Outside with Charlie: Autumn joy

By From page A7 | November 16, 2011


The joy of living in El Dorado County in autumn is hard to beat. All of us who enjoy the forests, mountains and meadows find that autumn offers quite a few pluses for our outdoor roamings and ramblings.

The bright light of summer is softer and more diffused. It’s colder and daylight hours are shorter — it makes for a wonderful change.

Not everyone likes to head to the mountains, especially if there’s snow. There is still plenty to do and probably not enough time to do it all.

Urban hiking and strolling are high on the list of possibilities. All you need is comfortable clothing for the weather. Layers are always a good choice for staying comfortable whether you are on Mt. Ralston or Main Street.

Placerville is extremely interesting to explore. If you haven’t gone from one end to another, you are in for a treat.

Park in the Main Street garage or in a lot and start walking. Stay on one side of the street until you reach the other end of town and head back the opposite side. You can also add Broadway to the mix.

As you make your way along, stop and read all of the plaques in front of the buildings, walk through the alleys and look in nooks and crannies.

Go inside the shops and walk into history. Look at the wooden floors, the walls, the tin ceilings — some have the original material that was used when they were built.

Buildings that have been renovated still retain their original charm. Wander about the different floors, look out the windows and let your imagination wander.

Ask about the building. Some propietors can shed light on the different changes Main Street has undergone.

Did you know that Tony Matthews was a bank not that long ago? Ever heard of the Blue Bell Café? It was a great place for lunch and the empty building at the corner of Main and Center Street was a grocery store, and then several different restaurants.

The art gallery and studios at the middle of Main were the projection room for the movie theater that was downstairs. All of the buildings have been home to a wide variety of businesses over the years except for Placerville Hardware, which has been there since dirt was discovered. What a history.

A big plus is that while your legs, heart and head get a workout, you’ll be in restaurant heaven. There’s a wide variety of eateries up and down the street from the new Independent Bar and Grill on upper Main, and in midtown there is Cascada, the more established Old Town Grill and Powell’s.

Mix in great coffee stops from the Cozmic Café, Centro, Sweet Spot, Cuppa Coffee and More and Zia’s, and you’ll keep fueled during your urban outing.

You’ll put in about 2.2 miles round trip on Main Street, (4 miles if you walk Broadway) and travel more than 100 years through history as you take an autumn trek on Main Street, Placerville.

Charlie Ferris

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