Grass Valley, a pretty little city in Nevada County, California, was established during the mid-19th-century gold rush, but its fertile surroundings enticed farmers and ranchers to stay long after the mines ran dry. Sprinkled over the foothills of the Sierra Nevada mountains, this verdant land has proved ideal for viticulture in recent decades. And where there are grapes, there’s a wine industry. Here are the best hotels nearby, all bookable on Culture Trip.
A stay at the Pines Motel and Cottages can feel more like time spent at home than in a hotel room. That’s because the little details, such as organic soaps and fresh flowers, are taken care of. Motel rooms have their own verandas overlooking the pleasant grounds, with table and chairs and a barbecue space. The cottages are particularly popular. Each one is a stand-alone building surrounded by trees. Longer stays are permitted here.
In the center of Grass Valley there’s a hotel that pays homage to the gold mining past of the city. The Gold Miners Inn is a modern hotel with a fitness center, convenience store and small business center. On Thursdays, the reason many people visit the Grass Valley area – wine – is celebrated with tastings from the lauded Naggiar Vineyards winery. Rooms have comfortable beds and their own microwave, coffee maker and fridge.
Northeast of Grass Valley, enveloped by the trees of Tahoe National Forest, you’ll find the pretty hideaway of Harmony Ridge Lodge. Nine spacious suites are available, each with two beds and a cushion-rich sitting area. Windows look out over verdant grounds speckled with fairy lights, with the lush gardens and apple orchard demonstrating the agricultural prowess of this restful corner of California. The main lodge also has large communal dining and sitting areas.
Also in Auburn, the heart of California gold country, is this Victorian mansion built with those mineral riches by one Harold T Power. Today, his home is a quirky and endearing bed and breakfast. Touches of history can be found all over the rooms, in the ornate bed frames, antique furniture and vintage bathroom fittings. The walls are covered in an eclectic array of artworks and photography.
Historic Cary House Hotel, in Placerville, is well located for access to the wineries of nearby Apple Hill and Pleasant Valley. It has always been a hotel – initially opened to serve the early gold prospectors – and the current brick building was constructed in 1857 to replace the original wooden one, which had burned down. The facade still retains that Wild West charm, thanks particularly to its second-floor wrought-iron balcony. Within, there’s a small museum in the foyer.
East of Grass Valley is Donner Lake, a popular spot with outdoors enthusiasts for its boating, hiking and, in the colder months, skiing. Donner Lake Village overlooks the water and is a smart choice whatever the time of year, thanks to its marina with boat hire, ski waxing room and views of the Sierra Nevada mountains. Even the smallest rooms are great for the self-contained traveler, featuring a couch, fridge and microwave. The larger condos can accommodate groups of four to six people.
If the sporting activities of the Donner Lake region sound like the right fit for you, the Cedar House Sport Hotel in Truckee is the best adventure base camp. Organize lake kayak trips, mountain hikes and explorations of the open tracts of backcountry surrounding the hotel. The sturdy wooden building has modern rooms with internet-capable TVs, and many have private cedar balconies. Stella, the fine-dining restaurant, illustrates perfectly why Truckee is a hotspot for gourmands.
For more excellently located stays in California, see the best hotels near Legoland and the best hotels near Hearst Castle. Book your stay now through Culture Trip. Check out the most beautiful coastal towns in the state, or head north to enjoy a chilled-out San Francisco vacation. Alternatively, south is the glitz of Los Angeles; make sure you dine at the best restaurants in the City of Angels.
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