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Stay l Play l Dine l Shop l Explore See what’s waiting for you this Christmas!



Fall/Winter 2013


Birding Tours

Fall Colors in Yosemite

Our Heritage Wilderness Cover: Evan and Ethan Harrington Photograph by Melissa Harrington

Discover Small Town Cheer This Year •

Columbia • Groveland Jamestown • Sonora & Twain Harte


See What’s Waiting for you in Tuolumne County this Holiday Season Visit

Nov. 2, 2013 Twain Harte Rotary Shrimp Fest Tuolumne Memorial Hall. Begins at 5:00 pm. /calendar.aspx Nov. 11, 2013 Annual Veterans Day Memorial Golf Tournament At Pine Mountain Lake. Check in at 9:30 am. Nov. 12, 2013 Flavorful Fall Fund-raiser Black Oak Casino Resort Hotel. Event starts at 8:00 pm.

Give your family a special gift this Holiday 2 Season. Visit Columbia, Groveland, Jamestown, Sonora, & Twain Harte this year and Discover Christmas all over again. A little Small Town Cheer won’t cost you your sanity or put a dent in your wallet. The cookies, hot chocolate and smiles are on us. See what’s waiting for you. Christmas begins at

Nov. 15, 2013 - Dec. 22, 2013 It’s A Wonderful Life: A Live Radio Play Sierra Repertory Theatre East Sonora. Nov. 15, 2013 - Dec. 22, 2013 The Game’s Afoot Play Stage 3 Theatre in Sonora Nov. 23, 2013 Rim Fire Ranchers Relief Fundraiser Dinner Mother Lode Fairgrounds. Begins at 5:00 pm. Nov. 29, 2013 & Nov. 30, 2013 Hometown Crafters Holiday Craft Faire & Boutique Historic Opera Hall in Sonora. Friday 10:00 am – 9:00 pm. Saturday 10:00 am to 6:00 pm. Nov. 29, 2013 Sonora Christmas Parade Washington Street, Sonora. Starts at 5:30 pm. Nov. 29, 2013 - Dec. 1, 2013 39th Sonora Christmas Craft & Music Festival Mother Lode Fairgrounds, Sonora. Friday 10:00 am to 5:00 pm Saturday 10:00 am to 4:00 pm. Nov. 29, 2013 & Nov. 30, 2013 Groveland Christmas Craft Faire Takes place at Groveland Community Hall. Nov. 29 & 30 & Dec. 1, 2013 Big Oak Flat Craft Faire 9:00 am to 5:00 pm on Friday &

Saturday, 10:00 am to 3:00 pm Sunday Dec. 1st. Nov. 29, 2013 - Dec. 1, 2013 Dec. 14, 2013 - Dec. 15, 2013

Santa Express at Railtown Historic Railtown in Jamestown. Departing on the hour from 11 to 3, Friday, Saturday and Sunday. Nov. 29, 2013 - Nov. 30, 2013 Santa’s Starlight Express at Railtown 1897 An evening train ride with Santa and carolers. Dec. 6, 2013 Twain Harte Christmas Parade Begins at 5:00 pm in downtown Twain Harte. Dec. 6, 2013 - Dec. 7, 2013 30th Anniversary Lamplight Tour in Columbia Begins at 5:00 pm at Columbia State Historic Park. upcoming/ Dec. 6, 2013 - Dec. 8, 2013 Sounds Of The Season At Sonora Opera Hall. Dec. 7, 2013 Twain Harte Free Community Dinner Begins at 4:00 pm at Telele Lodge. Dec. 8, 2013 Columbia All Equestrian Christmas Parade Columbia State Historic Park. Begins at 11:00 am.

Dec. 8, 2013 Las Posadas Nativity Procession Columbia State Historic Park. Event from 5:00 pm- 6:00 pm. upcoming/ Dec. 12, 2013 - Dec. 15, 2013 The Pine Cone Singers Winter Concert Series Groveland Evangelical Church. Starts at 7:30 pm on Dec. 12th and 13th. Starts at 2:00 pm on Dec. 14th and 15th. Dec. 13, 2013 Merry Merchants Columbia State Historic Park. Begins at 5:00 pm to 8:00 pm. upcoming/ Dec. 13, 2013 Railtown 1897 Steam Train Comes to Sonora Decorated for Christmas. Washington Street and Hospital Road in Sonora. From 5:00 pm to 7:00 pm. Dec. 14, 2013 & Dec. 15, 2013 Dec. 21, 2013 & Dec. 22, 2013 A Miner’s Christmas Columbia State Historic Park. Event from 1:00 pm to 4:00 pm. upcoming/ Dec. 20, 2013

The Black Irish Band Christmas Show Black Oak Casino. Event starts at 8:00 pm.

Our Community Partner


Live Well. Be Well.




Sonora Chamber of Commerce • Paul Bell


Paul Pieretti, 209.962.4143

EDITORIAL & PHOTOGRAPH contributors Paul Bell The Yosemite Conservancy YExplore, John DeGrazio, Robb Hirsch The Tuolumne County Visitors Bureau Melissa Harrington Sierra Repertory Theatre/Stage 3 California State Historic Parks



Evan and Ethan Harrington enjoy lunch at the new JDoggs Diner at 110 South Washington Street. Photograph by Melissa Harrington (Sun B.E.A.M.S. Boutique).

This Edition of Explore Sonora pays special attention to Railtown 1897, one of the area’s most popular attractions. We encourage both visitors and locals alike to discover a bit of our Western History and Heritage this spring, through summer, fall and winter.

Voted ‘Best Chinese Restaurant’ 2009, 2010 & 2011!



See what’s waiting for you in Tuolumne County. Discover Columbia, Groveland, Jamestown, Sonora and Twain Harte this year. 4 SMALL TOWN CHEER EVENT HIGHLIGHTS

You can’t possibly do everything– but you can try at least! Catch the Holiday Parade Trolley or Engine #3 at Railtown 1897. 5 discoveries - food

Some things are forever– like a good, old-fashioned hot dog, hamburger and a milkshake. JDoggs Diner revives some American favorites in a perfect setting. 6-7 The good life

Your shopping guide chock full of unique stores and small town experiences. 8 DISCOVERIES & ADVENTURES


Yosemite National Park celebrates the 150 Anniversary of the 1864 Grant Act signed by President Lincoln. 8 the spirit of adventure/The believers The

Sonora Chamber of Commerce

The Voice of Commerce, Culture & Community

Mailing Address P.O. Box 3084 Sonora, CA 95370 Telephone: 209.694.4405 WEBSITE

For over 150 years Americans have traversed our Wilderness with unique enthusiasm. President Teddy Roosevelt and John Muir unite to preserve Yosemite and all National Parks for future generations. 9 YOSEMITE IN FALL & WINTER

Yexokire offers a unique opportunity to see another side , and less-travelled features of our heritage wilderness. 9 BIRDING

E-MAIL: Fall, winter and spring provide an experience to treasure The Sonora Chamber of Commerce is a membership organization as you discover some of the Sierra’s feathered residents. representing the community of Sonora. As the Sonora Chamber of Commerce, we concentrate our marketing efforts within the 11, 13-14 The good life Greater Sonora area. The Sonora Chamber of Commerce is also Your shopping guide chock full of unique stores and dedicated to raising the awareness of Tuolumne County through tourism, and markets the area as a tourism destination. small town experiences. EXPLORE SONORA is a joint publication of The Sonora Chamber 12 LIVE THEATRE of Commerce and Paul Bell l Marketing Solutions. Every effort has been made to ensure that all information contained herein Sierra Rep and Stage 3 Theatre offer an outstanding is accurate at the time of publication, but neither entity assumes season this Spring. Don’t miss anything! any responsibility for errors, omissions and changes. 14 DINING GUIDE

Paul Bell l Marketing Solutions P.O. Box 5572, Sonora, CA 95370 Telephone: 209.352.8551


Whatever you crave, we’ll help you find it. 15 cave & mine adventures

Have the BEST Birthday ever!

We are proud to be a acknowledge the Yosemite Conservancy and its celebration of the 150th Anniversary of the Yosemite Grant. Please support their effort to preserve this Natural Wonder and its legacy for generations to come. Over the next 18 months, in this and future issues of both Discover Groveland and Explore Sonora Magazines, we will offer articles of interest and celebration of Yosemite National Park. Look for their Commemorative Logo adjacent to related articles.

Tuolumne County Transit •

209.532.0404 • •


Special Trolley Service for community EVENTS Hometown Crafters Holiday Faire & Craft Boutique 30th Annual Christmas Craft and Music Festival Santa Comes to Railtown (1897)


Small Town Cheer

firm prior to your visit. Ongoing Depot Store & Interpretive Center 9:30 - 4:30 Apr. - Oct. & 10 - 3 Nov.-Mar. Closed Tuesdays & Wednesdays Thanksgiving, Christmas & New Year’s Day Railtown 1897 St. Historic Park Offices and General Information: (209) 984-3953 Website: Blog:


ive your family a special gift this Holiday Season. A little Small Town Cheer won’t cost you your sanity or put a dent in your wallet. Discover Christmas all over again! Brought to you by the Sonora Chamber of Commerce.

Christmas Lights Lane

2nd Saturday Art Walk



uring the Holidays, Historic Downtown Sonora will Light Up Your Life with twinkle lights, window displays and Christmas Cheer! Shop and Stroll and vote for your favorite merchant window. The Sonora Chamber of Commerce is pleased to announce the Third Annual ‘Historic Downtown Sonora Best Dressed Window or Holiday Display Contest’ for this Holiday 44 Shopping Season. Historic Downtown Sonora businesses are encouraged to celebrate the Season by embracing the spirit of our own brand of Small Town Cheer and capturing the attention of locals and visitors alike.

Shop & Stroll


orget the hassles of the big city and mall madness. Shop and Stroll in Sonora, Twain Harte Jamestown and Groveland during the Holidays and experience a little of our Small Town Cheer!

Dodge Ridge SkiBus


inter brings snow, skiing, snowboarding and Family Fun! Hop on board in Historic Downtown Sonora and leave the driving to Tuolumne County Transit. Visit for details.

Santa’s Starlight Express


or two nights only -- on Friday, November 29 and Saturday, November 30 -- visitors are encouraged to bundle up and join Santa

November 29th


and his musical friends for two lighted Christmas trains departing at 5:30 and 7 p.m. The special train rides -- lighted and filled with the music and magic of Christmas – are sure to get visitors in the holiday spirit with live holiday music and caroling aboard the train. Santa will join riders on a train of festively lit cars pulled by a vintage diesel locomotive. Every child will have plenty of time to whisper their wishes to Santa as he and his elves make their way through the train, accompanied by entertaining live music. Also, free hot chocolate will be served on board the trains. And, as another special holiday treat, Sierra No. 3 -known as the “Movie Star Locomotive” -- will be all decked out and on special display as well. Tickets for the nighttime rides aboard “Santa’s Starlight Express” are $24 for adults, $12 for youths, and free for children 2 and under (traveling on a lap). New this year, first-class tickets are available for $33 for adults and $15 for youths. Discounted train ride tickets are available to members.

Santa By Daylight


opular “Santa By Daylight” train rides also continue this year on November 29, 30 & December 1, and again on December 14 & 15. With Santa on board, a holiday-lit vintage diesel locomotive will pull the trains on November 29 & 30 whereas Sierra No. 3 will do so on December 1, 14 & 15. Trains run hourly from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. and cost $15 for adults, $8 for youths, free for children 5 and under (& members). Advanced tickets are strongly recommended and are available online here or by calling the depot store at 209-984-3953. All dates and time subject to change, Call to con-

very 2nd Saturday of the month, 5pm-9pm, Historic Downtown Sonora comes alive with Art & Music! Experience Sonora’s magic every month when retail stores, art galleries are all open and feature great local art and the best Sonora musicians. 209.532.7697

Buy A Brick Program

“Contribute to the Future of the Mother Lode Fairgrounds – Your Fairgrounds and the Biggest Venue for Events in Tuolumne County!”

The Friends of the Mother Lode Fairgrounds, has embarked on a new fund raising campaign, the Buy-A-Brick Program.This effort is intended to raise public awareness of the Fairground’s need to be preserved for generations to come. These personalized, engraved bricks will raise funds while providing donor recognition and improve designated areas of the Mother Lode Fairgrounds. Enhancement of the Fairgrounds as well as providing additional operational, repair and improvement funds is a primary mission of the Friends of the Mother Lode Fairgrounds. The Buy-A-Brick Program will sell individual 8” x 8” pavers, for $100 each and $50 each for smaller 8” x 4” bricks. The engraved pavers and bricks will be laid at several Fairgrounds locations. The pavers and bricks can preserve the donor’s, children’s or grandchildren’s names, or be a memorial to a loved one. Considered it for holiday or special occasion gift giving. For more information visit the Mother Lode Fairgrounds website at:


SONORA CHRISTMAS PARADE The City of Sonora Presents this Holiday Favorite on Friday, November 23 5:30 p.m. rain or shine rd

Ride the Holiday Trolley All Day to Downtown Sonora on Parade Day l visit for Parking & Trolley Info


JDoggs Diner


ew places generate a warm and fun feeling the moment you enter them, and when you come to Sonora you’ve hit the Mother Lode. Along these streets of gold you’ll find each building has its own individuality, and none better suits the vibe

of a small restaurant than the one at 110 S.Washington Street. It reinvigorates the concept of a classic diner, in the sincerest and best sense. JDoggs isn’t just ‘‘reminiscent’ of a diner— it’s the real thing. The owners, Justin Bermea and Jackie Wynn, longtime friends, have completely updat-

ed the restaurant space with simple, authentic, bright, contrasting colors; black, white and red. The nickel-plated period lighting fixtures accentuate that 1950’s celebration of casual family dining. The kitchen is all-new and the stainless steel gleams proudly in the back where you can watch your lunch or dinner being briskly prepared. You’ll have the feeling you’ve stepped back into the 40’s and 50’s era as your senses are captivated by the aroma of classic hot dogs, burgers and fries, the sound of big band music and the warm hospitality. JDoggs originally started as a hot dog cart offering unique hot dogs in front of a jewel of a location at the Sonora Lowe’s.Then a wonderful opportunity presented itself at 110 S.Washington St. As locals, Justin and Jackie knew the history of this very special location in the Heart of historic downtown Sonora, which has

played host to many successful businesses dating back to the Gold Rush Era. A vintage black and white checkered floor compliments the building with its long, narrow shape, a sleek, pearl-finished retro counter and comfortable booths. Yes, the building sets the stage, but the menu really takes you back. With a wide range of hot dogs, from Chicago style to chilicheese and the basic “you fix it the way you want it” dog, to the juicy burgers grilled the old-fashioned way, along with delicious fries, milkshakes and malts, one really feels like they’ve stepped back in time. JDoggs 110 S Washington St. Sonora, CA 95370 (209) 532-2792



Joan’s Boutique

selection of greeting cards to make your gift complete. Now that’s one-stop shopping! Sonora’s Favorite Kitchen Store 98 S. Washington St. Sonora, CA 95370 (209) 588-1400

E 6

xploring Downtown Sonora will likely reveal a pleasant surprise that you might not be expecting to find in such a small town. Joan’s Boutique at 52 S. Washington St. is owned and personally attended to by Joan Richardson, who’s been a retail merchant for more than two decades. Joan’s store has been a fixture of the community for years and it’s difficult to find women of any age who don’t shop there for that special discovery. Whether it’s clothing and accessories, or just her pleasant company during any hour of her very long retail day, which never seems to deter her from her positive, friendly and out-going demeanor. What is quickly revealed is Joan’s and her staff’s readiness to please every customer. Everyone is made to feel comfortable, which is exactly what Small Town Cheer is all about. Joan’s Boutique has been voted ‘The Best Woman’s Boutique/Clothing Store’ for six years in a row in the Union Democrat’s annual readers poll. She and her staff were recently voted Best Overall Customer Service. Joan’s Boutique 52 S. Washington St. Sonora, CA 95370 (209) 533-1550

Tradewinds t’s always an adventure shopping at


Tradewinds. Their main focus is women’s clothing: better and designer labels (no more than two years old, or classic, timeless styles) in new or like-new condition. They carry all accessories: belts, footwear, hats, scarves and jewelry. They also have a small consignment section for men, with an emphasis on Hawaiian and silk shirts.

Sonora’s Favorite Kitchen Store f you’re looking for anything unique and


useful for the kitchen, bath or garden, stop here first— and you’re likely to find it among their stock of kitchen gadgets, tools and accessories. They carry Nordic Ware, Chantal, BIA Cordon Bleu, Microplane, and more. Decorate a beautiful table with accent brands: TAG, Root Candles, April Cornell, and IHR paper napkins. Their indoor Market under the Awning offers a selection of gourmet jams, preserves, olive oils, baking mixes, spices, loose and bagged teas and seasonal treats to tempt you. Find your favorite fragrance from their complete line of Crabtree and Evelyn or the Home Thymes collection. Search their Garden section for the perfect accent for your entry, patio, or table. Sonora’s Favorite Kitchen Store also features a selection of Mt. Brow Wine and a selection of wine related products, gifts on’t just be part of the herd— start and gadgets. Customer Service is their specialty, with free a stampede by visiting Let ‘er Buck a few doors down from the Four Cor- gift-wrap on every purchase.They even offer a

Let ‘er Buck!


ners intersection of Bradford & Washington streets. There’s a wide selection of new and quality consignment Western wear including belts, boots and hats. Let ‘er Buck also offers Jim’s Formal Wear, uniforms (ems, fire, chp, cdcr), as well as children’s clothing. Because they wear what they sell, you are getting first-hand knowledge of what works! They can outfit the able ranch hand as well as the next Rodeo Queen. They take exceptional care of their customers, striving to provide the best value, selection, and service in the business. Let ‘er Buck has something for everyone. Let ‘er Buck Western Wear 68 S. Washington St. Sonora, CA 95370 (209) 533-1144

Nearly all the home decor items you will see in the store are for sale on consignment. While not a vintage store, you will find a smattering of vintage couture pieces and traditional Hawaiian attire. Since they average over 100 new pieces to the floor daily, you just never know what you’ll find! Some favorite brands that you’ll find at Tradewinds are: Ann Taylor, Armani, Banana Republic, Brighton, Cache, Chicos, Liz Claiborne, Coach, Gucci, Anne Klein, and Ralph Lauren, to name a few! Tradewinds 63 S. Washington St. Sonora, CA 95370 (209) 588-8810


Insuring our community since 1987 Business • Home • Auto Life • Health • Bonds (209) 533-0234

Mountain Home Gifts

ter if you want to be bronzed for a special event, vacation or just because you want that tan, now! Addictions Spray Tanning will get it right each and every time without the harmful effects of UV tanning.


un B.E. A.M. is your one-stop shop for stylish clothing, shoes and accessories for baby (up to size 12), diaper bags, baby skin care, and one of a kind gift items.


his unique gift store in Historic Downtown Sonora carries a wide selection of gifts, art, books and clothing that celebrate life in Sonora, the mountains and the surrounding small towns and foothill communities. If you’re walking, hiking, camping or exploring, there’s a collection of guidebooks related to the foothills, the Sierras,Yosemite National Park and the region. You can find reproductions of vintage signs, posters, postcards and other memorabilia related to life in the foothills, mountains and Yosemite National Park. There is also a selection of books by local authors. Mountain Home Gifts also specializes in Sonora branded clothing and merchandise. They also have furniture that can be customized to reflect favorite memories of your visit, your cabin or home. Mountain Home Gifts

87 S. Washington St. Sonora, CA 95370 (209) 533-5319

Addictions Spray Tanning & Fashion


onora’s first and only spray tanning salon uses vegan-certified, organic spray tanning ingredients. At Addictions, every customer is important, so they make sure that you look your best and that the color compliments your natural skin tone and is perfect after every session. No mat-

Sun B.E.A.M. Baby & Kids Boutique

Addictions Fashion features contemporary clothing, shoes, handbags and accessories for women and girls. They carry reasonably priced limited edition collections with new themes launched every week. Featured lines include Naked Zebra, H&G, Miss Chic, Color Story, BLVD, Nine Bird and Lush among many more favorites. Addictions is one of Sonora’s newest, trendsetting boutiques catering to your favorite addictions.


Addictions Spray Tanning & Fashion 128 S. Washington St. Sonora, CA 95370 (209) 617-3689

This is the perfect place to shop and register for any occasion. The owners (all moms) feature B.O.B. Strollers, Citizens of Humanity Maternity Jeans, Petunia Pickle Bottom, Charlie Rocket and Mud Pie, plus many more brands. For the expectant mom, Sun Beams carries maternity clothing as well. Sun B.E.A.M. Baby & Kids Boutique 136 S. Washington St. Sonora, CA 95370 (209) 532-5800

every walk, picnic, outing, or camping and packing trip as an adventure. There was always an element of daring to these explorations. And if you fell off a cliff, it was your own fault for getting too close to the edge.

ers developed a deep appreciation and affection for Wilderness and its preservation.


osemite invites you to discover its unique history as a National Park remains California’s Heritage Wilderness. “Thousands

of tired, nerve-shaken, over-civilized people are beginning to find out that going to the mountains is going home; that wildness is a necessity...” --John Muir, 1898

The The

Yosemite Grant Act osemite has been an inspi-


ration for generations. On June 30, 1864, President Abraham Lincoln signed the Yosemite Grant Act, establishing Yosemite Valley and Mariposa Grove as the first protected wild land for all time. In addition, this grant marked the first California State Park. Visionary Americans like Abraham Lincoln, Theodore Roosevelt, John Muir, and Galen Clark understood that the wonders of the American wilderness are not only our inheritance, but our responsibility. Now, 150 years later, the promise of the Yosemite Grant endures as this beloved national park opens its arms to over 4 million people annually who marvel at the awe-inspiring beauty and gain a new understanding of the importance of preserving our wild lands.



Spirit of Adventure

hose born in the new and expanding world of the mid-nineteenth and early twentieth century were instilled with a pioneering spirit of exploration and discovery in


Muir’s concern was not only for forest preservation but felt that the California State Grant of Yosemite Valley and the Mariposa Grove, surrounded in 1892 by Yosemite National Park, be receded and granted to the United States for inclusion in the park. In June 1906 his Joint Resolution accepted the recession by the State of California of the Yosemite Valley Grant and the Mariposa Big Tree Grove (the Mariposa Grove of Giant Sequoias) became part of Yosemite National Park.

“There can be nothing in the world more beautiful than the Yosemite, the groves of the giant sequoias...Our people should see to it that they are preserved for their children and their Children’s children forever, with their majestic beauty all unmarred,” remarked Roosevelt.

A young man, Jack Kelley (circa 1920), braves the edge of Overhanging Rock at Glacier Point, 3,000 feet (914 meters) above the Valley floor. (Inset) An irresistible, though dangerous, favorite spot for photographs. Photo courtesy the Kelley family.


erhaps it was just plain foolhardiness, but there were few fences, gates, warning signs or threats of potential lawsuits or prosecutions to prevent these explorers from seeing every angle of this beautiful country and capturing that experience with that newest innovation of the modern era, the camera. t had only been a generation or two since the settling of the West and charting of its Wilderness. With the advent of railroads, steamships and the touring car, these modern modes of transportation only fueled the thirst for more adventure and further into the newly discovered wilderness. hrough the individual and collective experience of places like Yosemite Valley, these 19th and 20th century explor-



President Roosevelt and John Muir at Glacier Point with Yosemite Falls in the distance. Roosevelt established five national parks during his presidency.


Photo courtesy Library of Congress

n May 1903, on a three-day wilderness camping trip, President Theodore Roosevelt (1901 - 1909) visited naturalist, John Muir in Yosemite. They traversed Yosemite from the Mariposa Grove visiting Sentinel Dome, Glacier Point, and the Yosemite Valley. In his autobiography, ‘Outdoors and Indoors’ the President, referring to Muir, wrote,

“Of course of all the people in the world, he was the one with whom it was best worth while thus to see the Yosemite.”

Three Brothers above the Merced River

The Sonora Chamber of Commerce is proud to offer Yosemite Grant 150th Anniversary Merchandise that will benefit the Yosemite Conservancy! Visit for details.

$15.95 1

Discover A Mild or Wild Yosemite Adventure

Y-Explore: Yosemite Wilderness Guides and Naturalists

sistant guides have spent countless hours on the trails in Yosemite and throughout the world. Alexa Melville and Christelle Harris are an avid hiking and rock climbing mother “The Yosemite 5” John DeGrazio, Robb Hirsch, Mark and daughter team Petersen, Gabe Mange, and Dan Webster Photo courtesy whose team building skills are appreohn DeGrazio is the company’s ciated by all groups. Carrie Carlfounder and continues to enjoy son is a recreation specialist who sharing wonderful Yosemite expe- has developed several programs riences with clients of all ages on for the youth, families, and seniors. Each naturalist hiking guide numerous diverse trails throughpossesses a wealth of experience out the park. Pete Devine is a Yosemite expert who has served hiking, backpacking, and guiding in the park for over 25 years. Au- throughout Yosemite’s wilderthor, David Lukas, lends his ex- ness. Every guide also owns a vast pertise to the faculty of YExplore knowledge of Yosemite’s terrain where several experienced Natu- which allows us to offer many ralists direct our hiking tours. Da- unique specialty outings throughvid is the author of Wild Birds of out the park in all seasons. California and the newly revised Sierra Nevada Natural History guidebook. uring a birding tour in Dan Webster has been an outYosemite National Park the door educator for several years excitement can range from spotand is among the most respected naturalists in the Yosemite region. ting an elusive raptor soaring Lindsay Black and Matteo Fiori are above the high cliffs to listening both bilingual and can lead English to the familiar call of your target and Spanish speaking tours. As a species while being led through climber and photographer,Gabriel several diverse habitats. Birding packages can be created Mange is a well rounded adventure guide with vast experience to match the needs of every adventurer with any range of expeand interesting insights. Ryan Potts and Tamara Faulkner rience. Anyone from the everyday are expert backpackers who com- bird lover to experts looking to pleted the 2600 mile Pacific Crest track down specialty birds of the Trail (PCT) together. Zeb Driv- western mountains will be guided dahl is a trained EMT and Search on these remarkable tours by and Rescue professional who David Lukas. David is an author enjoys every minute of the time of Sierra Nevada Birds and a local he spends in the Sierra. James Mc- bird expert with over 20 years Grew spends each summer lead- experience leading bird tours in ing interpretive programs for the the Sierra Nevada. There is also Parks Department and is avail- the option to spend the day birdable for our specialty programs in ing in Yosemite with Dan Webster Hetch Hetchy Valley. All of our as- or Pete Devine. Each are experts




in the field of birding, share an in- tats with shorter stops at each volvement with the Audubon Soci- site. These tours will also vary ety, and have been leading birding dramatically in response to the groups in the past couple of de- shifting seasons and bird populacades. Outings with David Lukas, Dan Webster, and Pete Devine are offered throughout the year. Birding tours during the winter season (November to March) are available and full of excitement. These Great Grey Owl (Strix nebulosa) on Oak Snag, Groveland, CA Photo by Robb Hirsch tours focus on highly productive low-elevation tions, with the goal of visiting the habitats around El Portal, with most productive and interesting excursions into Yosemite Valley sites on an almost week-by-week and Forest when snow condi- basis. The Half Day Tour lasts aptions allow.This is a fantastic sea- proximately 5 hours with a packson to savor the rich mix of res- age price for 2 people at $300 ident birds and winter visitors and for 3 people at $375.Transect that gather on the sun-warmed Tours last approximately 8 hours slopes of the Merced River Can- with a package price for 2 people yon to eat insects and berries. at $400 and for 3 people at $525. Expect to see huge flocks of Both tours have a 2 person miniAmerican robins, plus western mum but all birding tours can be bluebirds, Townsend’s solitaires, made private by adding $125 to and cedar waxwings passing over- the price of the excursion. head. While at close range wrenWith the help of a guide and tits, woodpeckers, quail, jays, nut- being immersed in the diversity of hatches, chickadees, sparrows, and the wildlife of Yosemite, a birding more will be spotted. Although tour is an experience that is full colorful spring migrants aren’t of excitement and beauty that will present until April, this is a sur- not to be forgotten. prisingly beautiful and interesting Y Explore season to catch the magnificence 209.532.7014 of the Yosemite bird life. The winter is birding tour guide David Lukas’ favorite habitat and favorite time of year to be birding in the Sierra Nevada. Custom birding tours fall into two broad categories: Half Day Tours that focus on target birds or habitats with long stops at each site, and Transect Tours that visit a full range of Yosemite habi209.206.2235

Pictured left to right; Wrentit, Ash-throated Flycatcher, Male Spotted Towhee, Blue (Sooty) Grouse. Photos courtesy Robb Hirsch Photography.

The Historic

Gunn House Hotel

Don’t miss our famous HotelBreakfast– Bear Innkeeper’s Built in 1850 ‘Gunny’ Our Famous

In the Heart of Historic Downtown Sonora

Waffles made to order!

Rooms $79-$125

286 S. Washington Street, Sonora, CA 95370 Reservations (209) 532-3421

Mild Yosemite Adventures Y-Explore Guided Family Hikes

tory Gentle and Moderate Hikes at a special discount to families. Additional discounts are available for any group over 5 people for other types of hiking trips. Expect to hike four to six miles with minimal elevation gains. Excursions will last approximately four to five hours.


pend quality time with your family while learning the natural history of Yosemite National Park. These interpretative tours combine short easy hikes with outdoor educational sessions that will benefit children and parents alike. Learn about the natural world and listen to the stories of Yosemite while we take you to some of the best photo spots in the park. We offer these introduc-

Fall Colors


osemite Valley is aglow from the dogwood-lined Merced River to the black oaks of El Capitan Meadow. Now is the time to visit. Literally, right now. Drop everything you are doing and go into Yosemite Valley to witness one of the best displays of fall colors we have seen in years.You’ll be glad you did.

tive tours are suitable for everyone from beginners to experts. We provide the snowshoes and trekking poles so bring your sense of adventure and see what the summer crowds are missing. Enjoy a pleasant halfday snowshoe hike on a relatively gentle trail in Yosemite Valley or other lesser known trails. We will cover basic snowFall Colors: Brilliant Black Oaks in Yosemite Valley shoeing techniques and will tailor the day’s program to your experience level. xplore the quiet trails of If the snow level in the area is Yosemite on a pair of below adequate, we will consnowshoes for a truly memo- duct the tour as a hike and will rable experience. The winter most likely extend its distance months offer exclusive oppor- to compensate. This activity tunities to enjoy some of Yo- is perfect for beginners and semite’s less frequently visited families. Interpretive Tours attractions from a truly differ- will travel approximately 3 ent perspective. Snowshoe- miles and last up to 4 hours. ing is a fun winter activity for Discounts are applied when the entire family. Anyone can more than one person joins master the simple-to-follow this tour. techniques, and our interpre-



Frozen Yogurt

Salad Bar• Sandwich Bar

Self Serve Lucky to get six hours of sleep?

• • • • • •

15,000 Sq. Ft. Showroom Interior Design Services Home Decor Accessories 39 Years Experience Extended Financing O.A.C. Open 7 Days a Week Mon-Sat 10-5, Sun 12-4

37 S. Stewart Street • Downtown Sonora • 209-536-9834

Senior Discounts 11 So. Washington Street, Sonora, CA 95370 Hours: Mon-Sat 10 am - 9 pm • Sun 11 am - 7 pm

(209) 532-6403


A & Mgreat Custom Framing frame does more than pro-


tect the artwork it surrounds. It enhances and adds a personal touch to an entire room. A&M strives to work with their customers to create a design that is unique to their own personal decorating style. They offer a large selection of custom frames, ready-made frames, and quality matting in a wide variety of colors with experience in all aspects of custom framing including canvas stretching, needlework, pastel, photography, prints, sports memorabilia and shadow boxes.

The owners, Rick and Melody, pride themselves on providing exceptional service and making sure all of their customers are properly fit in comfortable, yet stylish footwear. They also cater to the working men of the area with Red Wing and Wesco work boots, and if you don’t see what you need, they will be a happy to special order them for you. If you don’t live in the area, just give them a call or send an email, as they also offer free shipping within the continental United States. Downtown Shoes 4 S. Washington St. (209) 532-2500

Visit them at 228 North Washington Street, just past the Red Church.They look forward to helping you creatively preserve all your precious memories and fine art. A&M Custom Framing 228 North Washington Street Sonora, California 95370 209-532-7411 Hours: Wednesday - Saturday 10am - 5pm Tuesdays & evenings by appointment.

If the shoe fits


owntown Shoes is a foot-weary welcome to Historic Downtown Sonora as a new full service shoe store. Downtown Shoes specializes in comfortable and stylish shoes, boots and sandals for both men and women, along with a fun selection of socks and handbags. They pride themselves on the quality of their product lines. Close to Yosemite National Park, they offer you an opportunity to get yourself a quality pair of hiking, tramping, stomping or plain walking shoes for your exhilarating excursion into the wilderness, or just in and around town.

is a boutique, while the back half of the store is a dedicated consignment shop, with something to fit every budget, every taste and aspiration. As you wander through the shop, favorite things might happen to catch your eye. Certainly some of the unique jewelry that is offered, and many pieces that you’ll realize couldn’t be gotten elsewhere, and you’d best get them now, because you’ll never find them again. From the art lining the historic stone walls, to the beautiful display of clothing suited for a high-end boutique in San Francisco, Lauren and Lissa have made their shop into something that any woman is sure to enjoy. And it’s in Sonora of all places. According to the owners of Backspace, “We created it with love– and passion for a beautiful 1880’s gold rush building, and filled it with lovelies. Soft, timeless, versatile, wear-in-any-season pieces for your wardrobe. Along with vintage furnishings, local art, accessories, artisan jewelry (including a Jewelry Bar, where you can custom design your own pieces), or have something extra special made by us! Come in.You won’t be sorry...” Backspace: A Retail Retreat 67 South Washington St. Sonora, CA 95370 (209) 532-4894 Continued on page 12


he shop is lovely. It’s filled with one-of-a-kind pieces made by local artists as well as clothing, art and accessories that have a definitive feel. The first thing you’ll notice when walking in, is the atmosphere that Lauren Hurley and Lissa Anderson, the owners, have created. The space is warm and inviting, offering an unparalleled experience for its shoppers. You’ve reached their promise and are now part of their vision of the shop; a retail retreat. Along with vintage furnishings, local art, accessories and jewelry, you’ll be sure to find clothing suitable to your tastes. The front part of the store


OPEN 7 DAYS 108 South Washington St. Downtown Sonora 209.588.8899



685 South Washington St., Sonora • 209.536.1400 •

Live Theatre Sierra Repertory Theatre Co.

Sierra Rep (or SRT) presents nine mainstage shows per year at two locations – the original East Sonora Theater and the Historic Fallon House Theatre in Columbia State Historic Park. Sierra Rep plays to an audience coming from both the Mother Lode area and from an hour or more away.

2013 Season Harvey


October 25 - November 24 Fallon House Theater Elwood P. Dowd is a cheerful and charming fellow with one character flaw: an unwavering friendship with a 6-foot-tall, invisible rabbit named Harvey. In order to save the family’s social reputation, Elwood’s sister Veta takes him to the local sanitorium. But when doctors mistakenly commit his anxiety-ridden sister, Elwood - and Harvey slip out of the hospital, setting off a hilarious whirlwind of confusion and chaos as everyone in town tries to catch a man and his invisible rabbit. This irresistible classic American comedy is chock-full of eccentric and love able characters and has warmed the hearts of audiences for generations. A feel-good fantasy for the whole family. Pulitzer Prize winner.

It’s a Wonderful Life

A Live Radio Play November 15 - December 22 East Sonora Theatre George Bailey famously learns that ‘no man is a failure who has friends’ in It’s a Wonderful Life: A Live Radio Play. Inspired by the classic film, this holiday treat brings the spirit of the season to captivating life on stage right before your eyes (and ears). Performed as a 1940’s live radio broadcast in front of a studio audience, five actors play the dozens of characters as well as produce the sound effects. Engage your imagination and see the story anew with this nostalgic and spirit-lifting tale. ‘One of the best holiday shows around... This is a fresh and inventive way of reconnecting with a classic story of love and redemption.’ - Chicago Sun-Times

2014 Season Les Misérables

March 1 - May 4 East Sonora Theatre A musical event you will never forget. Boublil and Schonberg’s classic sweeps its audience through Victor Hugo’s epic tale of passion and destruction in 19th century

France. In a crumbling nation, convict Jean Valjean is on the run. Hunted relentlessly by the policeman Javert for breaking his parole, he must leave his past behind and keep his vow to raise the young orphaned Cosette. With revolution in the air and Javert closing in, Jean Valjean must sacrifice all for the people he loves. The soaring score (“Do You Hear the People Sing,””One Day More,” “I Dreamed a Dream,” and many more) has made “Les Miz” an international smash hit for over two decades. Experience this epic musical like never before, in the intimacy of Sierra Rep’s 200 seat theater. “Thrilling, spectacular and unforgettable” -- New York Times (Rated PG-13)

Les Misérables

SRT Venues

East Sonora Theatre 13891 Mono Way, Sonora Fallon House 11175 Washington St. Columbia

Tickets & Information


Stage 3 Theatre Co.

Stage 3 is a ‘black box’ theater with an intimate 85 seats surrounding the stage on 3 sides. Productions range from very simple staging to very complex sets. The Company has earned a reputation for producing outstanding plays in their 20 year history.

The Game’s Afoot

By Ken Ludwig November 15 - December 22, 2013 T’was the night before Christmas and all thought with dread - Just who was the killer, and who would be dead? A completely different slice of holiday entertainment! It’s Christmas Eve at the castle of William Gillette, the American actor who became famous for portraying Sherlock Holmes on the stage. Gillette has invited a few of his closest, wackiest, most colorful friends to spend the holidays. He hopes to have the traditional caroling, the warm camaraderie, the hearty toasts and, oh yes, to smoke out the one that has been trying to kill him! Stage 3 Theatre Company 208 S Green St., Sonora Tickets & Information


Emberz Wi-fi • Premium Coffee Hot & Cold Drinks

The Candy Vault

Coffee 2.00 2.25 2.50 Latte 3.00 3.50 4.00 Mocha 3.50 4.00 4.50 Cocoa 2.00 2.50 3.00 Italian Soda 2.00 3.00 Frappe 4.00 5.00 Smoothie 4.25 Soda Pop 1.25 • Flavors, Soy, Shots .50 • Iced Coffee Drinks available

Mountain Laurel Florist lowers are known to have

L Breakfast All Day Granola with milk Egg Sandwich Burrito Denver Scramble Calif. Scramble

2.00 2.00 2.75 2.99 3.45 4.25 4.99

The Basics Sandwiches, Etc. Served 11 to close Joe’s Sandwiches* 7.99 Veggie Sandwich* 7.99 Half Sandwich* 5.99 *Comes with a side Chicken Wraps 4.99 Garden Salad 5.99 Chef Salad 7.99 Taco Salad 7.99 Artisan Bread Fresh Daily Local Delivery Available Let Us Cater Your Event

140 S. Washington St. Sonora, CA 95370 (209) 533-4455

ocated in the historic National Bank Building on the corner of Washington and Bradford, the Candy Vault takes customers back a half-century, offering a feeling reminiscent of walking into a Norman Rockwell painting on the cover of the Saturday Evening Post. A visit leaves one with a warm and comforting glow, reassuring you that enjoying a bit of ice cream and candy might be a good thing after all. The new owners, John and Brandi Ogle, share their enthusiasm for their business with every customer saying, ‘Have a sweet day,’ as they leave with a bag full of treats. The Candy Vault offers hard-to-find hand-made chocolates and specialty brands. They also now feature organic and even sugar-free delicacies. Be sure to stop by especially during the Holiday Season, as they will continue the tradition of Santa Stories through Christmas. Visit the Candy Vault and you’ll feel like a kid again. The Candy Vault 42 S. Washington St. Sonora, CA 95370 (209) 532-2388


reat fast, fun food can be found at one of the best locations in historic Downtown Sonora. Emberz is now the hottest spot in town and probably the coolest place to be seen. The menu includes salads, burgers, sandwiches, pizza and entrees from Chef Andrew. Old is new again in the full bar, featuring classic cocktails that are made fresh with a delicious Emberz twist that you’ll have to discover for yourself. Emberz sparkles with enthusiasm and just beams food, drink and an evening of fun and good company. The wood-fired pizza oven just beyond the bar has not escaped the attention of the owners and is decorated with bits of colored glass and ceramic tiles by the entirety of the Emberz staff, which speaks to the commitment of everyone involved in a great dining experience. The restaurant is within a short walk to shopping and art galleries and is ideal for a preshow dinner or after-show cocktail, just two blocks from Stage 3 Theatre Company. Emberz 177 S. Washington Street Sonora, CA 95370 (209) 532-2272

Mother Lode Bank “We’re Local and....Simply A Better Bank”


positive effects on our moods, perhaps because they are a living creation of art. Flowers offer their beauty in return for care and attention. They also express a wide array of feelings and are for just about any occasion. But your flowers have already shared a vital relationship with the florist, who decides which flowers to buy and how they are cared for prior to the presentation. It’s the florist and staff ultimately creating those personal touches for that special or spontaneous occasion. Thus, it is the florist who prepares your flowers for you -- not only in the beauty, artistry and style of a bouquet, but also in the care that the flowers will expect when they are presented to the intended. The staff of Mountain Laurel Florist will attend to every need for any occasion. Located in the heart of historic downtown Sonora, they also offer dried arrangements, a great selection of gift cards, centerpieces, garden décor, potted plants, bird-themed items, mosaic pieces, French milled soaps, and, of course, delivery services. Mt. Laurel Florist 35 South Washington Street Sonora, CA 95370 (209) 532-9533

Downtown Sonora 172 West Stockton Road (209) 694-8400 Junction Shopping Center 13769-C Mono Way (209) 532-9400


Artisan Pizza..........................................$$ 83 S. Stewart St. (209) 533-0773 Be Wok & Sushi........................................$$ Japanese/Chinese, Beer & Wine 764 E. Mono Way (209) 532-2638 Carl’s Jr.....................................................$ Burgers/Salad Bar 1075 Mono Way, (209) 533-8857 Christopher’s Ristorante..................$$$ Italian, Beer & Wine 160 S. Washington St. (209) 533-2600 Diamondback Grill..................................$$ Full Bar/Wine Bar 93 S. Washington St. (209) 532-6661 Emberz......................................................$$ Wood-fired Pizza, Full Bar 177 S. Washington St. (209) 532-2272 Europa Deli & Grill..................................$$ California Grill, Full Bar 275 S. Washington St. (209) 402-3371 It’s Yo-Good Yogurt............................... $$ Salads/Sandwiches 11 S. Washington St. (209) 785-1188 JDOGGS DINER..............................................$ Soda Fountain, HOT DOGS, BURGERS 110 S. Washington St. (209) 532-2792 Lighthouse Deli.........................................$$ 28 S. Washington St. (209) 532-1631 National Hotel & Restaurant.................$$$ California Fine Dining, Full Bar 18183 Main St. Jamestown (209) 984-3446 Sonora Joe’s Coffee House..........................$ Light fare 140 S. Washington St. (209) 840-4408 Seven Sisters..........................................$$$ California Fine Dining, Full Bar Black Oak Casino 19400 Tuolumne Rd. (209) 928-9314 Talulah’s....................................................$$ Upscale Comfort Food, Beer & Wine 13 S. Washington St. (209) 532-7278

Europa Deli, Sports Bar & Grill “Best New Business” “Best Beer/Cocktail”

2013 Union Democrat’s Readers Choice Awards hen asked about their approaching first year anniversary in December and their Readers Choice Awards from the Union Democrat, Larry and Brenda Bezaitis responded, “Our family would like to extend our deepest gratitude for the support and appreciation shown us in this first year back with ‘The Europa’. You have inspired us greatly with each day and we thank you!” The story of the Europa as an iconic downtown Sonora restaurant begins nearly a century ago, yet the newest chapter of this famous eatery begins, after months of painstaking renovations with the return of the new,‘old’ Europa under management of the 3rd and 4th generations of Bezaitis family operation. Larry and Brenda have taken the restaurant to its highest level of perfection with a refreshing ambiance and relaxed atmosphere, coupled with an extensive menu that includes most all of the famous home cooked favorites along with a wide mix of modern, heart-healthy menu items. While many of the old ‘comfort’ foods the Europa is famous for have already generated legions of repeat business with the locals, so have the many added items such as the generous selection of dazzling salads, old fashioned deli sandwiches, Gy-


ros, soups, and vegetarian and vegan selections. The Europa uses nothing but the finest ingredients and strives to also feature many of Tuolumne County’s locally grown and crafted produce, olive oils, seasonings, wines and sauces, and pies. From the return of the famous Europa quarter-pound hamburger with homemade fries, or the handcut and always fresh chicken fried steak with homemade mashed potatoes and homemade gravies, along with some of Sonora’s finest steaks to the heart=healthy items also available, there is a great selection for every appetite. Clean, refreshing and comforting atmosphere, friendly wait staff, quality foods and low prices. Welcome back to the Europa! Come in and enjoy your choice of a retro-modern diner era dining room or the cozy sports bar with 65” LED TV and a great selection of appetizers.

Europa Deli, Sports Bar & Grill California Grill Full Bar/Wine Bar Price Range: $$ Dine In/Take Out 273 S. Washington St. Historic Downtown Sonora (209) 536-4670

Wells Fargo & Co.

Serving Tuolumne County for over 150 years

808 E. Mono Way, CA 95370 • (209) 532-3106 •



The Sonora Chamber of Commerce P.O. Box 3084 Sonora, California 95370

Local Postal Customer

Discover Historic Jamestown The ‘Movie Star’ Railroad Featuring Engine No. 3


a i lt o w


California State Historic Park


Stay l Play l Dine l Shop l Explore See what’s waiting for you this year!

Holiday 2013 Explore Sonora Magazine  

Discover Christmas All Over Again in the Small Towns of Tuolumne County! See what's waiting for you! Christmas begins at

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