El Dorado County stretches from the Sacramento County line to Lake Tahoe and the Nevada State line. Highway 50 connects most of the major towns along the way. Highway 49 runs north and south connecting most of the historic gold mining towns in El Dorado County and throughout California. The gold discovered at Sutter's Mill in Coloma just north of Placerville in El Dorado County, along the American River, started the great gold rush to California.
Most of the land in El Dorado County is on or near to hills and mountains. Elevation ranges from about 500 feet to over 10,000 feet. However, there are few towns or residences above 5000 feet as most of the mountain areas are part of the El Dorado National Forest.
Taking Highway 50 east, El Dorado Hills is the first town you encounter in El Dorado County.
Proceeding up the hill the next town you encounter is Cameron Park. It has about the same population as El Dorado Hills. Cameron Park offers a wide selection of homes. The center pieces of town are the golf course and lake. Cameron Park has a more rural feel than El Dorado Hills with many streets lined with native oaks, redbud and ceanothus. Cameron Park even has an airport where you can taxi your plane from the landing strip to your home hanger in an adjacent community.
On your way to Placerville you will pass Shingle Springs, a small historic town with a few remnant buildings from the Gold Rush era.
Set in a valley at the foot of the snow belt, Placerville has numerous historic buildings dating from the time of the Gold Rush. Homes here date from the 19th century all the way up to new. Placerville is large enough to provide most of your living needs, but is still has the feel of days gone by.
Starting at Placerville and continuing up Highway 50 is Apple Hill. Apple Hill, as the name implies is where you will find fresh picked apples in season. There are a number of other fresh picked fruits, starting with cherries in June, peaches in July. Pumpkins come in just in time for Halloween and you can finish the year by cutting your own Christmas tree. In addition to the fresh fruit you also, find a number of locally owned and operated wineries. Many produce excellent wines. They all offer free wine tasting in a relaxed atmosphere.
Continuing east along Highway 50, the next town is Camino. Camino is a small community supported by a lumber mill. It offers a diversion from the apple activities with the opportunity to stop and get some real "stick to the ribs" food at the local coffee shop.
Heading south from Camino you drop into Pleasant Valley on your way to Somerset. The drive offers some spectacular views.
Somerset lies along the Consumnes River in the center of the largest concentration of wineries in the Sierra Foothills.
If you are looking for a great place for a retreat, away from all the cares in the world, yet only forty minutes from civilization, Somerset could be the place. At an elevation of 2500 feet Somerset is cooler than the Central Valley and on occasion gets a bit of snow, but is temperate in Winter.
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