Even today this picturesque mountain town is hardly a site of serenity, though it has long outgrown the vigilante past when it was known as Hangtown. Current residents do cherish their wild and woolly history, but they’re also quick to boast of the many diversions the town dangles to tempt tourists and newcomers alike.
Forget the obvious lures of hiking and biking, camping and gold-panning –you can find those in many other gold-town settlements. What you won’t find anywhere else is a gaming casino like Placerville’s, a professionally designed observatory, three museums, and a gold mine you can actually wander though at your own pace—the only one in California.
The Red Hawk Casino, which is operated by Miwok Indians, offers not only a full range of gaming sites, but also nine eateries, providing gourmet cuisine ranging from T-bones to tacos. The Kid’s Quest room is a favorite adventure spot if you need a place to enchant your youngsters while you try your luck at the tables.
The Architecture of Placerville constitutes a museum in itself. The oldest part of the city boasts Victorian structures faithful to every historic detail, and some that have adopted vivid new colors and modern touches. The oldest homes are on small, easy-care lots that appeal mightily to city-folk seeking a vacation retreat, but the farther you get from the old streets, the bigger the lots, including those with actual acreage. Other homes styles reflect just about every building fad that’s swept the country since the days of the 49ers.
Placerville is also a hop-skip-and-jump to South Lake Tahoe and the many activities there. But, you don't even have to go that far, because Placerville is also the doorstep to the Camino and Apple Hill fruit and wine trails. With several well known wineries and orchards only minutes from downtown Placerville, you can enjoy a stay-cation in your own back yard.
If commuting to larger cities is part of your plan, you'll be happy to know Folsom and Sacramento are an easy straight shot down the hill in Highway 50, and if you want to park and take light rail part of the way to Sacramento destinations, you can park in Folsom and go the rest of the way.
Placerville truly is one of those places that has something for everyone.
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