An attractive, design-forward town that makes a great base camp for exploring the region.
Easily the most “happening” of Amador County’s Gold Country towns, Sutter Creek has a 19th-century Main Street so picturesque it could be a stage set. But Sutter Creek isn’t stuck in the past; it has become something of a destination for design-conscious visitors, with a wealth of furniture and arts-and-crafts shops carrying a global, if eclectic, sensibility. Most visitors to the area make Sutter Creek their base camp for exploring Amador County. Sutter Creek Visitors Center: 71A Main St., (209) 267-1344, suttercreek.org. Area code is 209.
Located in an old brewery, Chaos Glassworks is a working glassblowing studio and gallery. Like a Dale Chihuly exhibit without the crowds, the works on display are a riot of fluid form, and the artists, David and Heather Hopman, are friendly and accessible. 121A Hanford St. (old Highway 49), 267-9317. Sutter Gold Mine is about as hands-on as history gets. Put on a hard hat and go underground to tour the tunnels of this hard-rock mine, which operated until 1989. 13660 Hwy. 49, between Amador City and Sutter Creek, (866) 762-2837, caverntours.com.
Design mavens visit Sutter Creek just to see what’s new at Water Street Antiques & Interiors, which recently expanded to fill a former car dealership at the southernmost end of town. Best known for imported European pine furniture, the shop now houses a worldwide selection that’s a paean to color and texture, with iridescent Indian textiles, rainbow-hued glassware, painted furniture, and more. 33C Main St., 267-0585.
The soothing sound of flowing water greets you as you duck under strings of twinkling lights into the garden patio of Susan’s Place Wine Bar & Eatery, a favorite destination for healthy, Mediterranean−inspired cuisine with a West Coast twist. Salads are a specialty, and the grilled eggplant stands out. 15 Eureka St., 267-0945, susansplace.com/index.htm. The kind of European-style cheese shop you’d be more likely to find in Berkeley’s Gourmet Ghetto than in the Sierra foothills, Sutter Creek Cheese Shoppe reflects the changes coming to this town. A sandwich board on the sidewalk lists the day’s new arrivals or specials; cheese fondue is served some winter weekend afternoons. 33B Main St., 267-5457, suttercreekcheese.com.
To find a place to stay, visit AAA.com/hotels.
Photography by Eleanor Caputo
Check out the rest of our California Gold Country package:
Amador City: Antiques and boutiques
Angels Camp: More than Mark Twain
Jackson: Main Street meets mining town
Murphys: Tasting rooms and gold lore
Plymouth: Top-notch eats and wines
This article was first published in September 2011. Some facts may have aged gracelessly. Please call ahead to verify information.