Every now and then you have to bail and get out of town. My husband and I found ourselves suddenly without the offspring last weekend. We looked at each other, looked at the house, and decided that if we stuck around here, we'd probably feel obligated to clean something. So we packed a bag and got the hell out of dodge.
http://swingbug.net/sites/swingbug.net/files/John%20and%20Sandys2.jpgWe picked a little town in the foothills called Amador City. There's not much too it. That was kind of the point. Amador City was on Highway 49 until a few years ago when the Powers That Be built a bypass around it. Now this little town has the feeling of someplace that was once a ghost town, became a tourist stop, and is on its way to becoming ghost town again.
http://swingbug.net/sites/swingbug.net/files/Roving.jpgNice folks in Amador City. We stayed at the Imperial Hotel for a night, in a little annexed victorian house. We ate food we didn't cook and sat on the porch and read until late.
http://swingbug.net/sites/swingbug.net/files/Sock%20Blockers.jpgThe shops up that way are mostly filled with "antiques", using the word to various degress. I'm not much for expensive old stuff, but poking around I did meet a very nice knitter. The proprieter of John and Sandy's Country Living is a knitter and a spinner. I bought a handful of her hand-dyed fluff and we talked spinning wheels and fiber for a bit. If you're in the neighborhood, stop by and chat with her.
I found a sock blocker perfect for knee-highs in another antique shop. The folks in there were quite confused when I asked whether or not they had the pair and if they knew what size it was. Apparently you're supposed to just look at expense old stuff, not actually use it. Bizarre.
http://swingbug.net/sites/swingbug.net/files/Shop%20Cat.jpgI met three nice shop cats, also to varying degrees of antiquity, none of whom, alas, were for sale.
There are lots of cheese shops up that way. Shawn and I felt obligated to walk into all of them to verify that they did in fact have cheese in stock. They did. And beer too. Win, win.
A nice guy who runs a hiking shop in Sutter Creek gave us directions to a decent picnic spot on the Mokelumne, and we spent a couple hours in the afternoon with our newly acquired cheese-shop scores, wading in ice-cold water on a hot overcast afternoon.
http://swingbug.net/sites/swingbug.net/files/Cheese%20Shop.jpgDipping your feet in a river has a mellowing effect. Water drops slowly melting off snow miles above you trickle their way down rocky slopes until they part around your toes and head off past you on their long meandering way to the ocean. They're just doing what they do. You don't phase them much. You or your messy house waiting back at home. That's a nice bit of justification as you drift back down the hill yourself towards real life.