Spend a Day on the Antique Trail

In a region whose gold rush attracted cultures from around the world, it’s no surprise that treasures from many generations can be found in our area’s museums and antique shops.   A fun way to immerse yourself in exploring the past is to make a day of visiting some museums and then going hunting for elusive period pieces in nearby antique emporiums.

Angels Camp Museum

Start off the day in the county seat of San Andreas with a visit to the Calaveras County Museum complex, where you can peak inside a 19th century courthouse – and its adjacent jail, explore gold mining artifacts and learn about the anthropological past of the county. Then get ready to for an antiquer’s treat at the San Andreas Trading Post. These two sister locations under the same owner are chock-a-block full of unexpected finds – looking for a turn of the century camera or a one of a kind lamp? You can easily spend a day getting lost in their collections.

Once you’ve worked up an appetite grab a seat at the Pickle Patch restaurant. Their deli-style lunches are a local midday favorite, not only for their outstanding food, but also for their beautiful garden setting.

Make your way up to Angels Camp to the site of a once bustling gold mine at Angels Camp Museum. Known for one of the best curations of 19th century artifacts, you won’t want to miss the collection of antique stagecoaches or the model stamp mill. Their gift shop also boasts a wonderful selection for the history lover.   Nearby you’ll find Nellie Lou’s, a beautifully kept antique co-op.

Tea An’tiques in Murphys

Head on over to Murphys for two specialty shops worth a visit for the collector Murphys Trading Post and Boutique, for mens and womens fashion unique antiques and DEA Bathroom Machineries, where you’ll find a wealth of polished brass and porcelain acoutrements for the well-appointed bathroom, like antique and reproduction bathroom fixtures, high tank toilets, clawfoot tubs and pedestal sinks. Be sure to check out one of our newest wineries in downtown – Locke Vineyards, (on the corner of Main Street and Big Trees Road) whose owners combine their passion for the vine with antiques. You’ll find some one-of-a-kind pieces for sale in their tasting room. Insider tip for parents with toddlers on the go: their garden area is entirely fenced, so you can relax while you’re shopping and sipping.

Keep in the theme of antiques with an evening at the Murphys Historic Hotel  at the corner of Main and Algiers streets.  This period hotel not only serves great food and drinks, but also exudes a 19th century charm with period furniture, tales of the past and a saloon right out of an old western movie.

Murphys Historic Hotel Saloon
Murphys Historic Hotel’s Saloon – Photo: Rick E. Martin