From the mid to late 1800s, people from far and wide came to California in search of hidden treasure as part of the Gold Rush. Long after that time, there continues to be hidden gems to be discovered across the Golden State, including Sutter Creek’s charming downtown.
Established in 1854, Sutter Creek is the epitome of Gold County and has become a prime tourist destination. The town provides visitors with a number of fun events and activities, all while maintaining its Gold Rush facade.
“It’s a wonderful balance of old and new,” said City Clerk Karen Darrow.
There’s a little bit of something for everyone of all ages. The city currently has over 40 unique businesses in operation, which include antique stores, restaurants, museums, boutiques, country stores, gift shops and more. Darrow explained that all of these businesses are conveniently lined up along historic Main Street.
“The Knight Foundry, Hotel Sutter and The Monteverde Store are all popular places to visit,” Darrow said.
Fittingly, the various annual, monthly and weekly events all take place there in downtown Sutter Creek. These events include the farmers market, the Italian Picnic Parade, Winefest, the Classic Car Show, the Parade of Lights, Christmas Open House, Candy Cane Lane, Plaid Friday and the incredibly popular Ladies Night, which is expected to make a grand and highly anticipated return in 2022. Participating businesses will be offering light refreshments, along with a variety of promotions as they introduce their new arrivals for Ladies Night.
The historic town is also right in the heart of the Amador Wine Country. Downtown Sutter Creek is home to multiple wine tasting rooms, wineries and supplementary cheese and charcuterie services.
“It’s the perfect hub to explore the Sierra Foothill wine regions including Amador’s own Shenandoah Valley, El Dorado County’s Fairplay region and Calaveras County’s wine region,” Darrow explained.
Sutter Creek’s gardens, vineyards and historic churches have worked together eloquently to make it a popular wedding location throughout the year. But while Darrow believes that Sutter Creek is a great experience for anyone at any time of the year, it is the winter in which the unique city comes alive.
“Sutter Creek is an amazing destination all year long, but it is a must visit during the holiday season. You can’t help but feel like you have come home for the holidays when you are on Main Street,” Darrow said. “It is a picturesque backdrop of twinkling lights and decorations, an ideal setting for the shopping, dining and wine tasting.”
The town’s holiday season really kicks off on the Friday after Thanksgiving when visitors and locals alike are invited to ditch the chain stores and the Black Friday sales for Sutter Creek’s Plaid Friday. Those wearing plaid that day - be it a scarf, hat, sweater, socks or anything else - will get a discount from the participating downtown merchants.
Darrow explained that the Open House, which takes place during the first weekend in December, encompasses all the tradition and charm of an old fashion evening of Christmas shopping.
“Businesses are open late and offer holiday refreshments. The Sutter Creek Light Parade is another night of can’t miss Christmas magic on Main Street in Sutter Creek,” Darrow said.
Whether you visit during the holiday season or make a casual pit stop to explore the gold mines of the 19th and 20th centuries, the Sutter Creek Visitor Center provides a variety of tours around the city and to historic sites, such as Knight Foundry, Kennedy Gold Mine, Gold Mine Trail, Sutter Creek Cemetery, Preston Castle the Monteverde Store Museum, Miner’s’ Bend Park and the old Sutter Creek Schoolhouse.
More information regarding the city of Sutter Creek can be found at www.suttercreek.org.