Downieville’s Carriage House Inn, A Gold Rush Getaway

Downieville is one of the most charming little historic towns in California’s gold rush country, making it a wonderful place for a weekend getaway.  With it’s beautiful river rushing through the center of town and a handful of quaint old businesses and saloons, romance it always in the fresh, crisp, mountain air.

Lots of adventurous winter activities like snowshoeing, snowmobiling, ice fishing, and sledding lie within a few miles of Downieville, making the little town with its historic streets and buildings, and warm, little-town atmosphere, the perfect place to stay while exploring the nearby areas.

There are several lodging options but our romantic favorite is by far, The Carriage House Inn, sitting right on the serene Yuba River. Lounging on the river’s edge or watching the river rush by from your room are peaceful options. If you’d like to take a departure from the busy city back home and forget all your cares, without ringing telephones, beckoning computers, or interruptions, this is the place to do it and spend some quality time.

Right in the center of town and within a block of everything, you can stay at the Carriage House Inn and walk to breakfast, lunch, dinner, interesting gift shops, the theater, the park, or historical points of interest which dot the picturesque landscape.

Liz and John Luster are the owners of this fantastic, friendly bed and breakfast inn. They also have numerous vacation rentals available too. They can accommodate any of your lodging needs and they serve a nice breakfast along with delicious teas and coffees during any weekend stay at the Carriage House.

The history of Downieville is fascinating and a walking tour might just make your getaway a bit educational without either of you even noticing.

The Maidu and Washoe Indians were the first residents in the area long before gold was even discovered in 1849. By the 1850’s emigrants from all over the world had arrived and established small mining towns and makeshift camps all along the river. Downieville and its neighboring town of Sierra City are two small towns that have survived it all.

Downieville sitting right on the Yuba River, by the mid-1850’s consisted of nearly two dozen hotels, numerous gambling houses, several bakeries and even a few butcher shops. It was, at one point, California’s fifth largest town. Things have slowed down considerably, but the charming, narrow, crooked streets, historic alleyways, bridges, and the wooden sidewalks will take you back to the days of cowboys and Indians. The town’s folk are some of California’s friendliest and the food served at Downieville’s little local establishments is always country style comfort food at its best.

The little museum on Main Street is filled with Gold Rush artifacts and early photographs. You’ll want to poke your head into both the little old-fashioned hardware store and the saloon, and maybe cozy on up to the bar for a cocktail and to hear locals share their stories.

Sierra City is about 12 miles from Downieville, just up the road, but a road less traveled than most. It centers around an adorable little narrow main street lined with many turn of the century old structures like one built in 1864, which is the oldest building in the town.

Tom’s Snowmobile & Service in Sierra City is a great place to get a snowmobile to ride up to nearby Sardine Lake where visitors delight in easy and successful trout fishing and breathtaking scenery.

If you think a nearby romp in the snow, snowshoeing, snowmobiling, ice fishing, sledding, or any other out door activity might call for some grub, you may want to order all your groceries for your picnic or outing and have them waiting for you when you arrive before heading off on your outdoor adventure. The Downieville Grocery has been in the business since 1852.

They’ll happily assemble your order and get your groceries together and ready for your outing. They’ll even open by appointment when you get into town during off hours. They have a wonderful deli counter, gourmet foodstuffs, beautiful produce, and a fabulous meat market. Most visitors highly recommend them.

Even if you elect to just sit in front of a fire and play a game together, or read a book while the Yuba River lulls you to sleep, there is something for everyone in Downieville where the locals smile and life slows down a bit. For a relaxing getaway, it can’t be beat.