Visit Nevada City for Fall Colors and Victorian Christmas

WHETHER IT’S FOR FALL COLORS, Halloween or Thanksgiving festivities, or Victorian Christmas, Nevada City is a perfect getaway this time of year. The Gold Rush town is famous for showcasing the red, orange and gold colored leaves of autumn.

“Nevada City, a historical landmark, is an idyllic town brimming with charm,” wrote, recently naming it one of the “10 most beautiful towns on the West Coast.” “Park the car, walk around the narrow streets and discover art, handmade jewelry, clothes, books and tantalizing cuisine.”

For holiday shopping, Nevada City offers an enjoyable experience—a respite from the crowded malls. The merchants are friendly, and their stores offer unique items.

J.J. Jackson’s, in a restored Gold Rush-era building, is ideal for holiday shopping. It has a wide range of products including home accents, travel gear, travel wear, handbags, fashion accessories, body care and a toy table. Items include puff chairs and rockers; Hobo Italian leather handbags and Baggallini brand travel bags; scarves, gloves and hats; body care products; French-designed table linens; and a 36 foot long wall of greeting cards.

Across from J.J. Jackson’s on Commercial Street, Nevada City Crystal & Glass specializes in a wide variety of crystal and glass. The store carries famous Swarovski crystal crafted in Austria. (Swarovski created the star that sits on top of the famous Rockefeller Center Christmas tree in New York).

The store also carries Swarovski jewelry, Annaleece fashion jewelry, art glass, home decor and custom-made jewelry. Amiable proprietor Dave Iorns has assembled a friendly and helpful staff.

Fine-jewelry connoisseurs also need to visit Utopian Stone on Broad Street, which specializes in one-of-a-kind work and customer commissions. Gold nuggets from the Yuba River and natural gold bearing quartz from the “Sixteen to One Mine” are incorporated in some of the designs. Utopian Stone, founded by G. Patrick Dyer and his wife, Diane, has been in business for more than 40 years.

Just down the street from Utopian Stone on South Pine St., Tanglewood Forest Gallery is a gift shop of fairies, dragons and imaginative treasures in fanciful settings. “This store is like walking into a dream,” says one shopper. Tree branches hang from the ceiling and walks, adorned with fairies, gnomes, butterflies, ornaments and other items.

Along with its jewelry and gift stores, Nevada City offers a wide selection of clothing stores. Novak’s carries a full line of mens wear, blankets, bags, jewelry, and womens clothing. The store has a wide selection of Pendleton wool clothing, scarves and blankets—now in fall colors. Novak’s wedding services include tuxedos by Selix and groom’s gifts.

Dining Out

Nevada City has restaurants that rival any “big city” dining experience. The New Moon Café on York St. was a pioneer of farm-to-fork cooking before it became fashionable. Chef Peter Selaya and Buzz Crouch, who oversees the front of the house, are longtime pros.

Peter’s seasonal menu features items such as fresh fish, homemade ravioli, pan-seared New York steak and braised short ribs—all cooked with organic, natural foods from local farmers whenever possible. Buzz’s wine and craft beer lists are superb.

On the corner of Pine and Commercial streets to the south, Friar Tucks has been a festive dining and lounge experience since 1973.

The restaurant, known as “Tucks” to the locals, features a warm atmosphere with an extensive steak, seafood and fondue menu, award-winning wine list, classic cocktails and live music nightly. Owner Greg and Rona Cook’s restaurant received a 2015 Award of Excellence from Wine Spectator magazine.


Built in 1870, Broad Street Inn is a small, family-owned “green” business that provides clean, comfortable accommodations at affordable rates. The Victorian inn offers six contemporary rooms. A peaceful garden setting is perfect for a relaxing getaway. Valerie and Steve Moberg are gracious and knowledgeable hosts.

Real Estate

Some visitors to Nevada City decide to stay. Coldwell Banker Grass Roots Realty is one of the area’s most established real estate offices with experienced and knowledgeable agents. It has offices in Nevada City, Grass Valley, Penn Valley and Lake of the Pines.

(Photo: Sydney Moon)

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