, where filigreed balconies of 19th-century buildings that date to this town’s gold mining heyday cantilever out over the sidewalks.

It’s such an iconic street that Sunset magazine rhetorically asked its readers whether Sutter Creek had “the prettiest Main Street” they had ever seen. Take a walk around the heart of this Amador County town—with its tasting rooms, shops, and contemporary dining—and you’ll likely agree. Because the charms of Sutter Creek are indeed tough to beat.

Wine Tasting in Sutter Creek

With the nearby Amador County wine country producing renowned Zinfandel and other varietals, Sutter Creek has become a destination for wine lovers, thanks to the many tasting rooms along Main Street.

For a great introduction to the Sutter Creek wine scene, check out the tasting rooms that belong to the Wine on 49 collection. A Main Street mainstay and celebrated for its Zinfandel, Barbera, and Syrah, Scott Harvey Winery has been a leading Amador County winery for nearly 40 years. In a house from the 1860s with a lovely patio, Bella Grace Vineyards is where you can taste Zinfandels made from old-vine grapes and silky Mourvèdres.

Where to Eat in Sutter Creek

Where there’s great wine, there’s great food, and Sutter Creek is no exception to the rule. Helmed by executive chef KC Brown, Bistro49 blends flavors of the Caribbean and the American South with the freshest of produce from local farmers. The mushroom bourguignon incorporates its namesake ingredient from nearby Volcano, and don’t miss the Twisted Shrimp Gumbo, a house special.

At the Sutter Creek Cheese Shoppe, you’ll find 80 artisanal cheeses and specialty foods that are perfect for a wine country picnic. Main Street’s Chocolatte is the place for a terrific cup of coffee, fresh-baked goods, and irresistible hand-dipped pecan turtles. And Sutter Creek Provisions is a bit of everything: bottle shop, rootsy music venue, 13-tap beer bar, and foodie destination for its charcuterie boards and carnitas tortas.

Shopping in Sutter Creek

Sutter Creek isn’t just a culinary hub, it’s a shopping destination too. At Chaos Glassworks, you’ll find beautiful, luminous blown-glass bowls and vases by artists Dave and Heather Hopman. In a historic home on Main Street, The Antique Gardener is a browsers’ delight, with not only items for your yard but candles, soap, books, and children’s clothing. The gardens are absolutely lovely.

Where to Stay in Sutter Creek

While you could breeze into Sutter Creek for the day, give yourself time to savor all that the town offers by staying at one of its distinctive inns. Hotel Sutter is the grand dame of Main Street, and in a distinctive brick building and with cottages on the property, Hanford House Inn seamlessly melds Sutter Creek history with its contemporary vibe.

Explore Sutter Creek History

In the late 1840s, Sutter Creek was a modest settlement that supported area gold mining but grew into a prosperous town by the 1860s as eight quartz mines began operating near town. The Main Street visitors enjoy today developed during that booming era, and you can download a walking map and guide to 20 of Sutter Creek’s most notable landmarks.

Among them is the Knight Foundry, a national historic landmark and one of the country’s best-preserved 19th-century industrial facilities. Dating to 1873, the ironworks operation manufactured water wheels and hard-rock gold mining equipment, and was in business for a remarkable 123 years. Plan ahead because on the second Saturday of every month, the Knight Foundry opens to the public and fires up its blacksmithing forge. In addition to self-guided tours, private tours are available by appointment.

For a look at daily life in early Sutter Creek, on weekends you can visit the free Monteverde Store Museum, which opened in 1896 and was the business where local residents could pick up pretty much anything they needed: dry goods, clothing, and hardware. The Costco of its day. Or take a self-guiding driving tour of Amador County’s gold mining landmarks by following the 18-stop Gold Mine Trail.

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