Monday, February 13, 2017

COLUMBIA, THE GEM OF THE... California High Country

California High County

In the fall of 2016 Richard and I winged our way north on the I-5 in search of gold country, not in a covered wagon, but in my Highlander Hybrid SUV.  We stopped in Sacramento to connect with brother Bob and sister-in-law, Nguyen then made our way to California High Country and our latest road trip adventure...  We camped at Angel's Camp, Mark Twain's old stomping grounds.  Well, not exactly "camped" as we had a two bedroom, two bath condo at the Worldmark resort with a fabulous terrace overlooking a gorgeous 18 hole golf course... 
 ... where deer wandered below...
...but back to the topic at hand...

... we toured the High Sierras 
 and various mining towns, lunched amid the sequoias, waded in glacial lakes...

 ... and lived through a horrific traffic jam situation at Yosemite which prevented us from entering the Valley (another story - another blog).. but on our last day in Gold Rush country we discovered, almost by accident, the historic mining town of Columbia, and a gem it is.

And, to our surprise, the old City Hotel Restaurant, in the still operational charming City Hotel was open for lunch...
The hotel and restaurant's decor was perfect, taking you back to a different time we only know from books and movies (unless you're very, very, very old)... 
The menu by chef and co-owner Christopher Segarini was a cross between today and yesterday - from tomato bruschetta made on grilled Kalamata roasted red pepper bread with pesto, baby heirloom tomatoes and drizzled with Hurst Ranch olive oil and reduced balsamic... to fish & chips and burgers... a food writer's delight.

We had bloody Marys to start, then I had to try sarsaparilla, a kind of root beer with licorice "notes."

Dressed in period garb, Clover (the perfect name for the era) was our warm and friendly waitress.  Our lunch consisted of a couple of crisp wedge salads with blue cheese, bacon and tomato...

 Some Cajun fried chicken legs and thighs...

And for me, the cheese-aholic, grilled Colby cheese that oozed out of toasted sourdough bread and into your mouth when you bit into it.  Heaven.

It was a drizzly day, but that didn't stop of us from touring the town...take the tour with me.

The assayer's office

The assayer's office
The blacksmith
Boarding house where miners stayed
even a bowling alley
 candy store - most candies made in the "back"

the emporium

A location for "High Noon" - that's the buckboard used in the movie

Inside the jail

The schoolhouse
My favorite building - the newspaper office
The livery
Even the Masons came to town
The old General Store
The hearse inside the wagon stable
exterior of the wagon stable
inside the wagon stable
Wells Fargo, of course

If you find yourself exploring California's High Country and mining towns make sure you don't miss Columbia.  Say hello to Clover for us.