March off the Beaten Path

Calaveras County is known for its iconic natural wonders, wineries and fun annual events that keep folks coming back for their favorites. This March, we wanted to introduce you to a handful of ideas that might be off your radar, but will almost definitely be a chance for you to connect with new people and places that make our county special. Read on for our suggestions to March off the beaten path.

Springtime views and oak trees near Pool Station Road in Calaveras County | photo by Jason B Smith
Springtime views and oak trees near Pool Station Road in Calaveras County | photo by Jason B Smith

San Andreas Ride & Walk 4 Art – Sunday March 19

Bring on the spring with some outdoor movement while you support art for kids at the same time! Experience a piece of Calaveras County scenery you may never see as you bike along the rolling green hills of Pool Station Road. Walkers will follow a one-mile route through Turner Park in San Andreas. According to Rob Williams, local cyclist and event organizer, “I want kids to be exposed to the arts, but I also want people to start biking and walking in the foothills.” He continues, “Children in Calaveras County have limited chances to learn about dance, music, visual art and dramatic arts,” and this event will provide funds to expand art in schools.

This fundraiser is more about fun than mileage. Raffle prizes, live music and an art show featuring art about bicycling and walking will make the day festive, and a traditional Calaveras County chicken-in-a-barrel barbecue will feed the hungry cyclists and walkers.

Ride & Walk4Art
Where:  Calaveras County Arts Council Gallery, 22 Main St., San Andreas, CA
When:  March 19, 2017, 8:00am – 3:00pm
REGISTRATION:  25$ Bicyclists/$15 Walkers.

Contact: Event Director, Rob Williams at 209/531-5844; email or Maggie Sloan at 209/754-1774


Friends of the Valley Springs Library Melodrama 2017

Valley Springs Melodrama and Dinner Show

Live dinner shows are a rare treat here in the hills, and the talented folks in the Valley Springs Melodrama have created an event that will keep you laughing as you take part in the fun. This year’s performance, titled The Pirates Treasure – or A Short Trip on a Long Plank, welcomes boisterous audience participation and offers several dinner and matinee shows during the first two weeks of March. Penned by local writer Don Urbanus and featuring an array of local performers from children to seniors, the Melodrama is now in its 17th year and helps rasie money for the Valley Springs Library. Grab your tickets and be a part of classic small town entertainment for a great cause.

Tickets Available at the Health Habit in Valley Springs: 209- 772-1318; Valley Springs Library, or by calling 209-772-1000 or 209-772-0591. Tables can be reserved.

Dinner Show Dates for Valley Springs Melodrama
March 3, 4, 10,11
Doors open 6:00pm; Dinner at 6:45; Show at 7:00
Tickets $25

Saturday Matinee, March 11
Doors open 1:00pm; Show at 2:00
Tickets $12 Beverages only

Location: Valley Springs Veterans Hall
189 Pine St, Valley Springs, CA 95252


PAWS Animal Welfare Sanctuary

PAWS  – Large Animal Sanctuary 

The Performing Animal Welfare Sanctuary in San Andreas is one of our secret yet amazing places in Calaveras County. It’s where rescued elephants, as well as lions, tigers and bears go to live in peace with plenty of space to roam on the hillsides of the Calaveras River. Most of the year PAWS sanctuary is closed to the public, but March has a couple opportunities for you to catch a glimpse of the majestic animals and learn about this remarkable place.

PAWS Open House
March 11; 11:00am-2:00pm

Take a shuttle to visit the bear, lion, tiger, leopard and elephant habitats. Once you exit the shuttle you will be walking on grass, dirt, gravel, and some paved surfaces, so please wear comfortable shoes – and don’t worry, you’ll stay a safe distance from the residents. PAWS management, keepers and volunteers will be on hand to tell you about the animals and answer questions. Advance tickets are required: $50 adults/$25 seniors and kids under 12.  Reserve tickets here or call 209-745-2606

For something truly unique and an immersive experience at the PAWS sanctuary, check out Seeing the Elephant” One or Two-Day Educational Weekend Getaway, March 25-26

The Two Day Option:

  • Arrival in San Andreas, California, on Friday March 24
  • Spend Friday and Saturday nights at a lovely bed & breakfast in this historic Gold Rush town.
  • Awake each morning to a scrumptious, homemade breakfast.
  • SATURDAY features an educational, fun-filled, daylong visit with PAWS’ elephants — Mara, Nicholas, Gypsy, Lulu, Prince, Toka, Thika and Maggie at ARK 2000.
  • You’ll receive an “insider’s” tour of the elephant habitat and spend the day with PAWS president, and co-founder, Ed Stewart, and ARK 2000 Sanctuary manager, and senior elephant keeper, Brian Busta.
  • A vegetarian (please specify if you would like vegan) picnic lunch will be served.
  • On your own for dinner Friday and Saturday – we might suggest exploring historic Mokelumne Hill with dinner at the Hotel Leger.
  • SUNDAY features a special extended visit with the lions, tigers, leopard and bears at ARK 2000. Receive an “insider’s” tour of the habitats.

Donation price for this unforgettable weekend: $800 per person ($1,300 for 2 people sharing a room)

Saturday, One Day Getaway:

  • Arrival in San Andreas, California, by 9 a.m.
  • Take part in an educational, fun-filled, day visit with PAWS’ elephants — Mara, Nicholas, Gypsy, Lulu, Prince, Toka, Thika and Maggie at ARK 2000. You’ll explore elephant habitat and spend the day with the PAWS president, and co-founder, Ed Stewart, and ARK 2000 sanctuary manager, and senior elephant keeper, Brian Busta.
  • A vegetarian (please specify if you would like vegan) picnic lunch will be served.

Donation price for this unique experience: $250 per person

RESERVATIONS: To make your pre-paid reservation for the 1- or 2-day getaway, contact Kim Gardner (916) 488-3991 or


town hall arts
Happy students at a Town Hall Arts workshop| File photo

Art Classes in Copper

Under the clock tower in Copper Town Square is a little gem known as Town Hall Arts, where on most days you’ll find a wide variety of classes and workshops taught by local artists to help you unlock your creative voice. The square is easy to spot from Highway 4 as you come into Copperopolis, and while you’re here, grab a coffee at Roasters Coffee Corner, try the specials at Griff’s BBQ & Grill, and top off the day with a glass of Calaveras’ finest at the Tipsy Frog Wine Bar.

Art classes and workshops rotate on a weekly basis, check in with the Town Hall Arts website for specific dates you’d like to visit. Here are a few sample classes:

Life Drawing with George Allen Durkee of Sheep Ranch

Want to improve your drawing skills?  Draw from a live model on Thursday mornings.  No experience needed.  Limited instruction if you want it, or George will stay out of your face if you don’t. Materials available at Town Hall Arts. You will need an 18×24 newsprint pad and drawing pencils (charcoal or graphite – 4B and/or 6B).

Old Masters’ Techniques with Heinie Hartwig of Soulsbyville

Learn to paint the way the old masters from 1860 to 1900 painted—detailed, yet fast and loose.  You will complete a good-sized painting in this six-hour class with Heinie, an internationally acclaimed painter whose work hangs in museums both in the US and Russia. Paintings will include landscapes, seascapes, still life, abstracts, and barns.

Handmade Paper and Abstract Collage with Jan Palemone and Jill Figler of Sonora

You will be introduced to the ancient craft and history of making paper. Jan will demonstrate couching and pressing techniques for forming sheets of paper. The use of decorative additives, embeddings, and imprinting techniques will also be explored, and you’ll create two unique sheets of handmade paper.


Be sure to check our full Calendar of Events for all the ways to experience Calaveras County!