Category Archives: Grass Valley

2015 Mother’s Day Springtime Event

Leave a comment

Enjoy springtime fountains, rose gardens and lavish, turn-of-the-century costumes on Mother’s Day, May 10, 2015 at the Empire Mine State Historic Park. Stroll through beautiful Empire Cottage – and meet docents portraying the colorful characters who shaped our local, gold-mine history. The old Mineyard will be full of activity – much the way it was in Empire’s heydays of gold, grit and glory.

With a FREE gift for moms and FREE admission for children under 6, it’s a memorable way to celebrate springtime – as well as the special women in your life. Children are also welcome to pot a plant as an extra surprise.

Tasty food, beverages and ice cream are available for purchase from local vendors. Special activities from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Admission is $7 for 17 and older, $3 children 6 to 16, free for children under 6.

Learn more here.

(Photos: Empire Mine State Historic Park)

Sierra Vintners’ three wine trails on May 16, July 18 and September 26

1 Comment

THE FOOTHILLS HAVE SOME ENJOYABLE wine trail experiences on “roads less traveled”: “Grape Days of Summer” in Placer County; “Passport” in El Dorado County; and “Big Crush” in Amador County, among others.

Now Sierra Vintners, which includes wineries in Placer and Nevada Counties, has come up with an innovative plan: three regional wine trail experiences in 2015—in May, July and September. This allows visitors to linger and enjoy wine, food and music at a smaller cluster of wineries in a single day rather than feel rushed to enjoy all 19 of them at once.

In addition, the price is the most affordable we’ve seen: just $55 (wine club members) or $65 for all three tours—in essence, three days of wine and food tasting spread throughout the year for as little as $18 per experience. Or you can pay $25 (wine club members) or $30 to attend one of them. The price for a designated driver is $10 for each date. For more information and to purchase tickets, visit See Wine Trail dates below.

Each wine trail includes wineries that are relatively near one another, reducing the driving time. The wineries will offer food pairings to go with their wines and music. Some will offer other activities: for example, Bent Metal Winery is building a bocce ball court. The hours will be 11 a.m.-5 p.m.

The wineries on the May 16 wine trail are in picturesque settings, where you can see wildflowers, coveys of quail and other wildlife along the way. Bent Metal offers views of the Sierra, Pilot Peak has flower-filled terraces and commanding views of the surrounding hillsides, including Pilot Peak.

Three Wine Trail Tours
•May 16 Penn Valley, near Grass Valley, north of Nevada City, and Rough and Ready
Avanguardia Wines, Bent Metal Winery, Coufos Cellars, Gray Pine Winery, Pilot Peak Vineyard & Winery and Szabo Vineyards.

•July 18 Near Grass Valley and Nevada City, or in Oregon House
Double Oak Vineyards & Winery, Lucchesi Vineyards & Winery, Nevada City Winery, Smith Vineyard, Solune Winegrowers and Grant Eddie Winery (Oregon House)

•September 26 South Nevada County or North Auburn
Bear River Winery, Fawnridge Winery, Lone Buffalo Vineyards & Winery, Mt. Vernon Winery, Naggiar Vineyards, Sierra Knolls Vineyards & Winery, Viña Castellano Winery.

Sierra FoodWineArt magazine

(Photo: Dan Senkbeil)

Bear Yuba Land Trust farm social this Friday

Leave a comment

This Friday, in support of local agriculture, Bear Yuba Land Trust (BYLT) will hold a spring evening Farm Social under the ancient oaks at Linden Lea Ranch, home of Nevada County Free Range Beef.

This evening social supporting the program series, “Land for Farms” will be held from 4:30 to 7 p.m. May 8. The Land for Farms series is designed to raise awareness about local agriculture through education and outings as well as develop funding needed to connect heritage farmland with young farmers.

The evening begins with an optional short hike through the Blue oak grove and concludes with a live musical performance by the quartet, “Harmonium.” Participants will sip Szabo Vineyard premium wines and enjoy gourmet appetizers prepared by Emily’s Catering.

It is BYLT’s mission to keep Nevada County’s farming tradition vibrant for years to come.

Learn more and register online at

(Source: Bear Yuba Land Trust)

2015 Nevada County Grown Farm Guide is out

Leave a comment

There is more than just gold in these foothills that we live in! Welcome to
the 2015 Nevada County Grown Farm Guide.

With the changing trends in agriculture Nevada County is filled with a wealth of potential. This farm guide enables you to find farmers and products of all kinds: from fruits to nuts and from meats to flowers.

As a consumer we strive to know where our food comes from. In this guide you are able to find the farmers that will welcome you to learn all about the food that you eat.

You are able to support our local farm community by finding their products at Farmers Markets, going out to the farm itself, joining a local CSA and in local markets and local restaurants.

In keeping with the effort of supporting Nevada County Agriculture, Nevada County Grown is continually finding ways to help with marketing these farmers to better feed the public.

For additional information about local farms, local events or becoming a member of our organization, please visit our website at:

—Nevada County Grown (text and photo)

“Bring your Silver to Gold Country” themed Airstream trailer rally

Leave a comment

“Bring your silver ‘home away from home’ and enjoy springtime at the beautiful Nevada County Fairgrounds in Grass Valley,” suggests the Northern California Unit of the Wally Byam Caravan Club International at this week’s rally. Close to 30 vintage and new Airstream trailers and RVs have gathered at the Nevada County Fairgrounds this week for an open to the public swap meet Thursday afternoon, April 30 from 3:30 to 6 p.m. Some of the trailers will be open for viewing.

During the rally attendees will also tour local attractions like the Miners Foundry Cultural Center in Nevada City, the Empire Mine State Park in Grass Valley, a visit to the Bridgeport Covered Bridge in Penn Valley, and visit the Nevada County Certified Growers Market at the historic North Star House in Grass Valley.

(Photo: Long Beach WBCCI)

2015 Amgen Tour of California Stage 2 starts in Nevada City

Leave a comment

The tenth anniversary edition route for the 2015 Amgen Tour of California, America’s largest and most prestigious professional cycling race, will have its Stage 2 start in Nevada City on Monday, May 11, 2015

With just one climb and elevations of 2,500 feet in Nevada City, which is hosting its third race start, and a more gentle climb of 55 feet in Lodi, this will likely be another sprinter-friendly stage. After a short circuit on the historic Nevada City Classic course, the riders will head into Grass Valley where another warm reception will await. From Grass Valley, the peloton will head due south on two race favorites – Rattlesnake Road and Dog Bar Road – to its finish in Lodi.

Read more about the 2015 Amgen Tour California race and all of its stages, here.

Learn about other Nevada County cycling events and races, including the 55th Nevada City Bicycle Classic, here.

Watch a video of the 2010 Amgen Tour of California, Stage 1 Nevada City to Sacramento, here:

(Photo: Amgen Tour of California, Video: uRidetv)

3rd Annual Little Italy Pasta Sauce Cook-off

Leave a comment

The Nevada County Italian Cultural Foundation’s 3rd Annual Pasta Sauce Cook-Off is scheduled for Mother’s Day weekend, Saturday, May 9 from 5 to 9 p.m. in Grass Valley. Bring the whole family and make it a pre-Mother’s Day celebration: kick back on the beautiful Gold Miners Inn / Holiday Inn Express & Suites patio with a glass of wine, yummy pasta and sauce, festive music, and delicious gelato and tiramisu.

While tasting sauces and casting your votes, shop for local goodies including jewelry, custom T-shirts, plants and more.

To register for the cooking competition, please phone (530) 272-2660.

Learn about your Italian heritage with the help of the Nevada County Italian Cultural Foundation. Be sure to mark your calendars for the 2015 Italian Festa on September 26 & 27, 2015.

New paint and wine classes

Leave a comment

The Foothills Events Center announces it will host Come Paint with Us, new paint and wine classes. Bring some friends or come alone for a fun night out enjoying painting, food and wine at The Foothills Center in Grass Valley! Learn to paint masterpieces with ease and enjoy wine and hors d’oeuvres from their historical bar and a local artist will guide you through every step of our featured painting. Take home your very own 16×20 masterpiece at the end of the night.

Classes run for 2 hours with a different painting every time. Each class is $45 with all materials provided. Classes will be ongoing. Join their next event April 30, 2015 where they will sit and paint Le Chat Noir. Private parties are available for birthdays, bachelorette, baby/bridal shower, reunions, church groups, or just if you want to get together with friends to paint!

(Source: The Foothills Event Center)

Summer Fairs & Festivals in Nevada County

1 Comment

Summer is the perfect time to visit Nevada County and enjoy one of the many fairs and festivals that are happening throughout the season. From California WorldFest to the Sierra Storytelling Festival to the annual Nevada County Fair, there is some type of fair, festival or gathering almost every weekend to delight all ages and interests. A few of the festivals are featured below.

Strawberry Music Festival
May 21-25, 2015 – Nevada County Fairgrounds
The Strawberry Music Festival presents the gold standard in main stage entertainment, intimate side stage performances, top notch children’s programming, and workshops and activities for all ages. Headlining this year’s festival is Bonnie Rait!

40th Annual Father’s Day Bluegrass Festival
June 18-21, 2015 – Nevada County Fairgrounds
The Father’s Day Bluegrass Festival presents four days of family fun – jamming, workshops, children’s programs, Luthier’s Pavilion, Kids on Bluegrass, and camping on site. It’s the best in Bluegrass and Old Time Music on stage under the pines.

Music in the Mountains SummerFest
June 24 – July 5 – Nevada County Fairgrounds
For its 34th season, Music in the Mountains presents SummerFest, bringing contemporary and classic music together in a two-week celebration of community, art and music. This year’s programming includes Randy Newman, Circque de la Symphonie, Mozart’s Requiuem, The Glory of Russian Ballet, Beethoven’s “Emperor” Concerto, and the always popular “Happy Birthday USA.”

California WorldFest
July 16-19, 2015 – Nevada County Fairgrounds
The Center for the Arts presents California WorldFest featuring eight stages of music from around the world. Visitors can also enjoy camping, workshops, international food, fine crafts and children’s programming. This year’s line-up includes diverse music such as King Sunny Ade and his African Beats, Lucinda Williams, Buffy Saint-Marie, Emisunshine, Birds of Chicago, and much more.

30th Annual Sierra Storytelling Festival
July 17-19, 2015 – North Columbia Schoolhouse Cultural Center
Set among the towering pines, sloping lawns and historic one-room schoolhouse on Columbia Hill, the Sierra Storytelling Festival is now in its 30th year. Known as “The Queen of Storytelling Festivals,” it brings a line-up of internationally recognized storytellers to the Schoolhouse stages.

Nevada County Fair
August 12-16, 2015 – Nevada County Fairgrounds
Enjoy five days of entertainment and fun for fair-goers of all ages at the Nevada County Fair. The Fair presents the perfect opportunity to enjoy live entertainment, delicious food, carnival rides, animals and exhibits – at the “most beautiful fairgrounds in California.” This is affordable fun for the whole family.

15th Annual Nevada City Film Festival
September 10-13, 2015 – Historic Downtown Nevada City
The Nevada City Film Festival brings award-winning shorts and feature films from around the world to the historic venues of Nevada City. A four-day celebration of art, music, and independent film-making, NCFF includes screenings, workshops, special performances, parties and a live comedy show.

(Source: Nevada County Tourism)

Colorful history blooms at Empire Mine with garden tours

Leave a comment

Combining history, color, and serenity, Empire Mine State Historic Park’s thirteen acres of landscaped grounds are a popular highlight, especially when the springtime gardens are in bloom. Designed in the early 1900s by famed architect Willis Polk, these magnificent estate gardens are among California’s oldest and most unusual.

“Early spring is the time the stunning Gold of Ophir roses are likely to look their best,” said Garden Tours Coordinator Jeanne Powell, “and this season, for the first time, Garden Tours will be offered on both Saturdays as well as Sundays for the public to enjoy.“ The Gold of Ophir rose graces the dramatic entrance to Empire Cottage, one of the Park’s most photographed sites. One of many heritage roses, the Gold of Ophir reflects the romance and prosperity of Empire Mine’s heydays. “We are proud of our gardens,” Powell added. “They are lovingly tended by one full-time gardener and a staff of volunteers.”

To celebrate the springtime displays, enthusiastic, knowledgeable docents will lead the Garden Tours on Saturdays in April and on both Saturdays and Sundays from May through late September. Visitors may view the formal and informal gardens, the reflecting pools or even the grassy walks. Tours vary with weather changes and what’s in bloom. Many specimens on the grounds are thought to have been gifts to the Bourn Family (Empire’s prosperous owners from 1869 to 1929) from their world-traveled friends. Benches provide plenty of places to sit, rest, and savor the surrounding beauty that transports visitors to another era.

Tours last about 45 minutes, and will feature landscape trends of the early 1900s, as well as the Arts and crafts Movement that influenced landscape design. Fascinating photographs will bring history to life. Visitors may also see the perennial gardens and permanent plantings both at Empire Cottage and the nearby Clubhouse.

There is no extra charge for these tours, and everyone’s invited – including dogs on leashes. Roses are being propagated this year by docents, and will be for sale in the Gift Shop this autumn. “Many think Empire Mine’s golden treasures are underground, but the Park has a plethora of floral treasures above the ground as well,” Powell said. Garden enthusiasts, artists and photographers are advised to bring their cameras.

Empire’s well-tended estate gardens are a fascinating contrast to the gold, grit and glory of the Mineyard below, making a day at Empire Mine State Historic Park an unusual, unforgettable trip to Nevada County’s world-famous past. The Park welcomes approximately 100,000 visitors a year, many from all over the world.

Garden Tours at Empire Mine State Historic Park will begin at 11 a.m. every Saturday in April, and every Saturday and Sunday from May to late September. The Park is located at 10791 E. Empire Street, Grass Valley, CA 95945, and is open daily from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Admission is $7 for adults 17 and over, $3 for children 6 – 16, and free for children under 6. Phone (530) 273-8522 for further details or visit

(Photos: Dreamspinner Productions)