Nevada City: A “Snowless” Escape

THOUGH KNOWN FOR ITS LEAF PEEPING, Victorian Christmas and pristine swimming holes in the South Yuba River, historic Nevada City also is an extraordinary winter getaway.

Though usually below the snow line, Nevada City is only a one-hour drive to ski resorts on Donner Summit, including Sugar Bowl, Boreal and Royal Gorge, North America’s largest cross-country ski area.

In town, the restaurants, wine tasting rooms, brewpubs and bars are hopping. The arts and culture scene includes live music, theater and art galleries. Lodging choices, including Victorian inns, B&Bs and motels, abound.

In winter, Nevada City also hosts a popular Mardi Gras celebration. A downtown parade, costume ball, and Carnevale are featured February 13 and 14. Weekend activities begin Saturday night with a Mardi Gras costume ball, featuring a band playing in historic Miners Foundry. Cajun food is available.

The town also offers unique shopping experiences, including some that are ideally suited for winter. Visit The Fur Traders at 223 Broad St. for fur and sheepskin jackets and vests, fine leather wear, boots, hats, gloves, scarves, purses, handbags, sheepskin rugs and other items.

The Fur Traders has 30 years of experience in the fur trade business. It also carries one of the largest selections of UGG, Mephisto, Merrill and Børn shoes in Northern California.

For women’s clothing, Judi’s of Nevada City at 246 Commercial St. has a wide selection of beautifully designed sweaters, pants, dresses, knit tops, handbags, belts, scarves and jewelry.

Judi’s, which local Judi Weiner opened in 2004, carries lines including Curio Knits, Cut Loose, French Dressing, Jag Jeans, Nomadic Traders and Pulp. She also carries U.S.-made lines including Caron Miller Accessories, Comfy, Janska Fleece Wear, Jess & Jane and Maruca Handbags. Judi’s also features jewelry and accessories made by local artists and craftspeople.

Valentine’s Day shoppers need to visit The Truffle Shop at 408 Broad St. in Nevada City. Dessert Chef Willem DeGroot and Rudy Udarbe have been hand-making fine chocolate desserts since the mid-1980s.

Chef DeGroot’s truffles have been sent to the White House and the Vatican, among other places. The selection includes Gold Rush Chocolate Truffles (Jack Daniels Old No. 7 bourbon with the finest Belgian semisweet chocolate).

For unique gold jewelry, go to California Gold at 300 Broad Street. The store specializes in rare gold quartz jewelry pieces and 14k gold jewelry. It also offers expert and prompt jewelry repair.

Just around the corner, at 107 North Pine St., is Yabobo, known for exotic musical instruments and interesting imported goods. “So much to look at and touch,” said one customer. “CDs, T-shirts, beads, bedspreads, greeting cards, drums, chimes, jewelry, belly dance wear…everything!”

Used book and antique enthusiasts will enjoy An Inner Sanctum at 308 Broad Street. The store carries books about local history, as well as books by local authors. The San Francisco Chronicle has listed An Inner Sanctum on its “what to do” list for Nevada City.

For nightlife or a Bloody Mary and beer break on weekend days, Nevada City has some enjoyable bars. The Mine Shaft at 222 Broad Street is one of the most popular watering holes in town. On Mardi Gras day visitors will find the Mine Shaft filled with Mardi Gras masks, streamers and beads.

Weekend visitors to Nevada City can choose from inns, B&Bs and motels. The Nevada City Inn at 760 Zion St. has comfortable accommodations (including 20 inviting rooms and seven cottages).

Whether it’s for Mardi Gras, wine tasting or outdoor activities, Nevada City is an ideal winter escape.

(Photo: Kial James)

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