Category Archives: Events & Happenings

“Exploring California’s Gold Country: Nevada City”

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Bay Area travel writer Susan Alcorn published another article about her recent trip to Nevada County that is published on

“On a recent trip to the gold country, we “leaf peekers” hoped to see Nevada City at the height of its fall color. Nature being what she is, we were early in the season, but nevertheless, we found much to photograph and to do in this charming small city and the surrounding area. Nevada City has a population of only 3,068, but it’s the county seat of Nevada County. Its downtown, with 93 buildings, is on the National Register of Historic Places. It’s easy to take a walking tour to see the many fine brick storefronts in its downtown and the stately Victorian homes close by. (Click here for a map)

“One of the most popular old buildings is the Miners Foundry Cultural Center, which was built in 1856. The foundry was the first manufacturing location of the Pelton wheel. The Pelton wheel, invented by Lester Pelton in 1879, was a major breakthrough in mining operations. Basically, the turbine collected and transformed the energy of flowing water much more efficiently than waterwheels had previously. The Pelton wheel is still widely used for many applications today.

“The Miners Foundry now operates as a community and performing arts center hosting hundreds of activities yearly including stage and musical productions, receptions, and dances. Inside the foundry, you can find a printed, self-guided tour of the many historic artifacts in the building. Nevada City also hosts many popular tourist attractions. In January, the “Wild & Scenic Film Festival,” focusing on environmental issues, outdoor adventure and extreme sports is held. In June (usually on Father’s Day Weekend) the Nevada City Classic, a challenging professional cycling race, is held. Lance Armstrong was the winner in 2009.

“Hiking opportunities:

“In addition to the Nevada City walking tour, there are many other places to hike. The South Yuba River State Park (details in previous articles, see links below) is great for hiking year round.

“In addition, there is the Independence Trail. The Bear Yuba Land Trust’s website reads, “This trail, founded by the late John Olmsted, transformed an historic gold mining ditch into the nation’s first identified handicapped-accessible wilderness trail. It is now one of the most popular trails in the area, contouring along wooded hillsides, passing live streams, and crossing deep gorges on restored wooden flumes that once transported water for hydraulic mining. The trail has two separate sections (West and East) that extend from one main trailhead on Hwy 49. Independence Trail West is oriented for most of its length around the canyon of Rush Creek, a large tributary stream that enters the South Yuba River at Jones Bar. The West trail features several wooden flumes, a large covered viewpoint, picnic tables and benches. Flume 28, over 500′ in length, crosses above a waterfall on Rush Creek 1.1 miles west of the trailhead. It is a “must see” piece of mining history.”

“While you are in the region, plan to visit the fascinating Malakoff Diggins State Historic Park. The park is the site of world’s largest hydraulic gold mine. Miners in the 1850-1880s, forced water through hoses and nozzles under high pressure to blast and wash the gold out of the mountainsides. Malakoff Diggins “devastated the pristine landscape leading to the first environmental law enacted in the nation.” In the park are more than 30 miles of hiking trails as well as camping and miners’ cabins (open seasonally), fishing, and Gold Rush-era buildings.”

To read the full article, including hiking opportunities, click here.

(Source: Susan Alcorn,

Watch Opening Day video at Boreal Mountain!

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The Boreal Mountain 2014-15 season opened on Friday and the crew from FYVE BOARD CO. not only got first chair, but dropped hammers all day! Open today from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. Come get some!

(Video: Jason C. Manning)

Create a Gingerbread House and win!

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Now is the time for holiday bakers to think about the creation of a magical Gingerbread House to enter into the 12th annual Gingerbread House Competition at the Country Christmas Faire, held November 28, 29, and 30 at the Nevada County Fairgrounds in Grass Valley. Houses, bungalows, cottages, and castles fashioned from spicy gingerbread will be displayed for holiday shoppers to enjoy during the Thanksgiving weekend festivities.

Competitors may enter any of the many categories, including children, teens, adults, special needs, families, and groups. There’s even a category for children under 8 years of age who want to enter a house made by a kit. All those who enter a Gingerbread House exhibit will receive two free passes to the Country Christmas Faire.

Ribbons are given to all winners, and the Best of Show winner will receive $100. A special gift basket from Tess’ Kitchen Store will also be awarded to the Best of Show winner and the People’s Choice Award.

Entry forms must be received at the Fairgrounds between now and Friday, November 21 by 4 pm. The actual gingerbread house entry must be delivered to the Fairgrounds on Tuesday, November 25 between the hours of 11 am – 6 pm. The cost is $2 to enter, and all Gingerbread House exhibitors will receive two free passes to the Country Christmas Faire.

Entry forms and a complete list of rules can be picked up at the Fairgrounds office on McCourtney Road, or downloaded from the Fair’s website at

Talented artisans fill the Fairgrounds exhibit buildings with quality hand-made crafts and unique gifts, so you can get all your holiday shopping done in one location. Visitors to the Faire will enjoy strolling live entertainment, festival foods, wagon rides, and a community bon-fire. Santa Claus will be on hand to greet children, so bring your camera to get that special photo. Santa will be available each day until an hour before closing time.

Free babysitting will be offered by Girl Scouts of the Northern Mines Service Unit so parents can drop off their children while they enjoy holiday shopping. Errand Elves from Clear Creek School will be available to assist shoppers throughout the event.

The 30th annual Country Christmas Faire begins Friday, November 28, and runs through Sunday, November 30. The hours are 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Friday and Saturday; and 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Sunday.

Admission is $4 for adults, and free to children 12 and under. Parking is free. On Sunday, if you bring a can of food to the Faire, you’ll receive $1 off admission. All food donated will help feed those in need in Nevada County.

The Nevada County Fairgrounds is located at 11228 McCourtney Road in Grass Valley. For more information, visit or call (530) 273-6217.

Visit Santa at the Nevada County Narrow Gauge Railroad Museum

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On Saturday, December 6, from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m., Santa and his elves will make their annual visit to the Nevada County Narrow Gauge Railroad Museum. They love to be photographed for Christmas cards beside the 1880’s Nevada County Narrow Gauge Railroad’s Engine #5.

It’s a free day for everyone as the holiday decorated Museum features local transportation history displays. The railbus will run, weather-permitting. There will be visits available to the equipment restoration shop and the Gift Shop will be open. Enjoy refreshments, a silent auction and a children’s raffle.

The Museum is located at #5 Kidder Court in Nevada City off Gold Flat Road from Bost Avenue or New Mohawk Drive.

For more information call 530-470-0902 or go to

Big news: Boreal Mountain Resort opens this Friday!

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Boreal Mountain Resort is opening for the 2014-15 winter season this Friday, November 7 at 9 a.m. There will be one run with six terrain park features accessed by the Castle Peak Quad chairlift. Early season conditions will exist. No easier terrain will be available at this time.

All-Day tickets are valid from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. Night-Only tickets are valid from 3:30 to 9 p.m. Flying-Saucer Sledding and Snowplay/Pedestrian tickets will also be available. These snow activities will be open from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Flying-Saucer sleds will be provided and participants cannot use their own.

To pre-purchase tickets or to learn more, visit

“Cinderella” premieres tonight!

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Cinderella, a musical with amazing costumes and fun for audiences of all ages, opens tonight at The Center for the Arts in Grass Valley. For two weekends only, November 6-9 and November 14-16, there are day and evening showtimes to fit everyone’s schedule. Discounted advance tickets are available at The Book Seller, Briar Patch Co-op Community Market and The Center for the Arts box office.

Another great article about Nevada County by award-winning travel writer

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“There are still plenty of “nuggets” in the cultural stream for the modern traveler venturing into the Northern Gold Country of California along Highway 49, after leaving I-80 at Auburn and heading north,” says award-winning travel writer Lee Foster in his article titled “California’s Northern Gold Country: From Freeway I-80 North on Highway 49.”

“Four main experiences to search out in Nevada and Sierra Counties are history, food/wine, the arts, and seasonal natural beauty.

“Grass Valley is a convenient base of operations for your prospecting. There are good lodgings such as the home-grown Grass Valley Courtyard Suites (not by Marriott) and the Gold Miner’s Inn (which is run by Holiday Inn Express). The day I was at the Courtyard, the owner was making waffles for me and everyone else at the complimentary cooked breakfast. As the region continues to renew itself with dining options, seek out the new craft beer and organic pizza/food haven, Three Forks Bakery & Brewing Co., in Nevada City. For a quality wine tasting experience in today’s California, without even a fee, consider Pilot Peak Winery south of Grass Valley, and sign up for info on their summer Saturday night parties. All these entities benefit from dedicated and new entrepreneurs and proprietors who contribute to make California travel a better experience today for the average consumer than it has been in the past.

“Gold Rush history is the unique drama that defines the region. There are two outstanding mining site tours to peruse in this northern area if you want to understand the later “hard rock” phase of the California Gold Rush. They are the Empire Mine State Historic Park near Grass Valley/Nevada City and the Kentucky Mine in Sierra County, to the north.

“In 1848 and thereafter for a few years there were nuggets to be found by individuals in the streams. This was the dream that propelled one of the greatest voluntary migrations in human history. There was an opportunity for fortune, especially if you could keep ahead of the merchants (such as hardware provider Leland Stanford, in Sacramento, selling you your shovel, pick, and pan) and the food purveyors selling you eggs and apples (maybe at $1 each). It is said that about six percent of the miners made significant money. The rest sought solace in their dreams and visions. At least, they tried.”

To read the full article, visit

(Article and photo: Lee Foster)

Nevada City named one of the “10 Intriguing Small Towns in the USA”

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Nevada City has been named one of the “10 Intriguing Small Towns in the USA Everyone Should Visit” by

“I’ve been fortunate enough to do some traveling around the USA, and along the way I’ve come across a lot of neat little towns. While these places might not offer everything that larger tourist traps and cities have, it’s usually cheaper to visit them than say, New York City. Indeed, it might not cost you much of anything at all if you’re only looking to take a day trip. Below is a list of small towns that draws upon both personal experience and research. They aren’t listed in any ranked order, as each has something to offer that the other doesn’t. Without further adieu, let’s take a look at the first town on the list.

“9. Nevada City, California

I have a friend with quite the eclectic personality who hails from this area. I used to have trouble understanding her, but now that I know more about her town it all makes sense (if you ever read this, I totally mean that in a completely positive way)! Basically, this “city” (in name only seeing as it only as a population of 3,000) is famous for its art, music, and offbeat culture. It also helps that it’s in close proximity to many of California’s more amazing natural features. A pretty neat combination if you ask me.”

To read the full article, click here.


Amy Grant (watch video) and Jeff Bridges coming to Grass Valley

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The Center for the Arts announces Amy Grant and Jeff Bridges & The Abiders will be performing in Grass Valley.

The Center for the Arts brings Oscar winning actor/singer/songwriter/author/ photographer Jeff Bridges and the Abiders to Grass Valley’s Veterans Memorial Auditorium on Friday, January 23. Tickets go on sale to Encore members, October 30 at 10am, Center members on Tuesday, November 4 and will be available to the general public on November 11. Jeff Bridges’ musical talents came to fore in his portrayal of Otis “Bad” Blake in 2009’s multi-award winning movie Crazy Heart, but Bridges’ musical journey began long before that film.

Following the release of Bridges’ self-titled album in 2011, the album debuted at #25 on the Billboard charts while also notching chart debuts on the Folk Albums #2, Top Rock Albums #5, and Top Country Albums #10 charts. Although previously releasing his debut album Be Here Soon in 2000, it was his portrayal of a grizzled former country music legend in the 2009 film Crazy Heart, an Academy Award-winning performance, that helped reignite his musical passions alongside Crazy Heart collaborator, the Academy Award-winning, multiple-Grammy Award-winning songwriter, musician, and producer T Bone Burnett.

Just released in September, Bridges’ most recent album was recorded during a summer concert run at Red Rock Casino in Las Vegas. Live includes 14-tracks of live recordings of songs from Bridges’ debut album Be Here Soon and self-titled follow up on Blue Note Records, as well as original music from the critically-acclaimed film Crazy Heart and some of his favorite chosen covers of The Byrds, Tom Waits and Creedence Clearwater Revival. Live was produced and mixed by the band’s musical director Chris Pelonis and mastered by Kim Rosen.

Amy Grant’s career spans more than 30 years and stretches from her roots in gospel into becoming an iconic pop star, songwriter, television personality and philanthropist. With three multi-platinum albums, six platinum albums and four gold albums, her total career album sales have exceeded 30 million. Grant’s chart success has been consistent throughout her career with six No. 1 hits, ten Top 40 pop singles, seventeen Top 40 Adult Contemporary tracks and multiple Contemporary Christian chart-toppers. In addition to her six GRAMMY® Awards, Grant has earned 26 Dove Awards (including four Artist of the Year Awards) and has been awarded a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.

Conventional wisdom has it that Grant put Contemporary Christian Music on the map becoming the first Contemporary Christian artist to have a platinum record, the first to hit No. 1 on the Pop charts, and the first to perform at the GRAMMY® Awards. With that, her legacy as one of the most influential artists of the past couple of decades is assured.

Her first studio album in more than a decade, How Mercy Looks From Here, released May 14, 2013 and debuted at No. 12 on the Billboard 200 Chart. Her first career remix album In Motion: The Remixes is available now.

To purchase tickets, visit

Take a hike this fall!

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With the arrival of fall comes cooler days and nights meaning local trails are awash in gold and crimson, providing a wealth of opportunities for families to unplug, get outdoors, take a walk and encounter the wonders of nature.

With community support from volunteers and donations, Bear Yuba Land Trust has built and maintains more than 35 miles of local trails for hikers, runners, mountain bicyclists, equestrian riders, wheelchair users and families. Trails Coordinator Bill Haire has built many trails over the years and enjoys seeing people use them.

“Trails provide a link between people and their natural environment. It brings them into close contact with a landscape that is not so highly modified by human use and activities. Trails through open space allow people to get away from the environment they spend most of their lives within,” said Trails Coordinator Bill Haire.

Trails also provide an opportunity to exercise outdoors.

“There is no membership or entrance fees. Trails are open from dawn to dusk, so one can show up at any time and use the trail for their fitness activity, be it running, walking or cycling,” added Haire.

Trails are an asset to the local economy. Studies show that homes located near public trails command a higher price than homes located far from public trails. Sometimes trails are a determining factor when people seek employment or locating to a community. Many visitors to Nevada County see trails as an important part of their stay in town and reason for return.

Here are a handful of Land Trust favorite trails for the season.

Black Swan Trail Your newest community multi-use trail, funded entirely by community support, is located in far Western Nevada County near the town of Smartsville. The two-mile Black Swan Trail completed this summer passes through the Black Swan Ranch, loops above a pond and climbs onto a hydraulic mine escarpment for spectacular views. At the pond, visitors will be greeted by an abundance of water fowl, otters and pond turtles. Eventually the trail will open up public access to the Yuba River through the Yuba Narrows Fish and Wildlife Area.

Orene Wetherall When the dogwood and big leaf maple turn color in fall, the Orene Wetherall trail is striking in reds, bronze, and yellows. A forested, easy side trail with some great views, the Orene Wetherall branches off the popular Cascade Canal trail on Banner Mountain east of Nevada City.

Deer Creek Environs Trail This forested 1.5 mile loop located just a few minutes from downtown Nevada City on the south side of Deer Creek follows the old Rough and Ready ditch and remnants of the Providence Mine. With the completion of the new “Angkula Seo Bridge” the Environs Trail now connects with the Tribute Trail network on the north side of Deer Creek. Interpretive signs along the trail tell the story of the native Nisenan.

Hirschman Trail Only a mile from the heart of downtown Nevada City, the first 0.4 miles of the trail is wheelchair accessible and perfect for younger children. Named after the Hirschman brothers who were pioneer miners and merchants of the area, the pond is a picturesque picnic destination for today’s families.

“The Hirschman trail is a delight to hike any time of the year, but in the fall, after we have a few light rains, and the foliage begins to turn is a great time to hike the trail. A stop at Hirschman Pond provides an opportunity to see a variety of waterfowl that are migrating from their summer homes to winter habitat,” said Trails Coordinator Bill Haire.

Independence Trail
Founded by the late John Olmsted, this wheelchair accessible trail follows the Gold Rush Era Excelsior Ditch, built in 1859 to carry water for hydraulic mining. Two options for hiking this trail are available on the East and West sides of Highway 49. Mostly tree-covered, vistas open up sporadically along the trail offering trail users occasional glimpses of the South Yuba River canyon. Restored wooden flumes are hallmarks of this trail, one of the most popular in the region. Rush Creek, a large tributary stream that enters the South Yuba River at Jones Bar, is a prominent feature of the Western segment of trail.

Bear Yuba Land Trust has mapped and described 21 of these family friendly hikes in a collection of laminated trail cards available at: Nevada City Chamber of Commerce, Mountain Recreation, The Earth Store, Outside Inn and the Land Trust office. Five new maps and trail descriptions are now online! Go to and click on the “Trails Portal” to download and print maps, trail descriptions and trailhead directions to these and many more local trails.

Mark your calendar! Be sure to join BYLT for the annual Turkey Trek on the Loma Rica Trail on Friday, November 28, the day following Thanksgiving.

BYLT trails are built with volunteer labor and financial contributions. No tax dollars are used. One third of local trails are built on private land, where the landowner has donated a trail easement that BYLT holds for public access. Contributing to BYLT’s annual Trails Appeal helps maintain existing recreation trails and will build two new trails on the Yuba River next year – Yuba Narrows and Rice’s Crossing.

(Source: Laura Petersen,