When Nevada County natives Jeff Rogers and Aurelia d’Andrea moved back to Nevada City after nearly three decades of big-city living, they weren’t sure how they would adapt to small-town life.
“We really wanted to be able to make a difference in this community by sharing our skills and talents,” says Rogers, “but we weren’t sure if Nevada City needed what we had to offer.”
Rogers—a longtime bicycle-industry professional—had been working for a popular bike-tour company in Paris, France before his return to Nevada City, and soon found a place to put his passion for cycling to work, volunteering as a assistant coach on the Nevada Union Mountain Biking Team. Wife d’Andrea, who wrote travel guidebooks and worked as an editor for a vegan lifestyle magazine, found her niche teaching vegan food workshops at the Briarpatch Community Co-op Cooking School and Sierra College.
In 2017, exactly a year after their move back, the pair organized the Nevada City Vegan Food + Wine Festival to merge their love of plant-based food and local wine, and were overwhelmed by the positive community response. “Hundreds and hundreds of people came to the event, many from as far away as the Bay Area,” says d’Andrea. “That got us thinking that Nevada City could use more vegan events with a focus on food, wine, and local tourism. That’s how the idea for Vegan Epicure Travel was born.”
Collaborating with local vintners , farmers, animal-rescue organizations, and artisans, Rogers and d’Andrea have built a handful of itineraries to shine a spotlight on some of Nevada County’s treasures, and continuously work to develop others. “We’re surprised, for example, at how few people we talk to have heard about Animal Place, a farmed-animal sanctuary in Grass Valley,” says d’Andrea. “And the local wine-making culture is really extraordinary. More people should know about all these exciting local resources.”
Other local tours include guided bike excursions to a local vineyard for bespoke wine- and cheese-tasting experiences, and vegan food tours of Nevada City.
“We’re excited to be able to fill a niche with this new enterprise,” says d’Andrea. “And we really look forward to sharing some of our favorite local destinations with out-of-towners and locals alike.”
Learn more about Vegan Epicure Travel and the local tours on offer at veganepicuretravel.com.
Content submitted by Aurelia d’Andrea