Category Archives: Grass Valley

Our County at nation’s largest travel show this weekend

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Nevada County is one of the exhibitors at the 2014 Los Angeles Travel & Adventure Show this weekend, the biggest travel show in the country.

Now in its 9th year, the two-day event at the Long Beach Convention Center offers informative seminars, interactive activities and cultural performances.

“It’s like walking through the world’s best travel guide,” says Unicomm chief executive John Golicz, the show’s organizer.

“Californians have an appetite for travel and adventure, and this show is a great way to experience the world through the eyes of well-traveled speakers and the thousands of experts who represent exciting destinations.”

Last year’s show drew nearly 29,000 travel enthusiasts, and this year is expected to break a new attendance record.

Featured speakers include Rick Steves, host of the popular television series Rick Steves’ Europe; Travel Channel personalities including Samantha Brown; and Emmy Award-winning travel journalist Peter Greenberg, travel editor for CBS News.

Additionally, more than 400 exhibitors representing some of the most desired destinations are on hand to entice, educate and give details about destinations and tours to attendees.

The show is open to the public on Saturday and Sunday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.

What’s New in Nevada County from February-March

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What’s New in Nevada County?
February – April 2014


New Interactive Trails Web Map
The County has released a new interactive trails web map. These trails can be viewed using the flagship My Neighborhood GIS map viewer by clicking on the hiking boot icon in the list of tools across the top of the page. The County also built a second web map tailored specifically to tablets and smart-phones that is available here.

Nevada County Community Theater Companies Bring Home 8 out of 34 Ellys
Community Asian Theatre of the Sierra, Synthetic Unlimited, Sierra Stages and Quest Theaterworks all were recipients of a 2012/2013 Elly Award. Rodger Hoopman from Nevada County received the Elly Lifetime Achievement award. Hosted by the Sacramento Area Regional Theatre Alliance, the annual Elly awards were given to individuals and companies from across a 10-county region. For a full listing of the 2012/2013 Adult Elly recipients and the categories they were awarded in, visit

Birding at Bridgeport with Local Expert Bill Cortright
South Yuba River State Park, Penn Valley, CA
Spring Schedule – February 22; March 15; April 19 and May 10
Saturdays beginning at 8:00 a.m.
Bird Walks lead by local expert Bill Cortright. Over the two hour bird walk you might spot the Canyon Wren, American Dipper, Acorn Woodpecker, Golden Crowned Kinglet, Bald Eagle, Phainopepla and more. Bring snacks, water, binoculars, a field guide and wear good shoes. Meet at the North Parking Lot (across the new Pleasant Valley Rd. bridge) FREE Admission to Park; $5 Parking Fee.

Wildflower Walks along Buttermilk Bend Trail
South Yuba River State Park, Penn Valley, CA
Mid-March through Mid-May
Saturday and Sundays – 11:00 a.m.
The Buttermilk Bend trail is well known among locals for its spectacular explosion of wildflowers most springs. The display changes every week, so come more than once! Docents will identify the flowers and explain some of their natural history and traditional uses. Plan on 1.5 hours and 2 miles. No dogs.

Grass Valley

Foothills Celebration
Historic Downtown Grass Valley
Saturday, March 1, 2014
1:00 – 4:00 p.m.
Spend the afternoon strolling the shops and sites of Historic Downtown Grass Valley. Enjoy fine Northern California wines, gourmet cuisine and confectioners delights. Tickets are only $35.00 per person / $45 after February 23 and includes unlimited wine tasting and five food selections from over 20 local restaurants.

St. Pirans Day
Historic Downtown Grass Valley
Saturday, March 8, 2014
9:15 a.m. – when the fun is over
Join us for our annual celebration of Cornish Heritage in downtown Grass Valley on Saturday, March 8th in the City Hall Parking Lot! The fun starts at 9:15 a.m. as we raise the Cornish Flag and our very own town crier, Robert Russell welcomes everyone to the celebration! The Cornish Choir will sing some time-honored Cornish tunes from the mining days of yesteryear. We will also have our Pasty Olympics! For our 3rd year we will also have Cornish Pasty Tasting. Our 5 esteemed judges will judge pasties. The event is FREE!!! So come to downtown Grass Valley for the day.

The Center for the Arts presents
 Two Great Concerts at the Veterans Memorial Auditorium in Grass Valley, CA

Back by Popular Demand – Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra with Wynton Marsalis
Friday, March 7 2014 – 8:00 p.m.
Veterans Memorial Auditorium
225 South Auburn Street, Grass Valley, CA 95945
$58 members, $68 non-member
The Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra is composed of 15 of jazz music’s leading soloists under the leadership of musical director Wynton Marsalis. Drawing from an extensive repertoire that includes original compositions by Mr. Marsalis, Ted Nash, and other members of the orchestra, as well as the masterworks of Ellington, Mingus, Coltrane, and other great jazz composers, the Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra with Wynton Marsalis concerts are internationally critically-acclaimed. E.J. Gold’s dramatic 7′x 11′ JazzArt® stage panels and paintings will once again grace the performance space, as Wynton Marsalis takes the stage at the Grass Valley’s Veterans Memorial Auditorium.

Arlo Guthrie – Here Comes the Kid(s)
Friday, April 11, 2014 – 8:00 p.m.
Veterans Memorial Auditorium
225 South Auburn Street, Grass Valley, CA 95945
$48 members, $58 non-member
Legendary singer-songwriter Arlo Guthrie and band come to Grass Valley’s Veterans Memorial Auditorium for an evening featuring his most beloved songs. For the past year Arlo has toured in recognition of father Woody Guthrie’s centennial. The younger artist continues to honor the elder’s remarkable legacy with this celebration, a spirited musical tribute from a son to his father. Woody Guthrie instilled in his children the commitment to fighting the good fight, a notion that Arlo has always brought to his own work throughout his career spanning over four decades.

Arlo’s songwriting, humor, activism and unequaled manner of telling a tale discernibly exhibit the Guthrie family traits that Woody imparted. Arlo also draws from the extensive catalogue of songs taught to him by Woody and friends such as Lead Belly, Cisco Houston, and Brownie McGhee. More than fifty years after his first performance opening for Cisco, Arlo’s commitment to music and tradition is as strong as ever. The Here Come The Kid(s) tour emphasizes the best-loved songs and stories that the Guthrie family most closely associates with the distinguished patriarch.

Nevada City

Nevada City is selected as one of’s 15 “Coolest, Small Town” finalists. Vote for your favorite town here.

“Nevada City may be a little off the beaten path (60 miles northeast of Sacramento, in the foothills of the Sierra Nevada Mountains), but residents value the Gold Country town for its music and art scene, food, and proximity to some of California’s amazing rivers, lakes, and the Sierra,” the travel website states. “For live music, locals swear by the Miners Foundry. For a Sundance feel without the hordes, savor the Wild and Scenic Film Festival. And if you’re hankering for a pro cycling race and don’t plan on dropping in on the Tour de France anytime soon, hightail it to the Nevada City Classic.”

The other contenders are: Berlin, MD; Buckhannon, WV; Cazenovia, NY; Deadwood, SD; Elkin, NC; Estes Park, CO; Everglades City, FL; Galena, IL; Huntington Woods, MI; Kelleys Island, OH; Mathews, VA; Nevada City, CA; Pahoa, HI; Rockport, TX; and Travelers Rest, SC.

Nevada City Mardi Gras 2014

Historic Downtown Nevada City
Saturday, March 1 and Sunday, March 2, 2014
A Downtown Parade, Masquerade Ball and Carnevale are featured March 1 & 2, 2014 as this colorful Sierra foothills town again celebrates Mardi Gras in Nevada City. Weekend activities open Saturday night with a Mardi Gras Masquerade Ball from 8pm to midnight, featuring a live band, in historic Miners Foundry at 325 Spring Street. Cajun food will be available for purchase throughout the evening. Tickets can be purchased in advance at the Chamber Office for $12. Or, you can purchase tickets at the door for $15. 21 and over only.

On Sunday, the Mardi Gras Street Faire will be held on North Pine Street, in Historic Downtown Nevada City, from 11:00 a.m. to 4 p.m. There will be food, drink, crafts, and clothing. The Mardi Gras Parade begins at 2 p.m. Sunday and moves down Broad Street through the center of town. Merry spectators of all ages line the parade route while gaily masked societies parade through the historic district handing out beads, toys, trinkets, bangles and more. Everyone is encouraged to attend in festive Mardi Gras attire. Join us for a festive after-the-parade Carnevale for the whole family at the Miners Foundry from 3:00 to 6:00 p.m.! Enjoy New Orleans style food, hot dogs, ice cream & desserts, soft drinks & specialty coffees. Also featuring a full bar for the adults serving Hurricanes, plus a special Bloody Mary bar. Delight in Cajun music, drummers, belly dancers, a bounce house, and more! Tickets at the door only $5 for adults – Kids are FREE!


The Sierra Nevada, home to Truckee, Donner Summit and our eastern County, has been named one of the world’s most beautiful mountain ranges by, a skiing and snowboarding website.

The Sierra Nevada runs 400 miles north-to-south, and is approximately 70 miles across east-to-west. Notable Sierra features include Lake Tahoe, the largest alpine lake in North America; Mount Whitney at 14,505 ft, the highest point in the contiguous United States; and Yosemite Valley sculpted by glaciers out of 100-million-year-old granite. The Sierra is home to three national parks, 20 wilderness areas, and two national monuments. These areas include Yosemite, Sequoia, Kings Canyon National Parks, and Devils Postpile National Monument.

The others on the list, which include the Tetons, Andes, Japanese Alps and Himalayas, are described here.

Tahoe Donner Ididarun
Tahoe Donner Ski Area
Sunday, March 9, 2014
12 p.m. – 4 p.m.
Dogs pulling covered wagon sleds across a snow covered course against the clock! This is a great spectating event from the trackside or on the Lodge deck. Event sign ups start at noon, and the race begins at 1 pm. Food & Drinks are available for purchase at The Lodge, so come on out and join in all the fun with the whole family today! Tickets are $20 per person.

(Photos: Wine Tasting by Kial James; Mardi Gras by Gary Swenor)

Local opportunities ripe for enjoying health benefits of recreation trails

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By Laura Brown

Winding through forests and river canyons of the Sierra Nevada foothills, stretch miles and miles of trails suited for a diverse range of recreationists.

From mountain bicyclists to hikers to wheelchair users, runners and equestrian riders, local trails provide outdoor places for exercise – in solitude or with companions. Whether taking an easy one-mile walk or a more arduous 15-mile trek, being on an earthen trail is a time to take a break from the stressful demands of today’s fast-past world and re-connect with nature.

“Trails bring serenity and peace of mind. They allow us to quickly find an escape from the complications of everyday life and re-connect with the beauty of natural places,” said John Gardiner a local trails advocate, long-time hiker and mountain bicyclist.

American Trails, the world’s largest online trails resource promotes the benefits of trails and greenways to planners, funders and the public. Trails make communities more livable, improves the economy through tourism, preserves and restores open space and provides opportunity for activities that improve physical and mental health, according to
Yet this asset remains elusive to some. While well-known trails get heavy use, plenty of local trails remain quiet, uncrowded and undiscovered gems.

Compare these attributes to a busy, expensive gym.
Gardiner believes local trails are an underutilized, affordable venue for keeping fit.

“In our country, obesity is all too common. People can use trails for a quick enjoyable means of exercise, close to home… Trails are low cost recreational amenities that allow us to experience nature in a healthful, low impact way,” Gardiner said.

Some of his favorite local trails include Hirschman’s, Pioneer, South Yuba, Bullards Bar and Grouse Ridge trails.

Trails Portals, Social Trekking and a Vibrant Economy
Now, folks looking for trails have more resources than ever before through online trails portals and social hiking clubs.

One example, is the county’s effort to showcase the region’s recreational opportunities with a new online countywide map of public hiking, biking and equestrian trails.

Compiled by the Geographic Information Systems (GIS) division of the Information and General Services Agency of Nevada County, users can navigate a county map of all known public trails, search for specific trails and click on a trail to view the name, location and distance. The site links to others such as: State Parks, Tahoe Donner Land Trust, U.S. Forest Service and a Trails Portal by Bear Yuba Land Trust.

While locals will undoubtedly put the new resource to good use, county officials are optimistic it will also help boost recreational tourism.

“Now with this single web map, enthusiasts can easily plan their next visit or hike in Nevada County across many different types of managed trails.  Easier use and better access to information about trails will translate to more visitors.  Growing Nevada County as a destination for hikers and trail enthusiasts is good for us all and the local economy,” said Information Systems Manager Tom Naramore.

Nevada City resident Greg Archbald sees the county’s new site as a “fabulous resource.” Archbald co-founded the Trust for Public Land and since 2008 has volunteered hundreds of hours with Bear Yuba Land Trust mapping, writing and photographing nearly two dozen trails for the nonprofit organization’s Trails Project.

Some of Archbald’s favorite local trails include: Deer Creek Tribute Trail going west from Nevada City, Hirchman’s Trail, the Conlon Mine Trail on Osborne Hill in Empire Mine State Park and the Hoyt Trail.

“Local trails are a huge asset to Nevada County in many different ways. They help to create an active, healthy and engaged population. Trail activity is a financial generator that helps to increase tourism and local sales of goods and services. Trails build community, promote a conservation ethic, and they give a lot of folks a lot of pleasure,” Archbald said.

The Land Trust’s new 2014 series, “Treks on Tuesdays” drew 15 people during the kick off hike on the Alan Thiesen trail in Alta Sierra earlier this week. Designed to encourage more people to visit local trails, the series will feature a different hike each month. The next trek will be held at 10 a.m. Feb. 18 on the Deer Creek Tribute Trail West. To date the Land Trust has built 14 public access trails totaling 35 miles and each year leads 60 guided treks and nature-based lectures.

The Greater Grass Valley Chamber of Commerce recognizes local trails as a draw to visitors and actively promotes recreation at its Main Street visitor center. CEO Keith Davies appreciates the economic boost visitors bring to town when they come to explore local trails.

“What makes our local trails so appealing to all ages is the fact that several are built upon 19th century water ditches, and the barely perceptible incline that brought water from high in the mountains to mining camps in and around Grass Valley and Nevada City, now offering the perfect, gradual topographical change for walkable trails,” Davies said.

Testament to the positive impacts local recreation trails have on a community is the explosive growth of Nevada County Walkers in just a few short years.

Started in 2010, the group has 640 members today with multiple walks on local trails scheduled six days a week designed for a broad spectrum of ages and fitness levels.

“We’ve seen the numbers of participants on each walk grow in leaps and bounds. Walkers who have joined us have been introduced to trails they never knew existed and they now can go back with their family and friends to share their experience,” said Nevada County Walkers Organizer Mary Cahill.  

To learn more visit:

Laura Brown is the outreach coordinator for the Bear Yuba Land Trust. The photos are from John Gardiner. This article was originally published in The Union newspaper.

Our County at Bay Area Travel & Adventure show this weekend

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Nevada County is among the 200 exhibitors at the fifth-annual Bay Area Travel & Adventure show this weekend in Santa Clara.

The weekend extravaganza is expected to draw 15,000 visitors this year.

“Each of them arrived armed with maps and guides and pitches finely tuned to put their respective little dreamlands on everyone’s to-do list,” the San Jose Mercury News is reporting.

Speakers included travel “rock star” Rick Steves.

“I get inspired when I come here to travel to new places around the world,” Stephanie Berman, 33, told the Mercury News.

A photo of the Nevada County booth included promotions of Truckee, Grass Valley, Penn Valley, the Fairgrounds and Sierra Vintners, among other attractions, as well as

Chambers team up for Valentine dinner and show

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The Grass Valley and Nevada City chambers of commerce have been working together on special events since the decision in 1901 to alternate July 4th parades, including a decision nearly thirty years ago to co-host the annual Independence Day fireworks show at the county fairgrounds.

It is no surprise, then, that the two chambers have decided to co-host a spectacular dinner and Big Band show on February 14 –– a great way for lovers and others to enjoy the close of Valentine’s Day.  The dinner and musical show will be held at the Grass Valley Veterans Building, with two seating’s –– 5:00 p.m. and 8:00 p.m. –– and two entertaining shows featuring Michael Buble´ and a 24-piece band.

Billed as “Sinatra & Friends,” the after-dinner performance will showcase the music of an era when couples held each other tight and danced the night away.  To begin the evening, Chef Antonio will be serving a three-course meal with a choice of entrees: grilled New York steak, chicken scaloppini or wild mushroom raviolis.

“This is going to be a night to remembers,” promised Keith Davies, executive director of the Greater Grass Valley Chamber of Commerce. “Michael Buble´and the band will take people back to a bygone era and offer familiar big band tunes for dancing or listening.”

Nevada City Chamber of Commerce executive director Cathy Whittlesey agrees with Davies and said she is looking forward to an exceptional night of fine food and first-class entertainment.

“Beyond the great food and music, we are excited to be co-hosting the event with the Greater Grass Valley Chamber of Commerce,” she said.  ”The two chambers really work well together, and this is an opportunity to combine forces for a genuinely fun event.”

Tickets for the dinner and show are available at both chamber offices, or by going to and ordering with your credit card.

You can also order tickets by calling the Greater Grass Valley Chamber of Commerce (273-4667) or the Nevada City Chamber of Commerce (265-2692).

Cost for the three-course dinner and entertainment is $65 a person –– $75 if purchased at the door.  Seating will be limited and a select VIP seating package and a Holiday Inn Express Hotel package is also available, so Davies and Whittlesey encourage advance reservations.

“You will not want to miss this very special celebration of Valentine’s Day,” Davies said.  ”It will be the kind of romantic evening you deserve.”

–Greater Grass Valley and Nevada City Chambers

Burnal Equinox 4 at County Fairgrounds on March 1

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Sacramento Valley Spark and the 2014 Burnal Equinox Committee are very excited to present Burnal Equinox 4. This 4th Annual Burnal Equinox will be a celebration halfway between Burning Man events on Saturday, March 1.

Burnal Equinox 4 is a gathering of self-expression and creativity inspired by the Burning Man event, complete with art, fire performers, music, art cars, bands, costumes, and fabulous theme camps.

This year’s event will be at the Nevada County Fairgrounds in Grass Valley and provides us with a whole lot of room for our artistic burner expression.

BE4 will feature live music, DJ’s and performance art. Bring yourself, bring your friends and turn some new people on to the generous love that is the Gold Country community.

This annual event begins at 3 p.m. Saturday and continues until 3 a.m. Sunday morning. Indoors music will go to 3 a.m. and outdoors music until 11 p.m. The fairgrounds and facilities are fully ADA compliant.

Ticket availability, camping, theme camps and more details will be announced very soon via regional announcements, the event Facebook page and the BE4 event details page on

Sacramento Valley Spark is a nonprofit organization committed to providing support and performing activities that promote the arts, self-expression, and creating positive social change.

It is a community-based framework built to create sustainable community. We aim to unite burners and kindred spirits throughout the Sacramento Valley and Sierra Nevada foothills—from Davis and Sacramento to Auburn and Nevada City, and all points in between—so we can share our gifts with each other and our region at large.

For camping reservations please visit:

—Sacramento Valley Spark and Burnal Equinox

(photo: Sacramento Valley Spark and Burnal Equinox)

Spirit of gold fever alive in our County

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The spirit of gold fever is alive.

“I was hitting a good time of year for panning, with savvy gold hunters typically taking to the confluence and other areas when river levels are low and less-panned out areas are exposed. Conversely, panning activity also heats up after a big storm churns up river bottoms,” writes The Auburn Journal this weekend.

Our County is a gold-panners’ delight too. Visit the gold page in our website to learn more. It is here.

New photo galleries for our County

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Click on each one:

Cornish Christmas 2013

Christmas Card Movie

December 2013

Artisan Festival

Bridgeport Fall Festival

Nisenan Heritage Day

Wine Tasting

Popular blog posts of 2013

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Here are some of our most popular posts from our “All Aboard” blog on our website. Many of them have informative and entertaining videos to watch too:

•Nevada County on list of top hidden swimming holes around the world.

•Hallmark’s Christmas card, filmed in Nevada City, air times in December

•Horse-drawn carriage rides return to Nevada City

•Top ten places to take your grandparents in Grass Valley

•December 2013 snowfall

Nevada County Tourism promoted in S.F. this week

•Bill Cosby performs at Nevada County Fairgrounds on July 5

•Grass Valley Foothills Celebration for wine & food on March 2

•Nevada City named as a small-town escape in the San Francisco Chronicle

•Old Highway 40 bypass — “The one less traveled”

•Wine Tasting

•National Trails Day 2013

•Grass Valley plans to bring skating rink back to downtown Jan. 17-20

•Campaign launched to help restore historic Bridgeport covered bridge

•Nevada County exhibit at State Fair wins a Gold Medal

•North San Juan Cherry Festival is June 23

•ART OnSite debuts first public art project on September 7

•Snow falling at HGTV Dream Home

(photos and illustrations: Denise Wey, Smith Vineyards and photo archives)

Christmas Day Dining in our County

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Here are some restaurants in Truckee, Grass Valley and Nevada City that are serving lunch or dinner on Christmas Day. The menu items at the various restaurants include Prime Rib, lamb, duck, roast turkey, pork tenderloin and vegetarian items:

Bar of America
10040 Donner Pass Road
Truckee, CA 96160
Lunch, Dinner, 11:30 a.m.-9:30 p.m.

120 E. Main St.
Grass Valley, CA 95949
Lunch, Dinner buffet 12-6 p.m.

Trattoria Milano
124 Bank Street
Grass Valley, CA 95945
Dinner, 5-9 p.m.

Holbrooke Hotel
212 W. Main Street
Grass Valley, CA 95945
Dinner, 1-6 p.m.

National Hotel
211 Broad St.
Nevada City, CA 95959
Breakfast, 8 a.m.-noon
Dinner, 1-8 p.m.

Our guide to restaurants is HERE.