Sunday, September 13, 2015

Grass Valley

Last week we took a couple of days off for Joanne's birthday and kicked around the Grass Valley/Nevada City area.  We had a delightful time, even with the very hot weather, and the smoke that filtered in the second day.  We also learned an interesting thing: At around 7 am it was 82° in Grass Valley, and only 73° in Yuba City.  But by 3 pm it had reversed, being around 103° in YC and only 95° or so in Grass Valley.  As the purpose of the trip was to do nothing, we did a lot of that.  But we did find a few nice little places to eat in Grass Valley and spent most of a morning at the Empire Mine State Historic Park.  As a relaxing trip it was very effective.  Highlights include the lamb sandwich I had the night we arrived, and the lemon cucumber water we enjoyed the next day.  We also picked up some great licorice at a candy store that had at least 2 dozen different styles to choose from.  And finally, we picked up a bunch of pasties to take home with us.  There are basically 2 places in Grass Valley to get these traditional Cornish dishes so we got a few from each place.  They are delicious, but have prompted us to consider making our own even though I have searched in vain (so far) for an ancestor from Cornwall.  Here are some photos of what little we did.
The "dining car" at the hotel - an old dining car from a train.
 Looking down the principal mine entry shaft.  There were close to 400 miles of tunnels in the mine and it went to a vertical depth of nearly a mile. It is almost entirely submerged in water now.
Those iron bars reinforcing the walls are twisted trolley car tracks from San Francisco that were surplussed after the 1906 earthquake and made their way here.
 Sitting in the miner's cart that carried them down to work.
This photo was actually taken by a nice couple from just outside London.  They were impressed with the mine, and the USA in general, but could offer little in the way of background about Cornwall.
 Inside the mine owners "cottage".  This side board was imported from Bulgaria and is solid walnut.
 The dining room.  Those chairs are not comfortable, I sat in one.  Apparently the lady of the house did not care to linger over dinner, and didn't want guests to get too comfortable at table.
 The main sitting room, just inside the front door.
 The sitting room provided for the live in maid.  I thought that was very thoughtful.
 One side of the kitchen.
 The original wood stove that was used to cook the meals.
 Ice box, etc. in pantry.
 The butler's room where the meal courses were put together for service.
As mentioned, the lady of the house did not linger over meals.  When she was done and ready to move on to the next course, everyone else better be also, because she rang for the butler, the dishes were removed, and the next course brought in.
 The owner's study.  All of the paneling for the walls and ceilings is center-cut redwood without stain.
And it is all original.
 All the windows are leaded like this.
 A beautiful flower in the reflection pool.
 The view of the cottage from the reflection pool.
 My favorite place on the estate and mine.  This is the "maple concourse".  It was very peaceful and quiet, and a shade cooler than the rest of the area.  We could have sat there for hours.

One of the pasties we brought home.
Looks kinda like a smiley face - that is how we felt when we ate it.
These pasties are a traditional Cornish dish that the miners could take with them into the mines to eat.  They are a hearty meal and I am told that the firm and extensive crust surrounding them was there so that they could hold it with their dirty hands and not have to eat that part - there was obviously nowhere to clean up down in the mines.

1 comment:

  1. I always heard pasties were an Irish thing. The Hogges make and freeze a ton at a time. They are fabulous!