Saturday, October 31, 2009

A Haunting Experience - Gold Hill, NV

My husband and I were married on December 21, 1986 at the Gold Hill Hotel in Gold Hill, NV about a mile from Virginia City. The original hotel and saloon was built in 1859 after large gold and silver strikes were discovered in the surrounding mountains. The hotel is located next to the infamous Yellow Jacket mine and is the oldest hotel in Nevada. In 1986 the old stone and brick building consisted of a great room, library, bar and rooms upstairs. We exchanged vows at high noon in the great room and celebrated with all who happened to be there. On our wedding night there were no other guests in the the hotel, so when the owners closed the bar they handed us the keys to the place and said it was ours for the night.

The next morning we started packing and I took some things out to the truck. In the parking lot I ran into one of the staff who had come up to open the hotel for the day and we walked back inside together. My husband asked if I had called his name, I told him no, I was outside. He said someone had definitely called his name as he was coming down the stairs and the hairs on the back of his neck were standing on end. Our hostess simply said "Oh, that was Rosie, she was a working girl here back in the old days and has taken up residence in #4. Other guests have reported the scent of roses and personal articles moved around their room when they weren't there." We're thinking okay, that's cool, and took off on our honeymoon.

We returned to the hotel 10 years later, in 1996, to renew our vows. In the interim since our first visit new rooms and a restaurant had been added. We stayed in one of the new rooms with a fireplace and small veranda facing the Yellow Jacket mine. A blizzard came in the night we arrived so we decided to make a long weekend of it. On the first morning, about 7am, while getting dressed to head down stairs for coffee our smoke alarm started to beep like they do when the battery is running low. We told the staff and they went upstairs to check, said it was fine but put in new batteries anyway. We didn't think much of it until the same thing happened the next two mornings at the same time. We found out that it was most likely the work of William, one of the 47 miners killed in a horrific fire in the mine in April 1869. He has peacefully taken up residence in the hotel and is known as a bit of a trickster according to reports of other guests over the years.

While researching some facts I went to the hotel website and looked through the history pages. On page 3 were pictures of the hotel before and after the renovations. I was amazed to see our wedding party on the front porch of the before photo. There are not coincidences!
These were our first two experiences with ghosts, we had a third one at the old hotel up at Oregon Caves, but I'll save that one for another day. If you want to find out more about the Gold Hill Hotel go to It is a wonderful place to stay and part of the colorful history of the area.

Saturday, October 17, 2009

A Cowgirl at Heart

To further celebrate our weekend of music and cowboy poetry at Emandal Farm I thought I'd introduce Dave Stamey on the barn stage, doing what he does best. And below, out under the shade trees, near the large organic gardens are Sue Parker and Tamara Adams. Sue is a gifted cowboy poet and western historian and Tam is the owner and passion behind Emandal Farm.
To stay in the spirit of the West I created a new spotlight at entitled "Cowgirl Up" with a delicious selection of jewelry and paintings from the artisans of Etsy. Each photo is a link to the artist's site. Please check out for additional spotlights I created with artisans of 1000Markets. Hope you enjoy the ride!

Monday, October 12, 2009

The Beautiful Side of Somewhere

"For those who are here no explanation is necessary and after we leave we take a part of this place with us. What a great place to spend a small segment of life...." Michael Taraniki, New Zealand

This past weekend we discovered a truly amazing place at the end of 16 miles of back country roads east of Willits, CA. Our reason for going was to attend the performances of cowboy poet Susan Parker and singer/songwriter Dave Stamey at a place called Emandal Farm. The drive was only a few hours from home so there was no question we had to go and spend the night.

What we didn't know is what we would discover once we got there. Emandal is a 1,000 acre jewel nestled in a valley alongside the Eel River. It is a diversified farm, environmental education center and a family camp that has been in operation since 1908. Over the years three families have overseen the stewardship of this remarkable place. Carrying on the tradition since the 1970's is a delightful and amazing woman by the name of Tam.

Our rustic cabin was a short hike up through the woods from the main house with comfy beds and down comforters to keep us from the chill of fall. The bathroom and shower buildings are a little further up the hill so a flashlight is a required accessory.

The food was incredible; all prepared from scratch from the bounty grown and raised on the farm. After a sumptuous dinner on the lawn we sauntered up to the barn for the concert. Preferred seating was hay bales, with blankets provided for an extra layer if it got too cold. After the performance a few of us gathered at the great room to warm up by the fire before retiring for the night. We hiked back down the hill for breakfast about 9:30, visited with other guests, and departed for home mid day. Though only gone overnight it seemed as though we had been away for days. Imagine spending a week at Emandal!

To find out more about Emandal go to
Susan Parker: She brings to life the struggles and triumphs of pioneer and ranch women of the old west, mixing her original writings those of the women she has studied.
Dave Stamey Dave is a cowboy, and a gifted singer/songwriter who captures the essence of the old west and takes you along for the ride.
Also check out a website "dedicated to preserving and celebrating the arts and life of rural communities and the real working west"
Life is short, there are journeys to take and roads to be travelled. Make some time in your life for an adventure.

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Rock Hound

Riverfront Park, Windsor, CA

I have a thing for rocks. My grandfather was a geologist so maybe it's in my genes. My husband and I have been travelling blue highways for almost 30 years and I always found a rock or two that insisted on riding home with us. His dream is to use all of our road trip rocks to build a BBQ/Bread Oven in the back yard, then we can admire them and never have to move them again. I've wised up a bit and now use my digital camera to "bring them home".

Crandell Lake, Waterton Park, Alberta
The Lost Coast west of Garberville in Humboldt County, CA.
There is a similar outcropping at Walks On Beach at Gualala, CA
The Smith River at Jedediah Smith Park in Northern California

Sunday, October 4, 2009

A Morning Walkabout in New York City

On my last day in New York I had several hours in the morning to take a walkabout with my friend Jean before heading back to JFK and the flight home. The architecture in the Times Square area is a panorama of styles as diverse as the population, from the art deco style of the Chrysler Building to the opulence of Grand Central Station, from the dignity of St. Patrick's Cathedral to the plethora of glass fronted skyscrapers. We walked up 5th Avenue to Central Park and back, past the flagship stores of many famous retailers like Ungaro, Tiffany, Prada, FAO Schwartz, Gucci, Versace, Cartier, and Saks. The storefront windows were filled all kinds of treasures and avant garde mannequins in bizarre clothing. My style leans more toward second hand treasures and contemporary flea market so this was a great adventure for me. My favorite site was Central Park and the horse drawn carriages. I can't wait to go back and next time my camera goes with me. It's hard to verbalize it all and a picture truly is worth a 1000 words.

Friday, October 2, 2009

The Big Apple

It was cloudy when we took off from San Francisco but I expected I might at least see the Sierras, the Rockies, or the Mississippi River on the way. It was not to be, there were cotton candy clouds all the way across the country, but we arrived to clear skies and mild temperatures. The NYC taxi drivers would do well on the NASCAR circuit, they are masters at threading the needle and making space where there doesn't appear to be any.

Our hotel was on Times Square and right outside the hotel Broadway is closed off for about 4 blocks to create an open promenade. You can grab a cup of coffee and sit at one of the little tables on the street or climb the lighted grandstand to take in the view up Broadway: a collage of architecture, neon, and huge electronic billboards. It's really quite astounding and a the perfect venue for people watching.

My friend Jean has spent a lot of time in NYC and knows some great places to dine, so late Wednesday afternoon we walked up to Fagiolini's for dinner. The most amusing moment of the evening was discovering The Naked Cowboy in Times Square dressed only in a cowboy hat, boots, briefs, and a guitar. He is supposedly the 3rd biggest tourist attraction in NYC after the Empire State Building and the Statue of Liberty. I'll let you find him on the web and I'll catch the latter two attractions upon my return. I will take my camera next time!