Springtime in Nevada City

SPRING IS A GLORIOUS TIME TO visit the Gold Rush towns in the foothills, and few are more picturesque and enjoyable than Nevada City. Wildflowers are in full bloom on surrounding hillsides and alongside the wild and scenic South Yuba River.

The 56th annual Nevada City Bicycle Classic is on Father’s Day, June 19. It is one of the premier sporting events in the foothills, and the largest and oldest bike race on the West Coast.

For outdoor enthusiasts, the Nevada City area—bordering the Tahoe National Forest and Yuba River—offers walking, hiking and mountain biking trails for every taste, age and ability.

For biking enthusiasts, the Tour of Nevada City Bicycle Shop at 457 Sacramento Street is staffed by knowledgeable and experienced biking enthusiasts, who can provide advice and offer rentals, repair, and many types of bikes, including road bikes, mountain bikes and touring bikes. It is the host bike shop of the Nevada City Bicycle Classic.

Along with the Tahoe National Forest, Scotts Flat Lake is popular for hiking, biking, picnicking, boating and fishing. Located off Hwy. 20, east of Nevada City, Scotts Flat (elev. 3100 ft.) offers a beautiful setting amid thickly forested mountains. The 850-acre lake has a 7.5-mile shoreline with nearly 200 campsites, two boat launch areas and a marina.

If a stroll around an historic downtown is more to a visitor’s liking or as a “pre-camping” activity, Nevada City is home to a diverse mix of galleries, artisan boutiques, retail shops, wine tasting rooms and restaurants.

Earth Day is April 22. At 310 Broad Street, The Earth Store features unique natural gifts, clothing and educational toys. “I was drawn to Nevada City—the river, the mountains the trees,” says owner Leea Davis. “But one has to work, so I opened The Earth Store.”

The Earth Store carries birdhouses and feeders, wind chimes, weather instruments, minerals and fossils, binoculars and compasses, Audubon guide books, local hiking books, maps and more.

Just down the street at 300 Broad Street, Asylum Down sells natural fiber clothing, accessories, international gifts, and children’s items. “Asylum Down is one of the coolest shops in Nevada City,” says one Bay Area visitor. “They have unique items from many countries.”

At 228 Broad Street, Roi Lynn Arnold and her daughter Lize Hottegindre have created a store called Abstrakt. The store offers attractive, eclectic and contemporary clothing at affordable prices, plus accessories (belts, purses, jewelry, scarves) to make the outfit complete. Most of the clothing is American made.

In the mood for another fun store? For mountain pastimes—literally—at a campsite, motel room or back home, Mountain Pastimes at 320 Spring Street has been selling toys, board games, puzzles, kites, yo-yo’s and magic tricks for more than 25 years. It is a classic toy store and hobby shop, not a chain. It hosts yo-yo workshops and other fun activities.

Spring Street also is home to Nevada City Winery, Nevada County’s largest winemaker. Now in its 38th year, the winery is under new leadership and undergoing the largest capital expansion in its history. The tasting room, at 321 Spring St., has been updated, and its hours have been expanded to 8 p.m. on Fridays and Saturdays.

Along with the Nevada City Winery, The National Hotel, located at 211 Broad Street, is one of the town’s oldest businesses. It is a registered historical landmark and the oldest continuously operating hotel and saloon in the west. The menu at its Hoover’s Restaurant, where tables are softly lit by oil lamps, includes prime rib, steak and lobster tail.

After repeat trips to Nevada City, some visitors decide to stay. One of the area’s most prominent and respected real estate brokers is Mimi Simmons, a fifth generation Nevada County native who has been selling real estate since 1984. She dedicates herself full time at ERA Cornerstone Realty Group at 101 Boulder Street and has repeatedly been a top producer for Nevada County. “The best real estate experience we ever had,” said one Bay Area couple who now enjoys living in the area.

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