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Trip Report Yosemite and Hwy 49 - short getaway

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A short trip report for a short trip. I had the chance to get away last weekend for 4 days and decided to hit some of the southern Hwy 49 towns w/ an overnight in Sonora and then 3 days/2 nights in Yosemite.

Sunday Mar. 14: Left Sacramento Sunday morning around 9:30 and headed down the Jackson highway to Hwy 49. First stop in Amador City - it was surprisingly active for a Sunday morning. For those who haven't been, Amador City is a really tiny place on a bend of the road. Just a handful of gold rush era buildings w/ wooden sidewalks. There were lots of folks wandering through all the shops and the couple of cafes I checked out. It was a glorious spring-like day. I bought a few things in a gallery and gift shop and headed south to Sutter Creek.

Sutter Creek is a larger place than Amador City w/ more shops and places to eat, but it has the same basic vibe. Gold rush houses and other buildings converted to shops, wine bars, and cafes. Both towns seem to be riding out the down economy pretty well. I was pleased to see lots of activity and few shuttered places.

Then I drove down to Columbia - arriving around 2 PM. Columbia State Historic Park is an intact gold rush town where the central district is car-less and maintained/preserved by the State Parks Department. There are buckboard and stage coach rides, street musicians, old buildings, a museum and shops/cafes. I had a late lunch of quiche/salad in a small cafe in a really cute Victorian cottage (can't remember the name of the place :( ). It's probably been 20 years since I've been to Columbia and it was good to see it is still in good nick. W/ the dire CA State budget problems, you never know what to expect.

http://www.parks.ca.gov/?page_id=552
http://www.columbiacalifornia.com/

After a couple of hours wandering around, watching the black smiths,etc I headed the short distance over to Sonoma and the Gunn House Hotel. Mine was one of the smaller budget rooms upstairs on the wrap around veranda. I took the cheapest option since I would be splurging a bit in Yosemite. The room was small but very clean and very well decorated. Lots of decorator pillows and even a teddy bear. The bathroom was as large as the bedroom was small. There are rocking chairs/tables on the veranda overlooking the main street. And they serve a large combo continental/cooked breakfast in a nice breakfast room. Lots of cold choices plus Belgian waffles cooked to order. It isn't the poshest place - but a bargain IMO at only $79 a night http://www.gunnhousehotel.com/

Sunday was the last day of the annual Sonora Celtic Faire. There is a big Irish/Cornish/Scottish/Welsh influence all through the gold rush region and the Celtic fair draws pretty big crowds. I didn't get into town until nearly 5PM so I didn't go out to the fairgrounds -- but several folks garbed out in kilts and sporrans and skean dhu's were staying at the hotel and at the steak/BBQ place across the street.

Next installment: 3 days at Yosemite Lodge/Dinner at the Ahwahnee . . .

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