Victorian Christmas Celebrations

VicXmasNevada City’s famous Victorian Christmas Celebrations start this week in historic downtown Nevada City. The downtown area is closed to cars, and holiday celebrants fill the streets. Sample wonderful food and peruse the many items  offered by downtown shops, restaurants and friendly street vendors. Victorian Christmas 2010 is scheduled Wednesday nights, Dec. 1, 8, and 15, from 5-9 p.m., and on two Sunday afternoons, Dec. 12 and Dec. 19, from 1:30-6 p.m. There is no admission charge.

At all the celebrations there will be chestnuts roasting on an open fire in the Lower Commercial Street Food Court area. Much entertainment is planned all through the downtown area, and carriage rides will be available at the National Hotel. There will be a living nativity scene and Kids Fun at the Alpha Building will feature visits with Santa Claus and children’s crafts. More information here.

Nevada City Holiday Craft & Toy Festival

Join us at the Miners Foundry Cultural Center this Sunday, Nov. 21,  from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. for The Nevada City Holiday Craft and Toy Festival. The pre-Thanksgiving Nevada City Holiday Craft and Toy Festival is a family affair featuring regional ETSY artisans and fair-trade vendors, hand-made children’s clothing, quality natural-fiber toys (wood, silk & wool) and children’s books. The festival also includes make-and-take crafting for all ages, a silent auction, face painting, great food and live music. Part of the proceeds from the event will go to Big Brothers/Big Sisters of Nevada County and the Hospitality House of Western Nevada County. General admission is $3, but children under 12 are FREE.

The music line-up includes local singer/songwriter Jerry Gazzoneo; the cello/violin/harp Celtic music trio, The String Sisters; Chimerafeaturing Elana Powell, Sibling Revelrywith Janice and Bob Polucha, bluegrass/folk Americana with Freedom Goory,pianist Pat Havard, Kalyaniwith Circle Upand Arthur Gouldon electrified cello.

Make-and-Take crafts are free and low-cost crafting projects for all ages. Projects include glass ornament painting, Native American crafts, lavender or holiday-scented sachets, wood art, and more. Make your own holiday gifts or purchase hand-made gifts from your neighbors!

The silent auction features items donated by festival vendors and local businesses. 100% of the auction proceeds will go to Big Brothers/Big Sisters and the Hospitality House. The Miners Foundry Cultural Center is located at 325 Spring Street in Nevada City.

Volunteers are still needed to help with the make-and-take craft area, set-up and clean-up. The festival, produced by Robin Nichols, is sponsored by:; Nichols House Works; Phillips School of Kung Fu San Soo, Phillips School of Massage and the Miners Foundry Cultural Center.

Autumn in Nevada City

Fall Color FenceThe Nevada City-Grass Valley area, with outstanding Gold Rush history and good choices in lodging and dining, has become known as one of California’s best areas to view autumn foliage or “leaf peep”. Enjoy a leisurely stroll or bike ride through the old-fashioned Victorian neighborhoods of Nevada City and Grass Valley surrounding the downtown historic districts. Magnificent Maple, Birch, Lombard, Amber and Oak trees produce an array of fall color. The most spectacular displays are the century-old Maple trees planted by early settlers. Peak color weeks in Nevada City and Grass Valley are difficult to predict but mid-October to mid-November is usually most colorful. Fall Color Tour Maps and a Tree Tour Map are available and visitors may call ahead to check day-to-day conditions.

There are dozens of hikes and walks for every taste, age and ability. Short hikes are found near town, others meander through the nearby South Yuba River canyon and high country hikes are found in the Tahoe National Forest in the Grouse Ridge area. For mountain and road bikers, Nevada County is an outdoor paradise and year-round playground. Peaceful, uncrowded roads meander through the scenic countryside of Nevada County, making this ideal area of biking. Nevada County has long been a cycling center, due in large part to the famous Nevada city Bicycle Classic, which dates back to 1961 and is the oldest bicycle race on the West Coast with riders such as Greg LeMond and Lance Armstrong.