Columbia comes as close to a gold-rush town in its heyday as any site in the Gold Country. Usually, you can ride a stagecoach, pan for gold, and watch a blacksmith working at an anvil. Street musicians perform in summer. Restored or reconstructed buildings include a Wells Fargo Express office, a Masonic temple, an old-fashioned candy store, saloons, a firehouse, churches, a school, and a newspaper office. At times, all are staffed to simulate a working 1850s town. The
park also includes the must-stop, Historic Fallon House Theater, where Broadway-quality shows are performed Wednesday through Sunday—Mark Twain once performed in this gorgeous Victorian structure. The town's two 19th-century historic lodgings, the Fallon Hotel ($) and City Hotel ($–$$) perch you in the past; to reserve a hotel or cottage go to www.reserveamerica.com.