Amgen Tour of California promotes Nevada City

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Nevada City, a host city for the 2015 Tour of California bike race, is being promoted by Amgen, the race’s sponsor:

Route Information: May 11, 2015 – Stage 2 Start

Nevada City, California’s best preserved Gold Rush town, has a lot to offer far beyond this well-deserved distinction. Nestled in a basin on the Western Slope of the Sierra Nevada, it is framed and protected by ridgetops and promontories. At 2,500 feet above sea level, Nevada City is surrounded by forest. Deer Creek flows through and graces the center of town. Whenever you begin your descent into Nevada City, you can sense that you are approaching something good.

For thousands of years Nevada City and its environs were inhabited by the indigenous Nisenan. It was first settled by outside influences from the Gold Rush in 1849. At times it was referred to as “Nevada” and at others as “Nevada City.” Eventually the word “City” was permanently added to avoid confusion with her neighbor, the state of Nevada.

Steeped in history, this full-service city of 3,000 people has seen its ups and downs. With the diminution of gold mining and timber harvesting, plus the slice that the Golden State Freeway took out of the core of the city in the 1960s, city leaders looked to historic preservation as the path into the future. Creating its own historical district in 1968 has led to a slow but steady increase in visitors and vitality as well as designation on the National Register of Historic Places.

Today Nevada City once again has significant economic, cultural and social substance. It is the county seat, headquarters of the Tahoe National Forest, and site of businesses such as Robinson Enterprises, Inc., Telestream, Grass Valley Group, and 2Wire’s design facility. Fine restaurants, bars, overnight accommodations, two wineries, a Railroad Museum, Firehouse Museum, the Miners Foundry Cultural Center and the Nevada Theatre are noteworthy, alive and well.

The Nevada City Film Festival and the South Yuba River Citizens League’s (SYRCL’s) Wild and Scenic Environmental Film Festival call it home, along with a bevy of environmental and nonprofit groups that are headquartered here. KVMR community radio is in its 31st year and has increased its budget, reach and popularity dramatically over time. NCTV, a fledgling television station covering local government and community items of relevance, is spreading its wings as well.

The Nevada City School District serves 1,300 students, grades K-8 at 3 locations. Student test scores are among the highest in the state. The teachers are dedicated, qualified and solidly backed by parents committed to their children’s education. Down the road is Nevada Union High School, an award-winning and noted for its academic and vocational excellence. Adjacent to Nevada Union is the Nevada County branch of Sierra College, part the California community college system.

Nevada County operates the Madelyn Helling County Library, the Doris Foley Library for Historical Research and the Nevada County Historical Society hosts the Searls Historical Library.

Long-time residents and newcomers together represent a wide spectrum of interests and perspectives. Their city’s small-town qualities, character and sense of community are clear. As someone once said, beyond all the wonderful things in and all around Nevada City, the best part is that “there is still a ‘there’ here.”

To view the article, click here.

(Source: Amgen Tour of California)

Big News: Nevada City to host 2015 Amgen Tour

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This is big news! Nevada City is a host city for the men’s race, and South Lake Tahoe is a host city for the women’s race. The race begins in Sacramento.

The Amgen Tour of California, presented by AEG, announced it will make its grand return to Sacramento, the capital of California, to kick off the 10th anniversary of America’s largest cycling race. The eight day stage race will travel a north-to-south route and span nearly 700 miles through many of California’s most breathtaking roads and sceneries. The Amgen Tour of California is also proud to announce a first of its kind, three-day professional women’s cycling race on May 8-10, 2015, as well as an invitational Time Trial on May 15, 2015.

Regarded as the largest and most prestigious cycling event in America, 52 California cities have hosted the race throughout the past nine editions. For the 10th anniversary, the start of the 2015 Amgen Tour of California will take place in Sacramento, the state’s capital, and travel through 12 additional host cities during the eight day event including Nevada City, Lodi (first-time host city), San Jose (ten-time host city), Pismo Beach, Avila Beach, Santa Barbara, Santa Clarita, Big Bear Lake, Ontario, Mt. Baldy, L.A. LIVE (Downtown Los Angeles) and Pasadena.

“Since we launched the Amgen Tour of California nine years ago, we have strived to host the world’s top cyclists in a race that will not only challenge them as professionals, but will also provide a stunning backdrop,” said Kristin Bachochin, executive director of the Amgen Tour of California and senior vice president of AEG Sports. “As we look ahead to our 10th edition of the race, we’re certain the worldwide audience will be on the edge of their seats watching as the sport’s best men and women cyclists compete against each other in what is likely to be our most challenging and picturesque course ever.”

Stage 1 of the race commences on May 10, 2015 in the state’s capital of Sacramento, which marks the seventh time the city has hosted the race and the third time as the overall start. After eight days of racing, cyclists will conclude the race in the city referred to fondly as the “City of Roses,” Pasadena.

Nevada City is stage 2

Stage 2 of the race will find the peloton traveling through historic Nevada City to first-time host city Lodi, known as the “Zinfandel Capital of the World.” Stage 3 will see the cyclists start and finish in the only city to have participated in all 10 editions of the race, San Jose.

As the peloton continues its journey south, Stage 4 will take the race from one ocean side community to another when the peloton traverses from Pismo Beach to Avila Beach. This year marks the second time each city has served as a host city.

Stage 5 of the race will commence in the “American Riviera” known as Santa Barbara, where cyclists will have the chance to take in picturesque views of the California coast and Pacific Ocean. From Santa Barbara, cyclists will land in Santa Clarita, with both cities sharing the distinction of serving as host cities six times since the race began.

Third-time host city Big Bear Lake will host this year’s Individual Time Trial (Stage 6), where cyclists will compete against the clock while taking in stunning mountain and lake views. During Stage 7, Ontario, referred to as the “Gateway to Southern California,” will host cyclists for the second time as they make their way to a mountain top finish at Mt. Baldy, a third-time host city.

As the race draws to a conclusion, the peloton will travel from L.A. LIVE in the heart of Downtown Los Angeles to the Rose Bowl in Pasadena. This marks the third time Los Angeles has served as a host city after hosting the overall finish of the race in 2012, also at L.A. LIVE. Pasadena has hosted the race four times, including the overall finish in 2008.

For ten consecutive years, biotechnology company Amgen has served as the title sponsor of the race and will continue to activate Breakaway from Cancer® leading up to and during the race. Founded in 2005 by Amgen, Breakaway from Cancer aims to increase awareness of important resource available to people affected by cancer, from prevention to survivorship.
The Amgen Tour of California draws global recognition as one of the most anticipated cycling events of the year attracting Olympic medalists, World Champions and top Tour de France competitors.


To highlight the extraordinary achievements in women’s cycling, the 2015 Amgen Tour of California will continue to expand its support of women’s cycling and host a first of its kind three-day women’s cycling stage race. The women’s race will travel through South Lake Tahoe on May 8-9, 2015 and conclude in Sacramento on May 10, 2015, the same day of the overall start of the men’s race.

As with previous years, the world’s top-ranked time trialists will be invited to race against the clock during an invitational Time Trial preceding the men’s Individual Time Trial at Stage 6 in Big Bear Lake. Powered by SRAM, one of the founding sponsors of the Amgen Tour of California Women’s Time Trial, the women’s cycling event serves as a chance for female cyclists to display the powerful and exciting racing they are known for around the world.

“We are beyond thrilled to see the Amgen Tour of California continue to expand its entire women’s racing platform. This will continue to expose the world to the passion and force women have on the bike,” said, SRAM President Stan Day.

“AEG has always been proud to support women’s cycling and is pleased to once again expand its women’s competition to four days,” said Bachochin. “Hosting four days of women’s cycling, fans will have the opportunity to watch the immense talents and achievements of the best women cyclists from around the world.”

The Host City partners for the 2015 Amgen Tour of California include:

Women’s Race:

Stage 1: Friday, May 8 – South Lake Tahoe
Stage 2: Saturday, May 9 – South Lake Tahoe
Stage 3: Sunday, May 10 – Sacramento

Invitational Time Trial: Friday, May 15 – Big Bear Lake

Men’s Race:

Stage 1: Sunday, May 10 – Sacramento
Stage 2: Monday, May 11 – Nevada City to Lodi
Stage 3: Tuesday, May 12 – San Jose
Stage 4: Wednesday, May 13 – Pismo Beach to Avila Beach
Stage 5: Thursday, May 14 – Santa Barbara to Santa Clarita
Stage 6: Friday, May 15 – Big Bear Lake (Individual Time Trial)
Stage 7: Saturday, May 16 – Ontario to Mt. Baldy
Stage 8: Sunday, May 17 – L.A. LIVE (Downtown Los Angeles) to Pasadena

For further information on the 2015 Amgen Tour of California, visit

(Source: Amgen Tour of California and

New disc golf mobile map available

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A cool, new disc golf mobile map is now available for Condon Park’s disc golf course. You can download the app by scanning the QR code or, type in (the hyperlink is case sensitive) to be taken to the site directly from your laptop. The map was created by Nevada County Geographic Information Systems intern Daniel Kitowski. The app enables players to see a map of the course, plot their current location, then see distance and obstacles to the next hole.

Read more about the boom in disc golf in Nevada County here.

(Map: Nevada County Geographic Information Systems)

Thrillist names Grass Valley as one of their top 9 Under-the-Radar road trips

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“For the next time you step in some sidewalk poop and think to yourself, “Man, I could really use nine under-the-radar road trip options that are within driving distance of SF right about now”, here are exactly those — all “under-the-radar”, because the last thing you want to do is drive a few hours and then bump into everyone you’ve ever met as soon as you get out of the car (looking at you, Napa and Tahoe),” writes Thrillist last week.

“Grass Valley, CA
Distance from San Francisco: 143 miles; 2.5-hour drive
Why: It’s a little taste of what it might have been like in the wild, wild west. But without the gun fights. Three things to do while you’re there:

“1. Eat at The Willo, a roadhouse 15 minutes out of town where you can cook your own steak on the grill in the dining room. Or they’ll cook it for you, if you’re too fancy for that (which you’re not, right?).

“2. Check out Empire Mine, the site of the oldest, largest, and richest gold mine in California. Pack a picnic and pour one out for the 44 mules who spent their lives deep in the mines, pulling ore cars and never seeing the light of day.

“3. Stay at The Holbrooke, whose guest book was signed by Benjamin Harrison and Grover Cleveland (they were both presidents, in case you failed US history) and whose saloon downstairs is said to be the oldest continuously operating saloon west of the Mississippi (yup, they were even open during Prohibition).”

To read the rest of the article, click here.

(photo: Larry Myhre)

Bierwagen’s Farm 24th Annual Pumpkin Patch & Harvest Festival

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The 24th annual Bierwagen’s Farm Pumpkin Patch & Harvest Festival is happening everyday in October, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Enjoy a huge pumpkin patch with tons of pumpkins just waiting to be picked. Many pumpkins are still attached to the vine they grew on, allowing you to enjoy the full pumpkin-picking experience. There are plenty of pumpkins that have already been picked if you prefer not to walk to the patch. Also available is a large selection of specialty pumpkins, squash and gourds. And we can’t forget the mini pumpkins and colorful Indian corn.

Fresh apples are a fall must, and Bierwagen’s has plenty of apples for you to choose from. You will find many varieties that are familiar and some that you might not have tasted before. Think about taking home a half box. Bierwagen’s Farm presses cider once a week and it is available for the month of October. Cider is fresh, unfiltered, not sweetened and not pasteurized. Don’t forget to pick up an extra gallon to put in the freezer for later in the year as well as a package of mulling spices to make hot spiced cider for chilly fall nights.

In case you get hungry after picking out your pumpkin, you can enjoy anything from a grilled hamburger to a salad, with lots of options in between. There are plenty of sweet treats too: caramel apples, pumpkin cupcakes, and apple cookies just to name a few. Don’t miss their popular apple fritter nuggets – many customers come to the pumpkin patch just for a fresh order of nuggets. Or take home a fresh-baked pie to enjoy with your apples cider.

If you are bringing kiddos to the farm, there are lots of fun activities in store for them. In the Children’s Play Area there are the straw-bale horses, the corn (think sand) box, pumpkin bowling, pumpkin ring toss and more. There is also a nature/farm scavenger hunt that will take you on an adventurous tour of the farm. Kids of all ages (adults included) will love to visit with all of the farm animals and take advantage of several beautiful photo opportunities – its the perfect time to take a picture for the family Christmas card!

To learn more and get directions to Bierwagen’s Farm, visit their

Nevada County Tourism hosts Bay Area travel writers

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This past weekend, the Nevada County Tourism team headed by Lani Lott hosted six Bay Area travel writers and introduced them to some of our county’s unique features and attractions. The group of writers enjoyed an itinerary that began with a welcome reception at the Holiday Inn Express and Suites (where they stayed during their visit) and met with representatives from many tourism related sectors in the community.

Some of the attendees at the reception included Julie Baker with The Center for the Arts, Jon Blinder representing the Nevada County Arts, artist Roseanne Burke, Melinda Booth with SYRCL representing outdoor recreation, Larry Skinner representing Empire Mine State Historic Park Association, Steve Rosenthal representing the Grass Valley Downtown Association and Lisa Swarthout representing the Nevada County Economic Resource Council.

Later that evening, the group was treated to a “farm to table” dining experience at Tess’ Kitchen Store by culinary expert Alan Tangren. The next morning they were off on a Fall Colors tour of western Nevada County and sampled wine at Pilot Peak Winery. The afternoon included a docent led tour of the Empire Mine State Historic Park, followed by a dinner of wood-fired pizza and craft beer at Three Forks Bakery & Brewing.

Sunday they enjoyed a personal tour of The Center for the Arts and viewed art by many of the artists participating in the Fall Colors Open Studios & Art Tour that is on display at The Center.

Metropolitan Opera live in HD at Del Oro Theatre

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This weekend catch the Metropolitan Opera “live” in HD at the Del Oro Theatre thanks to a partnership with InConcert Sierra, Music in the Mountains and Sierra Cinemas.

Experience the ninth season of the Metropolitan Opera’s Peabody and Emmy Award-winning series The Met: Live in HD in select cinemas nationwide. The broadcast of Mozart’s Le Nozze di Figaro will be presented live on Saturday, October 18 at 9:55 a.m.

Music Director James Levine conducts a spirited new production of Mozart’s masterpiece, directed by Richard Eyre, who sets the action of this classic domestic comedy during the gilded age of the late 1920s. Dashing bass-baritone Ildar Abdrazakov leads the cast in the title role of the clever servant, opposite Marlis Petersen as his bride, Susanna, with Peter Mattei as the philandering Count they work for, Marina Poplavskaya as the long-suffering Countess, and Isabel Leonard as the libidinous pageboy, Cherubino.

Purchase your tickets here.

Legendary County Folk Singer Iris DeMent

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On Thursday, October 23rd, Iris DeMent, one of the great voices in contemporary popular music, returns to the Miners Foundry Cultural Center, performing songs that span her twenty-two year career along with songs from from her most recent album Sing the Delta, a masterpiece sixteen years in the making. DeMent’s legendary voice sounds as if it comes from the previous century, but her songwriting has as much in common with Joni Mitchell as Hank Williams. This is one of only three California performances that also includes shows in Napa and Berkeley. Supporting DeMent on this tour is Pieta Brown, daughter of legendary troubadour Greg Brown.

The Grammy-award nominee is best known for her one of a kind voice that is “capable of both heartbreaking fragility and blow-your-ears-back-power”. DeMent was born in Paragould, Arkansas, the last of fourteen children in her family. Her parents were farmers, but after hitting hard times in 1964, they sold the farm and moved west to California. DeMent’s parents passed on to her their love of music: Her mom sang around the house and at church, and as a young man, her dad had played fiddle at dances around Arkansas. For a family that saw its share of hard times, music was a necessity of life, not just a pastime. Her older sisters formed a gospel group called The DeMent Sisters and eventually recorded an album. She grew up listening to traditional country and gospel music, which influenced her roots-folk sound, though she was twenty-five years old when she wrote her first song. While living in Kansas City, she taught herself to play the guitar. Her songs drew directly upon her own life and the people within it. Eventually, DeMent moved to Nashville, where her performances led to a recording contract.

Since her 1992 debut, DeMent has bloomed as a songwriter, finding her niche in folk and country, putting out four albums and performing with greats such as John Prine, Steve Earle, Emmylou Harris, and Merle Haggard. Haggard, who said of DeMent, “She’s the best singer I’ve ever heard,” invited her to sit in as his piano player touring with his legendary band The Strangers. He subsequently covered two of her songs “No Time To Cry” and the gospel-tinged “The Shores of Jordan.”

Along the way, several of DeMent’s songs became cultural touchstones. “Let The Mystery Be” found its way to MTV Unplugged as a duet by David Byrne and Natalie Merchant. “Our Town” was played over the farewell scene in the series finale of Northern Exposure. She has also made frequent appearances on Garrison Keillor’s radio show A Prairie Home Companion. Her album of gospel songs, “Lifeline”, which included her rendition of “Leaning on the Everlasting Arms” was later used in the closing credits of the Coen brothers’ film True Grit.

This rare performance is a family affair. Opening the show is her step-daughter Pieta Brown. Brown grew up in rural Iowa and Alabama and was exposed to traditional and rural folk music through her father. With a voice reviewers alternately describe as “rich,” “dark” and “dreamy,” and a musical style that ranges from haunting to rocking, Brown has released six critically acclaimed albums.

“When Pieta sings you’re aware of something effortless and natural, like rain on earth,” Mark Knopfler observed, while Don Was called her “a great singer-songwriter who possesses major star-power magnetism,” and DeMent described her as “the best poet I’ve heard in a long damn time.”

Brown is no stranger to superstar collaborations. She’s toured with Knopfler and shared the stage with John Prine, Brandi Carlisle, JJ Cale, Emmylou Harris and Amos Lee, just to name a few.

Her latest album, Paradise Outlaw (Red House), is Brown’s most emotionally resonant compositions, and some of her most expressive performances, to date. It was recorded at Bon Iver mastermind Justin Vernon’s April Base studio in Wisconsin, with a supporting cast that includes Vernon, Amos Lee, David Mansfield and her father.

“Paradise Outlaw came from a radically different place. I was thinking a lot about freedom, experimentation, poetry, folk songs, bending forms and voices. I also wrote and delivered half the songs on the banjo, which was completely new for me,” says Brown.

As Pieta puts it in the album’s dedication, “In the preface to a super cool book of photographs of the Beats called Paradise Outlaws, John Tytell says it well: ‘The notion of paradise may be one of our ultimate fictions, but it still motivates action in the world. While the way the Beats saw the world made them outlaws, they also shared a view of art that was unelitist, anti-hierarchical, egalitarian.’ That makes a lot of sense to me. I feel like my songs come from the same beat streets and off-kilter countrysides, and the same worlds where peace, love and freedom will always be worth exploring. So to all my fellow paradise outlaws, thank you for the hopeful illusions, the grit, the grace and above all, the songs and music that carry me through.”

Tickets are available online at, by phone (530) 265-5040, or in person at the Miners Foundry and at BriarPatch Co-Op.

Bridgeport’s Fall Festival on Sunday, October 26

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Sunday, October 26 is the Bridgeport Fall Festival at the South Yuba River State Park. There’ll be plenty of fun from hayrides and barn tours to blacksmithing and children’s games. Food and drinks will be available. This is a free event (parking $5) from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m.

To learn more about this festival, visit South Yuba State Park Association.

Sacramento Bee writes about Bridgeport Covered Bridge

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“The historic Bridgeport Covered Bridge on the South Yuba River is about to be fitted for a life-saving girdle.

“Crews last week were pouring foundations for what state parks officials describe as a steel girdle support system, to be constructed in the next three months, that will hold the 152-year-old bridge in place until a major rehabilitation project can get underway, possibly next year.

“The steel reinforcement system may be coming just in time. Bridge advocates at South Yuba River State Park in Nevada County say they fear the truss-and-arch bridge with the sugar pine shingles could collapse this winter if there’s significant snowfall or high water flow.

“The 229-foot-long bridge is the longest single-span, wood-covered bridge remaining in the United States, and perhaps the world. It draws thousands of fans of old bridges from around the world each year,” writes the Sacramento Bee in today’s Sunday edition.

To read the full article, click here.

(Source: Sacramento Bee, photos: Randy Pench)