Explore Amador County: Food, wine and art

A FALL ROAD TRIP IN THE SIERRA and the surrounding foothills is an ideal getaway: Brilliant fall foliage, historic Gold Rush towns, fruit orchards, pumpkin patches, and wine and beer tasting. Bring along your mountain bike, hiking boots, and bird-watching binoculars to complete the experience.

Some of our favorite road trips include Old Hwy. 40 across Donner Summit; “roads less traveled” around Lake Tahoe, Hope Valley, and the Eastern Sierra; the Colfax Hwy. (for apples, apple cider and wine); and historic Hwy. 49 in the foothills — stretching from Nevada County to Amador County and points in between.

Amador County is a special place, and fall is a perfect time to visit. “Sutter Creek, Amador City, and Volcano bear century-old saloons, creepy-cool cemeteries, and time capsule spots,” writes The Bold Italic, an online culture magazine in San Francisco. “It’s an incredibly scenic area with big blue skies punctuated by colorful old trees and corrugated tin roofs. Go when fall colors take hold.”

In the town of Plymouth, a 16-room boutique hotel called Rest is a perfect base camp for exploring the wineries, art galleries, trails and historical sites in the region. The rooms include luxury linens, plush robes, large screen TVs, minibar, complimentary WiFi, continental breakfast, and a nightly local wine hour. The hotel is dog friendly.

Rest is two doors down from Taste, a superb restaurant that uses fresh, local ingredients from local farms. Taste is James Beard recognized and a recipient of the Wine Spectator Award of Excellence. Its seasonal menu might include corn soup, a Grimaud Farms duck breast, Ora king salmon or a Creekstone Farms filet mignon.

The owners — Mark and Tracey Berkner — also run the Volcano Union Inn and Pub, with a menu that includes duck wings (local duck, orange and spice, and coleslaw), fresh salads, a Volcano burger, and fried chicken.

Taste and Rest, and the Volcano Union Inn and Pub, are located in the heart of Amador’s wine region. Rest is minutes from Amador Brewing Co., a popular craft brewery.

Amador is home to over 40 wineries and tasting rooms featuring award-winning zinfandels, barberas, and Rhones. Taste often hosts winemaker dinners where guests can meet the winemaker.

Visit RestaurantTaste.com, HotelRest.net and VolcanoUnion.com for more information.

AmadorArts WineFest

The 20th annual AmadorArts Wine- fest is November 11 in historic Sutter Creek. Taste local wines in 25 shops while strolling Main Street from 4:30-7 p.m. From 7-9 p.m., go to the Sutter Creek Auditorium for live music, desserts, dessert wines, and a silent auction, including wine, art and gifts. For tickets, visit AmadorArts.org.

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