I started this posting the day after Thanksgiving it is about time I finish it!
My Father lives in California near Placerville. We have been going there for Thanksgiving for a while now. We were all from Southern California originally, but back in the 90's they moved way up there into the hills above Sacramento. For the Past few years we have been enjoying the Christmas Festivities in Placerville's old town section.
The sad part of this is that my dad lives alone now. My mom passed away a year and a half ago which makes this all a little hard. Mom had everything ready for us when we got there so we could get a nice family Thanksgiving dinner ready to be made. The last few years she would let me help make the meal. Momma didn't always let other people in her kitchen. I was still working in North Dakota last year and we had just moved up to Washington State so only I could make it down there to be with dad on his first Thanksgiving without my mom. It couldn't have been sadder going to the restaurants that Mom and Dad use to go to and the wait staff asking him where his wife was.
Placerville Ca. is the county seat of Eldorado County California, and is one of the epicenters of the 1849 Gold Rush. It is about 15 miles from Sutter's Mill where the California Gold Rush got started. There are tons of old towns and gold mine camps around with names on the map for places like, Fiddletown, Whiskytown, Pokertown and one of my favorites Volcano. I blogged about that town a couple of years ago.
If you are into Antiques Placerville has quite a few shop to look at. Being the nostalgia junkies we are the cute girlfriend and I love this place.
Our trip here was a little rough. Left our home in Southern Washington about 5pm and got stuck in horrible traffic in Portland Oregon. That set us behind and we had to spend the night in Grants Pass Oregon. I have not had a lot of luck with Motel 6 and from this point on Tom Bodet can turn off the light for me because I won't be going back to them for a while. We get a room at the Grants Pass Motel six and it is like grand central station there. When we got in the room the heater was on and the room was around 90 Deg. and the place took for ever to cool down. You could also hear ever bit of noise passing by our door, and at 4am when the toilet in the room backed up causing a nightmare we had had enough of them and left.
We did get to have Breakfast at one of our favorite diners. We try to stop at any Black Bear Diners that we see in our travels. They have them all up and down the west coast. Kind of a rustic Americana set up inside these diners that we get a kick out of.
Our poor truck does not sit well for the cute girlfriend so we had to stop a few times to let her stretch her legs. At one stop we walked out with an extra 6 bucks from the Casino we stopped at. We made it to Placerville around 1pm Turkeyday and had lunch with my dad. Later about dusk we went down to a local restaurant and had a Turkey dinner.
The Day after Thanksgiving is fun time up there in those hills. After the gold miners left someone started planting apple orchards up on all the hills. Later some other Entrepreneurs started growing pine trees and vineyards. The pine trees of course are Christmas trees. This area is Known as Apple Hill and it seams that the people of the Sacramento area have the tradition of coming up the day after Thanksgiving and getting a fresh cut Christmas Tree and stopping at these Apple Orchards. Some of the large Apple Orchards have Crafts sellers in tents around their apple shops and it looks like a big fair.
A couple years back we started counting the Christmas Trees on top of cars (some have 2 or 3 trees on their car roofs), we hadn't clued in on all the Christmas Tree Farms up there on Apple Hill yet. It started out as a gag of sorts and turned into a fun game. My son use to go up there with us, so I texted him with the word "one" to see if he got the joke. He didn't....lol, he got it when I told him about the Christmas Trees up by my dads.
I found this shingle at one of the shops on Apple Hill.
On the day after Thanksgiving the town of Placerville closes down Main Street and has a huge tree lighting ceremony. They have a large pine tree across from the Court House and main street is filled with people to watch the lighting of the tree. It is not really a spectacular tree like some of the gaudy things that you see in the malls, but it is very Christmasy.
The old part of Placerville has some very old buildings in it. They really play up the old west for Christmas. They have this old horse drawn stage coach that they decorate for the Holidays with two pine trees strapped on top destined for some old west homes parlor for their Christmas Tree and usually some modern Christmas lights twinkling on the back of the luggage cover. There are a few people that get into the spirit of the old west and come to town all Cowboy'd up. There are caramel corn booths and face painting booths.
All the shops are packed with people. The old General Store/Hardware Store is a very cool place and we spend almost an hour in there alone.
We were going to bring my dad along with us but he bowed out. It was packed full of people so he probably wouldn't have liked that. Just going from shop to shop was like a salmon going up stream.
Look what showed up in Dad's yard the day after Thanksgiving, I'm telling you they know when to hide!
If you are ever in the Placerville area during Thanksgiving do go to the town and get some old time Christmas spirit in you. If you are a Thomas Kincaid fan they have a huge shop there. He lived there in his youth and some of his paintings are of some of the old Victorian Homes in Placerville during the Christmas time. Some of Kincaid's most treasured Christmas paintings are set in Placerville.
The Saturday after Thanksgiving we have gone exploring to some of the cool old gold mining towns there in Gold Country. One of those places is Sutter Creek Ca. The buildings on Main Street are from right out of the 1800's.
In the past the cute girlfriend and I would go our by ourselves, or maybe with my son or daughter on these explorations. My mom couldn't get around to well in her later years so they always stayed home, not that we didn't invite them.
This time I talked my dad into going with us to Sutter Creek. It was a good ride and outing for him. We walked through some of the shops. He is not really a nostalgia junky like the cute girlfriend and I, so he was not getting why we were in some of these antique shops. Some of these antiques he had used when he was a kid so big whoop, been there done that right?
It was good to get him out of the house and into the fresh air but all the walking and stair climbing was taking it's toll on him so he bowed out towards the end and went back to our truck to wait for us. We speed browsed through the last two antique shops and met him back at the truck. I'm happy we got to have him with us, he needs to get out more. We took home a few things from a craft fair that was at the town auditorium, but that was all. Not to many, "Oh you have to have" Antiques in the shops right now.
It was a good visit with dad, but sadly we had to leave early Sunday morning to head back to Washington. The drive home was uneventful, except when we stopped at a casino in Oregon called the Seven Feathers and I walked away from one game with a couple hundred extra bucks.
Christmas was now in full swing!