A Memorable Weekend Trip to Jamestown and Yosemite
By Rich Borell
Hello Everyone, I want to share with you a recent long weekend getaway my wife and I took. This road trip took us to the Gold Country, where we enjoyed fascinating historic Jamestown and the most breathtaking views of Yosemite National Park.
Our trip started out Friday around noon to beat the Bay Area getaway crowd. We had accommodations for Friday evening, just outside of Jamestown, at the Jackson Rancheria Hotel & Casino. We really want to extend a warm thank you for a great room.
While driving up to Jackson, my wife always wanted to visit Daffodil Hill located in Volcano, CA, a few miles outside of Jackson. It’s the perfect time of year since all the daffodils are in full bloom. If you’re in the area traveling, this is a great place to get out and stretch and walk through the gorgeous gardens. You will see some rather loud and colorful peacocks, too, as you walk along the path.
Daffodil Hill is open only in the spring, usually from the end of March through the first three weeks of April … best of all, admission and parking are free.
From there, we drove to the hotel to settle in for the evening, grab a bite; yes, pay our dues on the casino floor; and, of course, do some shopping in the gift shop. Our Saturday morning started out with a quick bite in the café, and then it was on to the Gold Country.
Our first stop was Angels Camp, also known as the City of Angels. The story goes that Mark Twain based one of his short stories, “The Celebrated Jumping Frog of Calaveras County”, from a story he had heard here in 1865.
Thus, a great reason to celebrate every year with the jumping Frog Jubilee each May at the Calaveras County Fairgrounds. Some say that Angels Camp other name is “Frog Town” – now you know why!
Angels Camp is a very historic town … I’d suggest definitely stopping by the Angels Camp Museum to get the scoop on the town. The hours are Thursday – Monday from 10AM – 4PM.
From Angels Camp we drove to Jamestown. This amazing town is filled with many historic homes and buildings near Main Street. The first gold here was discovered by Benjamin Wood, who had come from Oregon. The crossing and also Woods Creek, which runs through Sonora and Jamestown, were named in honor of him. This was in the early summer of 1848; just a few months before, the famous gold discovery took place at Sutter’s Mill about 100 miles north, which started the Gold Rush. Jamestown is the home of the Railtown 1897 State Historic Park; and for you TV buffs, the TV shows, “The Wild Wild West” and “Green Acres”, were filmed in and near Jamestown.
If you visit the Gold Country, I’d definitely make time to visit Jamestown, park your car, step back in time and walk the street. I’d suggest dining at the Willow Steak House (established 1864), where the builders of the Sierra Railway once hung out in the bar. If you decide to stay in Jamestown, there are several historic hotels, including the Royal Carriage Inn, the National Hotel and the Jamestown Hotel.
After our stop in Jamestown, we continued for another hour’s drive to Yosemite National Park. There are several choices for lodging. We decided to stay at the Yosemite Westgate Lodge. Normally, you would want to spend 3-4 days in the park; however, we didn’t have that much time. We did work in some of the most famous areas like Half Dome which is Yosemite’s most familiar rock formation. A “must” is getting a view from the viewpoint at Valley View; there, visitors can take in Yosemite Valley in its entirety. Clearly visible are the original lines formed by the glacier which carved out the valley. Of course, there’s Bridalveil Fall. It’s just a short hike on a paved trail and you’re right up to the front of the waterfall.
Another “must” is El Capitan – a giant granite rock that stands more than 3,000 feet from the base... a great thrill, I’m sure, for the rock climbers of the world.
The beauty of Yosemite is astonishing, whether you have a day or a week. One visit and you’ll gladly want to come back again and again!