Looking to have a more meaningful or simple holiday season (you know, like they used to be)? Here are our favorite ways in Calaveras to have some good old-fashioned seasonal fun…
Cut your own Christmas tree. While it may be super convenient to roll up to the make-shift holiday tree stand at your local supermarket, there’s something special about cutting your own. And with so much forest land here in Calaveras, it’s no surprise there are several farms where you can “cut your own” Christmas tree. It doesn’t get more old fashioned than that. Visit Alto Tree Farm or Cal Sierra Tree Farm in West Point, or Anderson Christmas Tree Farm in Murphys to make your holiday tree hunt a fun-filled activity for the whole family. More info here: http://www.cachristmas.com/choosencut/Calaveras
Have a photo shoot next to one of the world’s best Christmas trees. It’s big and beautiful and last year Bing.com selected the Copperopolis tree, located at Copperopolis Town Square, as one of the 15 “most fabulous” Christmas trees in the world. The annual three lighting ceremony takes place during the Old Fashioned Holiday celebration after Thanksgiving, complete with Mr. and Mrs. Claus, carriage rides and hot cocoa.
Enjoy chestnuts roasted over an open fire. They’re symbolic of the holidays, yet can you actually say you’ve ever tried a chestnut roasted over an open fire? Head to The Spice Tin in Murphys during the historic town’s Holiday Open House and you can finally say you’ve tried one. But that’s not the only reason to come out for this annual old-fashioned community celebration. Musicians and carolers fill the streets with festive holiday sounds, Santa appears for photos with the kids, and local merchants keep their doors open late for a fun-filled evening of shopping and mingling.
Find handmade wares and unique holiday gifts. If you want to avoid the mall and find more meaningful gifts, you can’t go wrong with holiday shopping in any of Calaveras’s historic towns throughout the season. You’re sure to find one-of-a-kind art, jewelry, antiques, specialty foods, good wine and more in a charming and festive atmosphere. Plan your visit around Angels Camp’s Christmas Open House or Mokelumne Hill’s Holiday Open House and take the holiday cheer to the next level.
Strap on snowshoes (or skis) and wander the Big Trees. Assuming the white stuff gets here soon, travel in the spirit of John C. Thompson aka “Snowshoe” Thomspon who would often trek as much as 90 miles through the Sierra Nevada (by ski!) to deliver mail, even in the worst of snow storms. One of his routes even took him through what today is Big Trees State Park. Weather permitting the park offers guided snowshoe hikes through the giant sequoias. Or, rent your own snowshoes from Sierra Nevada Adventure Company in Arnold or Bear Valley Adventure Company and head out on a solo adventure along the Ebbetts Pass Scenic Byway between Arnold and the Sno-Park at Lake Alpine.
2013 Holiday Events & Open House Guide:
Winterfest at Bear Valley – Thursday, November 28 – Saturday November 30
Copperopolis Old Fashioned Holiday – Saturday, November 30 (Noon to 7 pm)
Angels Camp Christmas Open House & Holiday Parade – Saturday, November 30 (4 to 8 pm)
Murphys Open House – Friday, December 6 (5 to 8 pm)
Mokelumne Hill Holiday Open House – Sunday, December 15 (2 to 5 pm)
Winter Wonderland at Big Trees State Park – Friday, December 27 (11 am to 3 pm)