Gold was discovered at Sutter's Mill in Coloma, California in 1848 and inquisitive tourists have been exploring the old mining towns of California ever since.
Today, striking it rich in the gold country means finding luxury vacation accommodations at reasonable prices. We staked our claim at the Eden Vale Inn B&B, and this is why...
We drove from San Francisco to the Eden Vale Inn in about two hours.
The Eden Vale Inn is located in the heart of the Gold Country in Placerville, California. It affords a superb base camp for tourists interested in gold history and exploring the many sites of beautiful El Dorado County.
The Inn is just minutes away from the Gold Discovery State Park in Coloma, the location of Sutter's Mill.
The Inn is a quiet retreat nestled in the foothills and surrounded by acres and acres of picturesque landscapes and gardens.
Entering the long wooded driveway, our instincts told us we were headed for a splendid retreat. What we did not know was the level of quality and comfort that awaited us beyond the trees.
The driveway ends in a circle, just a few feet from the countrified entrance to the main building.
As we stepped from the car, we were summarily greeted by the Inn's inquisitive cat. He lingered just long enough to satisfy his curiosity and was off to resume his place in the sun.
A warm welcome
Innkeepers Mark and Gayle Hamlin welcomed us from the wooden doorway of the hay barn - now converted into a chic auberge for discerning guests.
After unloading our luggage, we were treated to a tour of the well-appointed public spaces and the strategically positioned guest facilities on the estate.
The innkeepers are justifiably proud of the evolution and utter transformation of their property from laboring farm to country elegant B&B. They have created a very comfortable vacation getaway.
At present, there are seven tastefully decorated sleeping quarters to choose from, each is unique and features all the updated modern amenities such as computerized lighting, fireplaces, free telephone and internet connections, large showers, private outdoor patios, and spa tubs.
The Inn has a charming Spa Studio located in a separate building just to the right of the main lodge. If you are seeking a place to rejuvenate your mind and body, this is it.
Treatments are combined with the latest relaxation and wellness techniques, and all are personalized to suit individual tastes and needs. NOTE: To avoid disappointment, be sure to schedule your spa treatments in advance of your visit.
A most appealing attraction
We have not had the pleasure of staying at a B&B that included the prospect of a cool dip in a country watering hole - until now. The Eden Vale pond complete with trout and a colorful rowboat, is most inviting and harkens images of early-times, skinny-dipping, and basket picnic lunches.
Time for dinner
After touring all the sites around the Inn, we were getting hungry and decided to dine at the Café Mahjaic, which is not far away in the tiny town of Lotus. The Café came highly recommended, and as it turns out - for good reason.
Like most everything in the area, this restaurant has a familiar gold country ambiance. Located in a brick building constructed in 1855, the vibrant eatery exudes a comfortable atmosphere and a culinary reflection of many ethnicities. The eclectic menu emphasizes local and seasonal ingredients that will satisfy the fussiest of palates.
Check out their Pork Tenderloin roasted with a chili cashew crust and a mango-lime chipotle sauce, and served with garlic-mashed potatoes.
Another unusual offering is Chocolate Chipotle Prawns sautéed in a Scharffen Berger chocolate, brown sugar, and chipotle sauce, served with avocado and a white cheddar lime risotto cake - uh, huh!
For reservations look at their website *here*
Evening by the fire
After a long day of exploring, it was nice to return to the Eden Vale Inn to sit around the crackling outdoor fire-pit and talk about the day's discoveries and tomorrow's agenda. When the wine was gone, it was off to slumber-land in paradise.
A healthy and robust breakfast is included in the price of lodging at the Eden Vale Inn. There is an ample assortment of start-your-day home-cooked goodies to satisfy the health conscious and pickiest foodies.
Many of the ingredients of our gastronomical morning delights were grown right there in the Inn's extensive garden. Everything was delicious - and the fresh brewed coffee was divine.
If you go
If you like your lodging full of local color - and more like an elegant mountain retreat than a downtown hotel - this is the place for you. Full of rural splendor, we highly recommend the Eden Vale Inn, and anxiously await our next opportunity to visit.
Like gold, the Eden Vale Inn it is not easy to find, but well worth it when you do. It is situated less than an hour east of Sacramento just off California Highway 50 - the frequented route to Lake Tahoe. For specific directions look at their website at www.EdenValeInn.com or call Mark or Gayle toll free at 866-914-8445.
A unique area
We suggest taking the time for a family or romantic getaway to El Dorado County. It's a pleasant drive from San Francisco and offers a special vibe only available in the Gold Country of California.
Gold helped make California what it is today. It's fun to see how it all happened.
For more information about beautiful El Dorado Country and its attractions, their website is *here*
If you like this article, and want to learn more about the California Gold Country, sign-up for our articles by clicking on the subscribe button near our byline photo. In the near future, we will write about, and present photographs of more Gold Country adventures - including the annual Gold Discovery Day celebration, and a gold mine deep inside a mountain.
© Travels with Wayne and Judy Bayliff
Photos © Wayne and Judy Bayliff
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