Category Archives: Grass Valley

More great ink this week for Grass Valley and Nevada City

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The San Jose Mercury News wrote about our old-fashioned Christmas celebrations in an article that ran yesterday. The travel writer, Ginny Prior, visited Nevada County through a Familiarization Tour coordinated by Lani Lott with Nevada County Tourism.

Happy Wanderer: For old-fashioned Christmas, head to Gold Country “All that glitters is not gold. Some of it comes from the twinkling lights heralding Christmas in California’s Gold Country.

“It was a shop owner who first spread the word that James Marshall had struck gold in the Sierra foothills.

“San Francisco literally emptied overnight. And in 1849, when President James Polk confirmed the rumor, it triggered a mass migration that saw 90,000 people come to Gold Country in the first year.

“What a cross section of humanity. Enterprising and eclectic, they paved the way for what you find today in Grass Valley and neighboring Nevada City — a strong sense of community and celebration of preservation.

“Take the Holbrooke Hotel in Grass Valley. A tunnel from Empire Mine led to the bar at this boomtown hotel, where a miner could tie up his mule, turn his gold into cash and down a whiskey or three in the saloon.

Today, the Holbrook and most of downtown Grass Valley are on the National Register of Historic Places. Likewise with Nevada City, where the Victorian downtown is so perfectly preserved.

“Hallmark made a movie here called “The Christmas Card.” In 2005, folks came together to support the production, using Nevada City’s diner, hotel, church and even fellow citizens as supporting artists.

“The twin towns are known for their music and live theater — art forms on steroids during the holidays.

“Downtown Nevada City holds its Victorian Christmas on Wednesday nights and Sunday afternoons through Dec. 21, where costumed carolers stroll along gas lamp-lit streets as the aroma of roasted chestnuts fills the air.

“Just outside town, Empire Mine State Historic Park punctuates the holiday experience. Docents dressed in elegant Victorian costumes host tours in the Bourn family mansion and working machine, wood and blacksmith shops.

“And since many mine workers were of Cornish descent, Grass Valley hosts an authentic Cornish Christmas on Friday and Dec. 19.

“With downtown streets closed, it takes on the aura of an old-fashioned Christmas with carolers, jugglers, musicians and plenty of handmade gifts for Santa to pack in his sleigh.

“What are your favorite local adventures? Drop me a line, and I’ll share them with readers. You can reach me at or online at”

To view the full article, click here.


“Nevada City’s Victorian Christmas:
47th annual Grass Valley Cornish Christmas:
Empire Mine State Historic Park:
Grass Valley lodging:,

(Source: San Jose Mercury News)

Daniel Tosh, Andy Samberg, Bobby Flay, Jerry Brown and other notables enjoy dining in our region

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When he was governor the first time around, Jerry Brown and singer Linda Ronstadt would eat at The Willo Steakhouse, a Nevada County institution on State Highway 49. The Willo has served more than 1 million choice New York Steaks, carefully aged and cut daily.

Comedian Andy Samberg also is a regular visitor to our region. Andy married Joanna Newsom of Nevada City last year. The newlyweds from Hollywood enjoyed Thanksgiving with friends and family in Nevada City.

The late Robin Williams had strong ties to North Lake Tahoe. “Aside from skiing, Williams also enjoyed dining out locally with family and friends,” as Squaw Valley Times owner Bill Jensen wrote this summer. “He was a regular customer at Wolfdale’s in Tahoe City and became close with owner/chef Douglas Dale.

“He started coming in about 20 years ago,” Dale told Jensen. “He liked to dine, he liked his food, he liked his wine. I once served him a roasted, stuffed pheasant breast and that became his favorite.”

This week comedian Daniel Tosh, who hosts the Comedy Central television show Tosh.O, enjoyed breakfast at the Squeeze In in Truckee. Tosh is performing on the South Shore this weekend.

In 2010 the Squeeze In was selected to be featured on “Throwdown with Bobby Flay” on the Food Network. The family owned restaurant was honored and humbled when world renowned celebrity Iron Chef Bobby Flay visited their restaurant and said they were “the nicest competitor in the history of Throwdown.”

For its part, Nevada County is hosting its first Restaurant Week January 23-February 1. Nevada County Tourism and, the official tourism website of Nevada County, in partnership with the Grass Valley Downtown Association, Greater Grass Valley Chamber, Nevada City Chamber, Penn Valley Area Chamber, South Nevada County Chamber, Truckee Donner Chamber and Sierra FoodWineArt magazine, are sponsors.

The event will be held in conjunction with Visit California’s statewide California Restaurant Month. During Nevada County Restaurant Week (Friday, January 23 to Sunday, February 1), restaurants located throughout the County will be offering “deals,” specials and prix-fixe menus enticing local “foodies” as well as visitors to come and experience a new restaurant, one of your favorites or both.

“As the top U.S. destination for culinary travel and one of the leading agricultural producers in the country, there is a vast array of culinary experiences to be found in California. There’s no better time to visit than during January’s California Restaurant Month, when this special program treats visitors to offers they won’t see any other time of the year,” says Caroline Beteta, Visit California president and CEO.

Below is a list of participating restaurants in Nevada County. Check back often to see which new restaurants have been added to the list and learn what special dining opportunities each restaurant will offer during Nevada County Restaurant Week.


Apple Alley Café
13469 Colfax Ave., Grass Valley (530) 273-9266

Bear River Pasta Co.
109 Bank St., Grass Valley (530) 274-1760

Charlie’s Café
145 So. Auburn St., Grass Valley (530) 274-1839

Christopher’s Old World Deli and Catering
206 West Main St., Grass Valley (530) 272-8919

Cirino’s at Main Street
215 West Main St., Grass Valley (530) 477-6000

Culture Shock Yogurt
106 Mill St., Grass Valley (530) 274-3442

Diegos Restaurant
217 Colfax Ave., Grass Valley (530) 477-1460

Happy Apple Kitchen
18532 Hwy. 174, Grass Valley (530) 273-2822

Kane’s Family Restaurant & Lounge
120 E. Main St., Grass Valley (530) 273-8111

Maria’s Mexican Restaurant
226 E. Main St., Grass Valley (530) 274-2040

Summer Thyme’s Bakery & Deli
231 Colfax Ave., Grass Valley (530) 273-2904
Breakfast Eggs Summer Thyme’s with a choice of any beverage ($10); The Ploughman’s Lunch: A Bowl of Soup with a chunk of Dubliner Cheddar, Salad and housemade ciabatta with any beverage (beer, wine, espresso, etc.) ($10)

Old Town Café
110 Mill St., Grass Valley (530) 273-4303

South Pine Cafe
102 N. Richardson St., Grass Valley, CA 95945 (530) 265-0260
Either a small freshly squeezed juice OR a natural house made soda with the purchase of an entree item if Restaurant Week is mentioned

The Owl Grill and Saloon
134 Mill St., Grass Valley (530) 274-1144

The Restaurant at The Holbrooke
212 W. Main St., Grass Valley (530) 273-1353

Tofanelli’s Restaurant
302 W. Main St., Grass Valley (530) 272-1468

Trattoria Milano
124 Bank St., Grass Valley (350) 273-3555


Bistro 221
221 Broad St., Nevada City (530) 265-0221
10% discount when Nevada County Restaurant Week is mentioned

Hoover’s Restaurant
211 Broad St., Nevada City (530) 265-4551
Complimentary glass of house wine or soda with purchase of entree

Lefty’s Grill
101 Broad St., Nevada City (530) 265-5838

Matteo’s Public
300 Commercial St., Nevada City (530) 265-0782
Complimentary glass of house wine or soft drink with purchase of dinner

Nevada City Classic Cafe
216 Broad St., Nevada City, CA 95959
20% off Christmas Card Club Sandwich

Old 5 Mile House Restaurant & Bar
18851 Hwy. 20, Nevada City (530) 265-5155

The Willo Steakhouse
16898 Hwy. 49, Nevada City (530) 265-9902

Three Forks Bakery & Brewing Co.
211 Commercial St., Nevada City, CA 95959 (530) 470-8333
A special prix-fixe seasonal pizza and salad with choice of Three Forks Beer


Blue Cow Deli
17500 Penn Valley Dr., Ste. A, Penn Valley, CA 95946 (530) 432-5500

Caleb’s Creamery
17329 Penn Valley Rd., Penn Valley, CA 95936 (530) 432-3129

Crazy for Yogurt
10136 Commercial Ave., Penn Valley, CA 95946 (530) 432-2490

Pleasant Valley Grill
10120 Commercial Ave., Penn Valley, CA 95946 (530) 432-9201

Tack Room
17356 Penn Valley Dr., Penn Valley, CA 95946 (530) 432-1126


Alta Sierra County Club
11897 Tammy Way, Grass Valley (530) 273-2868

Dark Horse Golf Club
24150 Dark Horse Dr., Auburn (530) 269-7900

El Agave Taqueria
10007 Combie Rd., Auburn, CA 95602 (530) 268-3554

Pacific Mountain Bike Works & Coffee
15686 Johnson Pl., Grass Valley (530) 274-2878

Round Table Pizza
10894 Combie Rd., Auburn (530) 268-0433


Cottonwood Restaurant and Bar
10142 Rue Hilltop Rd., Truckee (530) 587-5711

Diego’s in Truckee
10130 W. River St., Truckee (530) 550-9900
Burrito with chips and a drink for $7.50

JAX at the Tracks

10144 W. River St., Truckee (530) 550-7450

Marg’s World Taco Bistro
10164 Donner Pass Rd., Truckee (530) 587-6274

Moody’s Bistro, Bar & Beats
10007 Bridge St., Truckee (530) 587-8688

Morgan’s Lobster Shack & Fish Market
10089 W. River St., Truckee (530) 582-5000

2014 Sierra Master Chorale and Orchestra Holiday Concerts

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Capture the holiday spirit with the Sierra Master Chorale and Orchestra on Saturday evening December 20 and Sunday afternoon December 21 at the Seventh-day Adventist Church in Grass Valley.

“What sweeter music can be heard during the holidays than your favorite carols and joyful seasonal songs? My assistant Toon and I have created a program that is intended to leave the audience with the joy of the season coursing through them,” says SMC conductor and InConcert Sierra Artistic Director Ken Hardin.

One of the highlights of the concert will be the premiere of a work featuring a new twist on traditional carols arranged by assistant conductor and composer Toon Vandevorst, titled “Dances for the Season.” The work includes carols such as “Deck the Hall,” “O Little Town of Bethlehem,” “It Came Upon a Midnight Clear,” Lord of the Dance,” “Silent Night,” and “Angels We Have Heard on High” in the style of various dances like a bolero, waltz, habanera, and even a foxtrot.  “The dances are such clever and masterful arrangements… I think I might just want to dance right off the risers!” says alto chorister Dr. Mimi Vishoot.

The program also highlights a work by local composer Jerry Grant titled “Rejoice: Fantasia on a Hymn of John Reynolds” that adds even more enchantment.  “It’s magical and fun, sort of like we should be part of the Disneyland Electrical Parade,” says soprano Connie Dorland.  “So far we have only heard it with the piano accompaniment, but when the orchestra joins us, I’m going to have chills going down my spine.”  The orchestra will also play Vaughan Williams “Fantasia on Greensleeves,” and Victor Herbert’s “March of the Toys,” to enhance the show.

Other seasonal favorites on the program include John Rutter’s “What Sweeter Music,” Felix Mendelssohn’s “There Shall a Star Come Out of Jacob,” J.S. Bach’s “Jesu, Joy of Man’s Desiring,” and a traditional carol arranged by John Leavitt, “Sing We Now of Christmas.”

The holiday tradition wouldn’t be complete without audience participation sing-alongs, such as Irving Berlin’s “White Christmas” and John Wade’s “O Come all ye Faithful.” Singing with an orchestra is a joy for the choir, and it’s even more fun when the audience joins in.  “I have always relished the thought of conducting a 500-voice choir.  When I turn to conduct the audience for sing-alongs, I’m sure I radiate the joy I feel with everyone in the audience following me in song… another dream come true,” smiles Hardin.

The Sierra Master Chorale is a 70-voice auditioned choir conducted by Ken Hardin with assistant conductor Toon Vandevorst.  The orchestra includes 26 local and regional players with concertmaster Richard Altenbach.  The concerts are dedicated to the memory of SMC choristers Roberta Frank and Bill Derrick.

For more information and tickets, visit InConcert Sierra.

Read our Top Stories for 2014

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In case you missed any of them, here are some of our top stories in 2014. Enjoy!

Nevada City a finalist for America’s coolest small town. Nevada City was named of the the 15 finalists for America’s coolest small town, according to “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.” To read the full article and watch a video, click here.

Nevada City Snowboarder Evan Strong wins Gold Medal in Sochi Winter Paralympics Nevada City snowboarder Evan Strong won the inaugural Winter Paralympics men’s snowboard cross medal Friday in Sochi, Russia. The 27-year-old Strong had a total time of 1 minute, 43.61 seconds. To read the rest of the article, click here.

Sacramento Bee writes about Bridgeport Covered Bridge “The historic Bridgeport Covered Bridge on the South Yuba River is about to be fitted for a life-saving girdle,” writes the Sacramento Bee. To read the full article, click here.

New York Times lists Truckee-Tahoe among Top U.S. places to visit in 2014 This weekend’s New York Times has listed Truckee-Tahoe as one of the top 52 places in the world to visit in 2014. It is a reminder of our region’s world-class amenities. To read the rest of the article, click here.

Nevada County Restaurant Week January 23 – February 1 Nevada County Tourism and, the official tourism website of Nevada County, in partnership with the Grass Valley Downtown Association, Greater Grass Valley Chamber, Nevada City Chamber, Penn Valley Chamber, South County Chamber, Truckee Donner Chamber and Sierra FoodWineArt magazine, are excited to announce Nevada County Restaurant Week 2015. To read the rest of the article, click here.

Bierwagen’s Farm 24th Annual Pumpkin Patch & Harvest Festival 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. To read the rest of the article, click here.

What’s Up in Nevada County November through December 2014 Check out what’s happening throughout Nevada County from November through January. To read the rest of the article, click here.

Tour the HGTV Dream Home 2014 in Truckee starting January 9 Schaffer’s Mill in Truckee is proud to be the host community for the incredible HGTV Dream Home 2014. You can tour this amazing 3,200-square foot home beginning Thursday, January 9th and continuing every Thursday-Sunday from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. through Feburary 14th. To read the rest of the article, click here.

Nevada City named one of the 10 intriguing smalls towns in the USA 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,” states To read the full article, click here.

Amy Grant (watch video) and Jeff Bridges coming to Grass Valley The Center for the Arts announces Amy Grant and Jeff Bridges & The Abiders will be performing in Grass Valley. To read the rest of the article, click here.


Take a hike this fall! 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. To read the rest of the article, click here.

New Cornish Christmas commercial to be shown during “The Christmas Card” airings

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Grass Valley Downtown Association’s brand new Cornish Christmas commercial will be aired more than 100 times on the Hallmark Channel during the holiday season, including during the next eight broadcasts of “The Christmas Card.”

Click here to check broadcast times. Watch the Cornish Christmas commercial here:

Strawberry Music Festival returns to Nevada County Fairgrounds in May 2015!

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“Great news folks! We could not be happier to announce that the Spring 2015 Strawberry Music Festival is taking place at the Nevada County Fairgrounds on Memorial Day weekend – Thursday, May 21st through Sunday, May 24th. We’ve already got some great music in the works and look forward to more exciting announcements regarding lineup and ticket sales beginning before Christmas. The office will be closing at noon today for Thanksgiving and will reopen on Tuesday, December 2nd.
Wishing you and yours a happy and safe holiday,
Strawberry Staff”

Enjoy a hike this holiday season

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It’s the holidays! Get outdoors with family, friends and Bear Yuba Land Trust. ‘Tis the season for holiday treks and outings with Bear Yuba Land Trust (BYLT) with just four more events scheduled for the remainder of 2014.

“BYLT’s 2014 Treks program was the most ambitious year yet. With almost 80 outings, lectures, classes, and community events we enticed over 1000 people to get outdoors and learn something new about our beautiful Sierra Nevada homeland. In 2015, with our 25th Anniversary just around the corner, we have many more special events and outings planned. Happy holidays and happy trails!,” said Community Program Manager Melony Vance.

The holiday lineup kicks off this Friday, Nov. 28, the day after Thanksgiving, with the 5th Annual Turkey Trek. It’s a perfect opportunity to get off the couch, call friends or grab the kids and head out for a hike.

BYLT will host this year’s unguided, free, no-reservation-required hike from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. on the Loma Rica Trail. Meet at the Horsemen’s Arena at the intersections of Brunswick Rd, Town Talk Rd, and Bubbling Wells Rd just south of the Brunswick Basin. The trail starts out along Brunswick Road, crosses over Idaho Maryland Rd, and ascends across a meadow and through the woods, ending at Loma Rica Road.

This mostly level, easy walk is approximately three miles round trip. Remember to bring water, layered clothing and good hiking shoes.

Next up, amateur historian Brian Bisnett will lead the first ever BYLT Salmon Spawning Trek on the Yuba River near the town of Smartsville from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Saturday, Dec. 6. This adventure begins at the Blue Point Mine then heads to Rose Bar to see the salmon and learn about fishery remediation efforts. From there, trekkers will loop back toward the mine, stopping to check out the Blue Point tunnel exit and air shaft. This is a level, moderate four mile hike.

Space is limited and requires registration and pre-payment. $12 BYLT members, $17 Not-yet-members.

Joe Medeiros, a biologist at Sierra College and Editor of the Sierra College Press will lead BYLT’s last Armchair Trek of the year, Sierra Superlatives from 7 to 8:30 p.m. Thursday, Dec. 11 in the Gene Albaugh Community Room at the Madelyn Helling Library in Nevada City.

Medeiros’ slide-illustrated lecture program focuses on the majesty of the four hundred mile long, three miles high, Sierra Nevada. John Muir’s “Range of Light” is home to the highest peak in the lower 48 states, glaciers, giant sequoias and thousands of species of plants and animals. Medeiros has taught college biology, botany and ecology for more than 35 years and has hiked and photographed the mountain range for even longer.

There are no reservations required, for this armchair trek with a suggested donation of $10.

The Land Trust will wrap up its 2015 trekking program with a free trek on Empire Mine State Historic Park’s Union Hill Trails on Tuesday, Dec. 16. This is a level, moderately easy 3 mile loop. Meet at the Gold Hill Trailhead adjacent to the parking area at the end of Gold Hill Drive. Bring water, dress for the weather and wear good walking shoes.

This hike is the final in a year-long monthly series called Treks on Tuesday, celebrating the trails mapped and described on BYLT’s online Trails Portal and printed in a collection of laminated trail cards available at area retailers. BYLT’s popular trail cards can be found at: Nevada City Chamber of Commerce, Outside Inn, The Earth Store, Mountain Recreation and BYLT’s office.

Besides conserving 9,000 acres of land within the Bear and Yuba watersheds for farms, wildlife corridors and healthy forests, Bear Yuba Land Trust is committed to getting people outdoors to connect with nature. To date, BYLT has built more than 35 miles of local trails and regularly provides opportunities for people to engage with the land. Stay tuned for another great lineup in 2015 as BYLT invites the community to come together to celebrate 25 years of saving land.

Learn more about local hiking trails here. For more information, visit or contact Melony Vance at or 272-5994 x200.

Music in the Mountains presents special holiday concert for children

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Music in the Mountains understands that kids don’t always have the capacity to sit still for the length of a full concert, but they love to get in the spirit too! This concert is schedule to be about 45 minutes in length and geared for children. They’ll hear some great holiday music and get a chance to meet Santa! For this special concert, we’re partnering with the Nevada County Food and Toy Run! Bring a non-perishable food item or unwrapped toy and help us make the holidays brighter for Nevada County families. For more information,

47th annual Cornish Christmas Celebration in Downtown Grass Valley


Recapture the spirit of Christmas past amid the charming surroundings of historic downtown Grass Valley California during the annual Cornish Christmas Celebration. Started in 1967 as a way to preserve Grass Valley’s Cornish heritage and holiday traditions, Cornish Christmas remains one of the city’s most popular events.

Mill and West Main Streets are closed to motorized traffic and filled with the sights and sounds of an old fashioned Christmas; carolers, jugglers, musicians, the Grass Valley Cornish Carol Choir, Tommyknocker Cloggers and of course, Santa Claus. Handmade arts and craft from artists throughout California are displayed on our historic downtown Grass Valley streets.

Delicious food and drink can be purchased from a number of Grass Valley restaurants and specialty food vendors. Retail stores are open for your holiday purchases as well.

Friday nights November 28 through December 19, 2014 from 6 to 9 p.m.

This year we are offering a FREE shuttle service from the Nevada County Fairgrounds to downtown Grass Valley. Click here for directions to free shuttle!

For more information, visit

New article by Bay Area travel writer about Tess’ Kitchen Store’s Chef’s Dinners

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Bay Area travel writer Carole Terwillger Meyers recently visited Nevada County and wrote an blog item about her experience at Tess’ Kitchen Store’s Chef’s Dinner.

“This gigantic gourmet kitchen store sprawls over three levels. It is by far the largest such store I have seen, and stocks both the latest and the greatest as well as the tried and true. Among the goods are a large selection of knives, locally-made wood cutting boards, and pots and pans galore.

“In addition to the hands-on cooking classes scheduled in the basement kitchen, Chef’s Dinners are offered one per month by reservation. These expansive dinners are prepared by multi-talented chef Alan Tangren, who formerly was on the staff at Chez Panisse, taught meteorology at U.C. Davis, and was raised on a local farm! Dinners are limited to ten participants and consist of five courses that are paired with local wines, plus a concluding course paired with coffee. Diners sit on stools at a high marble counter—all the better to watch the preparations, listen to interesting stories between courses, and eat each item as it is ready. Dinners sell out fast so plan ahead.”

To read the rest of the article, click visit

(Article and photos: Carole Terwilliger Meyers, Weekend Adventures Update and