Amador County: Where to Sleep, Eat, and Do

  • Adventure
  • on JANUARY 20, 2016
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For those who tend to stray off the beaten track, Amador County is waiting to be discovered. About 45 miles southeast of Sacramento in the part of California formerly known as gold country the Shenandoah Valley and Amador County towns of Sutter Creek, Plymouth, Fiddletown, Volcano, and many others have scarcely hidden secrets just waiting to be discovered. We’ve put together a list of the best places to eat, sleep, and everything in between.

Where to Stay

Image Source: Yelp

The Hanford House Inn
61 Hanford Street
Sutter Creek, CA 95685
(209) 267-0747
TripAdvisor: 5 stars, 61 reviews

For a blend of old charm and modern living, Hanford House Inn is known for its romantic atmosphere and central, downtown Sutter Creek location–easily overlooked if you didn’t know where to find it. They offer several luxurious amenities to guests, including a dynamite complimentary breakfast at Element, the in-house restaurant, and wine and cookies in the evening. The cottages surrounding the main property have private patios and fireplaces, and the suites on the main property are a cozily appointed.
Insider tip: Complimentary warm scones are delivered room service-style in the mornings.

Image Source: Yelp and Union Inn + Pub

Union Inn & Pub
21375 Consolation St.
Volcano, CA 95689
(209) 296-7711
TripAdvisor: 4.5 stars, 44 reviews

The Union Inn + Pub is a cozy place to stay in the quaint town of Volcano. The two front rooms above the pub offer the best view to look out over the town, and a relaxed and friendly staff welcomes guests morning and night to delicious meals like homemade frittata, mac ‘n’ cheese (a local favorite), and duck wings. In the evening, take a stroll through Indian Grinding Rock State Historic Park or indulge in the plays put on by the Volcano Theatre Company at their outdoor amphitheater.
Insider tip: If you attend one of the Volcano Theatre Company plays, be sure to bring low-profile lawn chairs, or plan for picnic-style seating.

Image Source: The Foxes Inn

The Foxes Inn
77 Main St.
Sutter Creek, CA 95685
(209) 267-5882
TripAdvisor: 5 stars, 125 reviews

At The Foxes Inn, a hidden gem in this historic gold rush town, guests are within walking distance of the shops in downtown Sutter Creek. Though the house is about 150 years old, it is perfectly maintained, with rooms that are luxurious but colonially cozy. Upgrade to the Honeymoon or Hideaway Suites for a private front porch, gas log fireplace, and large bathroom with a clawfoot tub. At the complimentary breakfast, don’t pass up the “sweet treat:” the warm cinnamon rolls and greek yogurt parfait with homemade granola are a wholesome, utterly tasty way to start the day while satisfying a sweet tooth.
Insider tip: Eat breakfast outside in the garden for shade, a calming pond, and a small waterfall.

Where to Eat

Image Source: Yelp

(209) 267-0747
61 Hanford Street
Sutter Creek, CA 95685
TripAdvisor: 4.5 stars, 83 reviews
Reservations: Strongly recommended

Located at the Hanford House Inn in Sutter Creek, Element is a small-yet-bustling seasonally inspired eatery. Known for their unique variations on classic dishes, Element is a favorite for locals and travelers with a professional and friendly wait staff. Try the broiled beef short ribs as a take on steak and eggs, or the rustic bread and sopressata version of eggs benedict. Breakfasts are sure to hold you all the way through to dinner, so no need to make a lunch stop before exploring to the Black Chasm Cavern just outside Volcano.
Insider tip: Whether planning on eating here morning or night, be sure to make a reservation in advance: Element fills up fast, especially on weekends.

Image Source: Yelp

Amador Vintage Market
9393 Main St.
Plymouth, CA 95669
(209) 245-3663
TripAdvisor: 4.5 stars, 40 reviews
Reservations: Not required

While wine tasting in the Shenandoah Valley, make it a priority to stop by Amador Vintage Market in Plymouth. This is the go-to caterer for many wineries in the area and is not only a home-grown place for fresh, local food, but also for goodies and gifts to take with you. The deli, almost always filled with hungry guests, serves classic deli sandwiches (the Reuben and French dip are favorites), house-made truffle potato chips, hummus, gelato, espresso, beer, teas, cane sugar sodas, and chocolate. It’s right next to a park and playground, so bring your food to the park, and picnic after wine tasting, or before checking out the vineyards.
Insider tip: Locals and travelers alike buy extra bags of the house-made truffle potato chips to take home.

Image Source: Yelp

9402 Main St.
Plymouth, CA 95669
(209) 245-3463
TripAdvisor: 4.5 stars, 314 reviews
Reservations: Recommended

Amador County is chock full of surprises, and this obscure, upscale eatery is one of them. Sit down after a long day of wine tasting and try their signature appetizer, mushroom cigars, before moving onto a filet, seared yellowtail, or gnocchi. Though reservations are not required, this small venue fills up fast (always a good sign), so plan ahead.
Insider tip: If you’ve had a good amount of wine prior to dinner ask for a half-pour for exactly half the price of a full glass.


Image Source: Yelp

Il Gioiello Winery and Morse Wines
22355 Lawrence Rd.
Fiddletown, CA 95629
(209) 245-3395
TripAdvisor: 5 stars, 4 reviews

Sitting among beautiful rolling hills, this winery offers both Italian-style (Il Gioiello) and Rhone-style (Morse) wines. It is a relaxing spot to picnic, has a dog-friendly area, and even features a bocce ball court. The Italian aesthetic extends inside the tasting room as well, where a Tuscan-inspired atmosphere pairs nicely with easy pours of Italian varieties.
Insider tip: Ask the owner about the vineyard’s soil—it was a defining part of why he chose the location.

Image Source: Yelp

Cooper Vineyards
21365 Shenandoah School Rd.
Plymouth, CA 95669
(209) 245-6181
TripAdvisor: 5 stars, 28 reviews

Have you ever wondered what it’s like to have a sip of wine, and then taste the exact same grape right off the vine? That’s encouraged at Cooper Vineyards, a picnic-friendly winery with an endless view. Although Amador County is known for Zinfandel, Cooper Vineyards is known to have pioneered one of the first Barberas in the county, a perennial favorite in the large, relaxed tasting room. Little nibbles like cheese, pretzels, chocolates, and carrots are always there for palate refreshers, so don’t be afraid to snack.
Insider tip: Outside the tasting room is a teepee and an old 1940s pickup truck, which make a great backdrop for photos.

Things to Do

Image Source: Yelp

Wine Tree Farm
14467 California 49
Amador City, CA 95601
(209) 787-5694
TripAdvisor: 5 stars, 3 reviews

Just across from the turnoff to Amador City is Wine Tree Farm, a small, solar-powered, family-run winery. The owner and winemaker herself, Corrine, and her son Nick, will invariably be the ones to greet you at the tasting room. Wine Tree Farm specializes in Rhône wines, unlike the Zinfandels and Italian varieties most commonly found in the foothills of Amador County. Take a blending class with Corrine, where you’ll learn how to blend wines, which she’ll bottle and cork for you.
Insider tip: When you’re all done, turn down the hill into Amador County and stop at Andrae’s Bakery. They have delectable cakes for which Corrine can suggest a pairing.

Image Source: Yelp

Amador Flower Farm
22001 Shenandoah School Rd.
Plymouth, CA 95669
(209) 245-6660
TripAdvisor: 4.5 stars, 9 reviews

Take a break from wine tasting to visit the Amador Flower Farm. The nursery is home to a large variety of flowers, keeping Amador Flower Farm beautiful all year-round–so don’t hesitate to visit, even during the winter months.
Insider tip: The welcoming hosts offer cookies and hot cider on chillier days.

Image Source: Yelp

Amador Brewing Co.
9659 Main St.
Plymouth, CA 95669
(209) 507-1900
TripAdvisor: 4.5 stars, 7 reviews

At the mouth of the Shenandoah Valley sits Amador Brewing Co., a luscious side-adventure for fans of microbrews. With a lively atmosphere and a dog-friendly outside area, you can enjoy your beer inside or on the front patio overlooking the outstanding view of the Shenandoah Valley.
Insider tip: For a taste of something particularly bold, ask for the “milkshake,” an IPA-Stout blend.

Image Source: Yelp

Black Chasm Cavern
15701 Volcano Pioneer Rd
Volcano, CA 95689
(209) 736-2708
TripAdvisor: 4.5 stars, 59 reviews

Your last stop in Volcano will offer a glimpse of what lies beneath the pristine countryside. Take a guided tour of Black Chasm Cavern, a beautiful underground cave. Though the descent into the cave is low impact physically, the steep stairway that leads to the most open part of the cave is very narrow and may be uncomfortable for those with claustrophobia or a fear of heights. At certain points, you can even look over the railing and see 200 feet down to crystal blue, natural underground water. The tour is relatively short, taking approximately an hour.
Insider tip: Tours begin on the hour, so if you’ve got time to kill, wait in the gift shop. There are fun souvenirs to take home like stone rings and geodes.

Next time you’re planning a California getaway, skip the major cities and make a trip to Amador County.


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