“A Techie In The Trees”: Tips on Remote Working & Commuting

Living in Northern California is great! The people, the pinecones, the possibilities… And working remote, doing the mobile office thing, is just one more benefit to being in the Nevada City and Grass Valley area.

Remote Working: Your Guide to Working from a Cafe in Nevada City and Grass Valley

Remote Working

If you have a home office, there are days when it’s good to change up your work environment and be around more people. Even if your clients and coworkers are all over the U.S. or around the world, it can feel a bit isolating working solo in a home office. On those days you can grab your laptop and head out to one of the many cafes in Nevada City or Grass Valley, California. Here’s a round up of some of the best local spots.

Java Johns
306 W Broad St, Nevada City, CA 95959
7am till about 4:00

I always see a few friends when I come in on a weekday morning. This is my go-to spot and you’ll find me here a couple days a week. I love the Americano here and there is a wide range of food to choose from. Much of the food is homemade in the shop – muffins, breakfast burritos, egg bites, and more. There are sandwiches, bagels, and eggs, so there’s plenty to choose from. As for seating, there are several tables, some bar seating at the window, a couch, and two small tables out front on the sidewalk. The place is small, so if I want to do a call, I usually step outside to the sidewalk seating. If you want to plug your computer in, sit on the right side of the cafe.

Broad Street Bistro
426 Broad St, Nevada City, CA 95959
Open till 6

The best outdoor seating is at Broad Street Bistro. The patio trees are lovely and you have a great view of downtown Nevada City, including the historic Methodist church and cute Two Room Inn just across the street. The bistro offers a wide range of bagels, eggs, salads, sandwiches, as well as accommodations for gluten-free and vegan. Beer and wine are available. too. They offer a loyalty card that gets you a free drink after so many purchases. I like that I just give them my name at the register, no stamp cards or anything to carry. There’s indoor seating as well.

FoxHound Espresso and Coffee
317 Spring Street, Nevada City, CA 95959
Open till 6pm

As you walk into FoxHound you see woodsy tables and rustic benches at the front and a room off to the left with bar stool seating. The coffee is good and I love to get their amazing cinnamon toast with an egg. If you are a donut fan, those are on the menu, too. The wooden back deck with large trees nearby has a couple of tables and is wonderful when the weather is good. The place is small, so if I want to do a Skype or Zoom session, I usually just do the call in my car.

City Council Cafe
233 Broad St, Nevada City, CA 95959
7am – 12am
This newer cafe has plenty of seating and offers a great place to set up shop for several hours or a good chunk of the day. Big tables with easy to access power make City Council convenient for long stints. The coffee is good and there are some snacks available too. I can usually find a spot here to do Skype or Zoom call, which is a bonus.

Living in Northern California is great! The people, the pinecones, the possibilities… And working remoting, doing the mobile office thing, is just one more benefit to being in the Nevada City and Grass Valley area.

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Commuting 101: Nevada City/Grass Valley to the Bay Area

Commuting 101

Anyone who’s lived and worked in the Bay Area knows what a typical morning and evening commute looks like. But for so many these days, a typical commute involves walking up stairs to a home office. It take about 30 seconds, and so much less stress!
But what happens when you want to visit clients or attend a Meetup back in the Bay Area? That’s where this post will help – check out this list all the various ways to get to typical destinations, along with tips from a pro commuter who’s been doing this for the last 20 years.

OK, just had to include this one. I’ve maybe done that twice, but it was really fun. Best option is to call Gordon at Alpine Aviation. I’ve flown to Palo Alto and San Carlos – I guess any small airport in the Bay Area is an option, though landing at SFO is possible but more expensive. On arrival you can Uber/Lyft, pedal if you bring your bike, have a friend pick you up, etc. Of course getting back means booking another flight or using other commute options (see below), unless you want to pay $100/hr for the plane to wait at the airport for your return.


My go-to option for getting to/from the Bay Area. The best option currently is to leave Nevada City at 5:45am, grab an espresso at Dutch Brothers drive-through in Auburn, then park & catch the 6:35am Capitol Corridor. I usually buy my ticket at the (outdoor) station machine, but lately it’s only been operational maybe half the time, so online is a safer bet.

This train gets into Richmond at 8:59am, though that’s in theory, not in practice. It’s often a few minutes late, so I usually assume I’ll need to catch the 9:12am BART from Richmond to downtown San Francisco. Transferring from Amtrak to BART is easy, you walk down the stairs at the Amtrak platform (or take the elevator), and then walk 100ft to the BART entrance.That particular BART train is the red line, and gets you to the Embarcadero station in SF at 9:48am. Once you’re in SF, it’s pretty easy to use Uber/Lyft to get around, though I’ve used one of the numerous scooter rentals just for fun.


Sigh. Yes, you can drive to the Bay Area. If traffic is light, it’s about 2.5 hours to Berkeley and 3 hours to Palo Alto. But these days it’s never smooth sailing, unless you’re going at some crazy hour like 11pm or 4am.

If you wind up having to drive during less optimal times, or there’s an accident on I-80, then you have a few creative alternatives to the standard 49/80 route. One of my favorites is to use Highway 20 and Hammond-Smartsville Road for a fun car ad-style undulating drive through beautiful open fields near Beale Air Force base.


No, you don’t want to ride from Nevada City to San Francisco. Though you could, and it’s on my bucket list. But a bike is handy once you get to the Bay Area, if you want a bit of exercise and/or choose to avoid Uber/Lyft or (shudder) the bus.

Bringing your bike on the train is easy, as they have bike racks in most of the cars. Hauling your bike up and down the stairs at train & BART stations can be painful, though the elevators are usually running. BART is generally good, though during morning and evening hours there are some trains that don’t let you take bikes; also don’t be That Commuter who tries to get into the first car with your bike.

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