By Sabra Stafford
#1 Vista Park
Vista Park, located near the junction of highways 49 and 88 in Amador County, offers a splendid view of the Sierra Foothills. The Park overlooks the historic Kennedy Gold Mine and is considered the gateway into Jackson. The park has spots for picnicking and information on historic points of interest. The park is open year-round, though the view is truly spectacular in spring when the daffodils are in bloom.
#2 Kennedy Mine
At 5,912 feet the Kennedy Gold Mine is one of the deepest gold mines in the world. Opened in 1860, the mine was in continual operation until 1942 and produced more than $34 million in gold. Guided tours of the surface are available March through October from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Saturdays and Sundays. Admission is free, while the tours are $12 for those 13 and older and $6 for those 6 to 12 years. It’s located at 12594 Kennedy Mine Road. For more information visit www.kennedygoldmine.com.
#3 Amador County Museum
Constructed in 1854, this 15-room classic Greek Revival mansion in Jackson was built for Armstead C. Brown, a lawyer who moved from Ohio during the Gold Rush to try his luck at prospecting. He proved to be successful and was one of the founders of Amador County. As the County Museum, his home now houses collections that include a Gold History Exhibit, fashions of the past, a Victorian bedroom and parlor, a Native American collection, a Chinese American collection, and much more. A separate building houses the Mine Model Exhibit, with working models built to scale of the Kennedy Gold Mine. Open 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Fridays, Saturdays, and Sundays. It’s located at 225 Church Street in Jackson. For more information call 209-223-6386 or 209-257-1485 or visit www.amadorcountyhistoricalsociety.org.
#4 Amador Flower Farm
Amador Flower Farm has more than 1,000 varieties of daylilies, a unique gift-shop, a world class nursery and acres of model gardens with a variety of unique plants. There is a picnic area and during the fall the farm has a pumpkin patch and a corn maze. The farm is open 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. daily year-round, and there is no admission cost. It’s located at 22001 Shenandoah School Road in Jackson. For more information visit www.amadorflowerfarm.com.
#5 Preston Castle
Opened in 1894, this facility, also known as the Preston School of Industry, operated as a reform school until 1960. It is a significant example of Romanesque Revival architecture in the Gold Country and has been added to the California Register of Historic Places. Tours are offered at the Castle from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. every Saturday from April through September. Entry to the Castle is from Palm Drive off Highway 104. For more information call 209-256-3623 or visit www.prestoncastle.com