The Quartz Mountain Stage Line coach rolls onto Main Street in Columbia, California.
Time travel is possible! Revisit Gold Rush history in a Sierra foothill town where the shops and people take you back to the wild and woolly West of the 1850s.
TO DO AND SEE East Sonora Theatre Sept. 4–27: Bus Stop, William Inge's play about love and loneliness. Oct. 30–Dec. 13: Little Women: The Musical, based on Louisa May Alcott's classic novel. 13891 Mono Way, Sonora, 532-3120, sierrarep.org. Fallon House Theater Oct. 2–25: No Sex Please, We're British, a farce about two newlyweds. 11175 Washington St., 532-3120, sierrarep.org. Quartz Mountain Stage Line Hop aboard a horse-drawn stagecoach and get held up by bandits. Wells Fargo & Co. Express, Main Street, 588-0808, qmcarriage.com.
SHOPPING Columbia Candle & Soap Works Aromatic candles and soaps in scents such as lavender, cinnamon, and pink grapefruit. 11198 State St., 536-9047, columbiacandle.com.Nelson's Columbia Candy Kitchen House-made sweets from family recipes include white chocolate California bears, pine nut rolls, and rocky road. Main Street, 532-7886, columbiacandykitchen.com. Parrott's Blacksmith Watch a smithy pull hot metal from the coal-burning forge and turn it into dinner bells, wall brackets, iron candle-sticks, and other household items. You can also buy a personally engraved lucky horseshoe. Main Street, 532-4474.
EATS Azzo's California cuisine with Mediterranean flair: artichoke fritters, duck scaloppine, pasta, and desserts. 18228 Main St., Jamestown, 984-1173, azzosrestaurant.com. Brown's Coffee House and Sweets Saloon Sandwiches, miner's pizza bread, and (for canine visitors) honey blossom dog cookies. Main Street, 532-1850. Diamondback Grill Entrées include buffalo burgers and sesame-crusted tuna. 93 S. Washington St., Sonora, 532-6661, thediamondbackgrill.com.
SIPS Twisted Oak Winery Tempranillo and viognier. 350 Main St., Murphys, 736 -9080, twistedoak.com.
SLEEPS Columbia Gem Motel From $89. A 1940s motor court. 22131 Parrotts Ferry Rd., 532-4508, columbiagem.com/business/gem. Sterling Gardens Bed and Breakfast From $125. Four rooms, plus gourmet breakfasts. 18047 Lime Kiln Rd., Sonora, 533-9300, sterlinggardens.com.
EVENTS Poison Oak Show Sept. 26. Prizes for the nastiest rash. St. Charles Saloon, Main Street, 533-4656. Fiddle & Banjo Contest Oct. 3. Free performances. 536-1672. Harvest Festifall Oct. 10–11. Handcrafted items. 533-1672.
GET GOING Request the Northern California & Nevada TourBook and the Gold Country and Sonora-Tuolumne County Communities maps at AAA.com or any AAA branch office. For more information, contact Columbia State Historic Park at 588-9128 or Columbia Chamber of Commerce at 536-1672 or visit columbiacalifornia.com.
Photography by Roger J. Wyan
This article was first published in September 2009. Some facts may have aged gracelessly. Please call ahead to verify information.