Placerville, a.k.a. Hangtown got it's start with the discovery of gold at Sutter's Mill along the American River in Coloma. Originally know as Dry Diggins because the miners had to dig soil and then take it to a stream to wash it for gold. The town later became know as Hangtown as a result of the method of meting out justice to those convicted of armed robbery and more serious crimes.
By 1854, Hangtown was the third largest town in California after San Francisco and Sacramento. Local citizens came up with a new name, Placerville, which was more fitting for an incorporated city. The name Placerville was derived from the local method of washing gold (placer mining) from hillsides with hydraulics.
Placerville retains much of its charm from earlier times. Main Street is lined with historic buildings. But these buildings are not relics of days gone by. They house numerous businesses, restaurants, antique shops, art galleries, coffee shops, apparel stores and the oldest hardware store in operation west of the Mississippi.
These days Placerville is a quiet laid back town. It is located at the foot of the snow line, less than an hours drive from Lake Tahoe, where you will find some of the best downhill skiing in the world and world class casinos set in one of the most scenic areas of the world.
Just outside of town you will find Apple Hill, which as its name implies is a great place to get fresh fruit in season. In addition you will find fresh baked goods and as Summer turns to Fall, locally grown pumpkins just in time for Halloween. The last crop of the year is Christmas trees.
Apple Hill, also has a number of family owned wineries dotted along the way. Some of these produce wines comparable to any you will find anywhere. You may even get to meet the owner on your visit. At least you will have a great time tasting wine in a relaxed friendly atmosphere.
Heading north from Placerville along Highway 49 you come to Coloma and Sutter's Mill, along the American River where gold was discovered. The town and mill, now part of a Marshall Gold Discovery California State Historic Park, have been restored.
The picnic area near the restored Sutter's Mill is one of the staging areas for river rafting. River rafting can be an exiting day trip or a weekend adventure for any age group (minimum age restrictions do apply).
Another outdoor adventure awaits at nearby Jenkinson Lake. Fishing, boating, hiking, picnicking, mountain biking or just hanging out and enjoying nature's wonders are available here.
As you can see, Placerville is located in a beautiful area. Placerville has a hospital and Retirement center. Placerville has theatre groups, dance companies and fine arts. In other words, Placerville has just about everything you need and it is only 45 miles from Sacramento!
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