Frommer'sFrommer's

    Day Itinerary

    7 Activities
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    Day 2

    73 mi

    Exploring the Sierra Foothills, From Gold Rush to Grapes

    While this region was initially built on gold, its importance as a wine-producing area is increasing. After stopping at the site that was Gold Rush ground zero, enjoy tastings at popular Gold Country wineries near Placerville and in the Shenandoah Valley wine region. Dig into hearty, downhome barbecue in El Dorado, then cross the street for elegant wine-and-chocolate pairings before a sophisticated dinner and bedding down in a Gold Rush-era Victorian hotel.
    Photo credit: Courtesy of Amador Cellars
    19.6 mi40 min
    Marshall Gold Discovery State Historic Park
    09:002 hrs

    Marshall Gold Discovery State Historic Park

    Historic Site
    Open Details
    On Highway 49, between Auburn and Placerville, the town of Coloma is so small and unpretentious that it’s hard to imagine the significant role it played in the rapid development of California and the West. It was here that James Marshall first discovered there was gold aplenty in the foothills of California. Over the next 50 years, 125 million ounces of gold were taken from the Sierra foothills, an amount worth a staggering $50 billion today.
    Coloma was quickly mined out, but its boom brought 10,000 people to the settlement and lasted long enough for residents to build a schoolhouse, a gunsmith, a general store, and a tin-roofed post office. About 70% of this quiet, pretty town lies in the Marshall Gold Discovery State Historic Park, and includes a replica of the mill Marshall was building when he made his discovery. Also in town: some remaining vestiges of a once-sizable Chinese community and a park with trails and recreational gold panning.
    10.7 mi25 min
    Boeger Winery
    11:251 hr

    Boeger Winery

    Winery
    Open Details
    First settled in 1849, this elaborate estate was among the earliest homesteads in the area and, eventually, became one of the first commercial wineries in what is now the El Dorado wine region. There are a variety of ways to taste the wines at Boeger, including in the elegant tasting room or outdoors for a guided or self-guided tasting. Happily, none of these tastings are overly pricey, and the wine is quite good. Reservations are required for guided tastings.
    8.3 mi15 min
    Poor Red's Bar-B-Q
    12:401 hr 30 min

    Poor Red's Bar-B-Q

    BBQ Joint
    Open Details
    Poor Red's is a local institution with a Wild West vibe and a mouthwatering menu of smoked and grilled meats, all housed in what was once a weigh station for Wells Fargo. The menu includes pub-grub appetizers, salads, and steaks, but the kitchen's specialties are tri-tips, racks of ribs, and anything that can be stuffed with pulled pork.
    0.1 mi5 min
    Annabelle's Chocolate Lounge
    14:1515 min

    Annabelle's Chocolate Lounge

    Dessert Shop
    Open Details
    Across the street from Poor Red's stands this spacious, but cozy shop with a sprawling display case stocked with an impressive variety of high-end, homemade chocolates and other delights. The staff is adept at matching customers' tastes with the right treat. Flights of wine-and-chocolate pairings are available, too.
    18.4 mi25 min
    Amador Cellars
    15:201 hr 30 min

    Amador Cellars

    Winery
    Open Details
    This small, family-owned and -operated winery was started in 2004 and is emblematic of the type of vineyards and wineries that are thriving in the growing Shenandoah Valley wine region of Amador County. The winery is known primarily for its hearty, award-winning reds, including zinfandel, barbera, and Sangiovese.
    4 mi10 min
    Taste Restaurant and Wine Bar
    17:001 hr 30 min

    Taste Restaurant and Wine Bar

    Restaurant
    Open Details
    One of the region's top restaurants for special occasions, Taste wows diners with its gracious service, pretty setting, and inventive cuisine. The restaurant offers three- and five-course prix fixe menus, as well as an extensive list of upscale cocktails and wines by the bottle or the glass. The place is locally famous for its "mushroom cigars" (mushrooms wrapped in phyllo dough) and its lamb dishes.
    12.3 mi20 min
    19:0013 hrs

    The National Hotel

    Lodging
    Open Details
    This Old West property started as a general store and then became a hotel that burned and was eventually rebuilt around the time of the Civil War. Since then, the National has been through many renovations, most with the aim of keeping the Victorian-era architecture and vibe while also providing modern luxuries. The National sits at the end of Main Street, an easily strolled downtown drag lined with impressive, rustic Victorian buildings.
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    Frommer's

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