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It's 5 O'Clock Somewhere

It's 5 O'Clock Somewhere

A Visit to Amador City on Highway 49

By Annette M. Hall

Cruising Route 49

On the occasion when we are forced to brave the congested traffic and the smog on our trips to Sacramento, we normally take the scenic route down highway 49 through the tiny little burgs winding around the mountainside. This route affords us the opportunity to take in the sights of the luscious green countryside, smell a few flowers and even the intermittent pungent smell of cattle basking in the hot sun.

It's always a pleasure to stop along the route, stretch our legs and visit a local merchant or two. One can find the most interesting little places tucked away in a quiet corner of town. Route 49 has an abundance of interesting little antique shops, the cutest boutiques, and museums. It was on one of our little excursions that I happened upon The Biggest Little Kitchen Store, located in the town of Jackson, the subject of an earlier piece. Today, I want to tell you about another little treasure I just happened upon completely by accident.

Eagle Wall Hanging

Eagle Wall Hanging

I know that the city just seems to agree with some people but it's just not my cup of tea. The traffic, the crowds, waiting in line for everything, not to mention the noise and the pollution was taking its toll on my health. I didn't even realize just how much our environment had played a part until we moved to the mountains. Breathing clean air, getting plenty of exercise and reducing stress levels can make a huge difference in our quality of life.

Our own family spent five years trying to figure out how we could make a living up "in them thar' hills." Driving back and forth to civilization just wasn't an option for us. The stress alone would have been torture.

Fun with a colorful clicker toy.

Fun with a colorful clicker toy.

Entrepreneur Ventures

We stepped out in faith, launched our own computer business while we continued to work other jobs to make ends meet. Considering all the hard work and effort it took for us to finally make our business profitable I just can't help but admire others who have the fortitude to start up their own business and are able to earn a living here in God's country. Being able to live and work in these beautiful surroundings we call home is more than we could have ever hoped for.

Which brings me to my story. We had been through Amador City many times before and never really paid attention to my surroundings, until this last trip. Of course I had noticed all the cute little mobiles and chimes in the front yard of Nanette Lanza's cute little shop but I had never taken the time to stop.

On a whim, we whipped the car around, located a parking space and went in to have a look see. I just loved all the beautiful yard ornaments and was happily admiring the collection when my husband checked the door to see if it was open. I don't know why but I had always thought this place was someone's home. It never occurred to me that there might be more to see inside.

Shopping at Lanza Imports

Hanging Birds

Brightly colored parrots

When we went inside Lanza Imports, I was amazed and overjoyed at what I found. As I entered I discovered brightly colored whirly bobs and thing-a-ma-jigs everywhere. There were enough colors to make a rainbow blush. It was a feast for the eyes and much to my amazement the more I saw, the more there was to see. On display Nanette and daughter Katrina had room after room of toys, soaps, wall hangings and chimes of every size and color in the rainbow. She had many new items and specially marked sale items - something for everyone, even a bargain hunter like me.

We spent over an hour roaming around the shop, gazing at her offerings totally oblivious to the time. My son picked up a wood carved bird whistle and I took home a couple of hanging ornaments for the deck of my house. I know this will turn out to be another one of those "must stop" places on my way to Sacramentoo.

Nanette and her daughter Katrina have been at this location around five years now. Prior to moving to their current location they had a tiny little space in the Amador Hotel, which they occupied for three years. The move has been a good one for their business. Not only are they pleased to meet travellers from all over the country but the additional space has allowed them to expand their product line in order to better serve both their regulars and vagabonds like us.

Amador City Faces Frozen in Time

Faces Frozen in Time

The more time I spend on highway 49 the more things we find along the way that are unique to this area. Amador City is yet another old gold-mining town strewn along route 49. This charming town is filled with authentic historic buildings from the Gold Rush era and though I'm not originally from around these parts, I'd venture a guess to say, not much has changed here since the Gold Rush days.

Some people apparently just like to hang around town and if you look real close as you drive through Amador, you might just catch a glimpse of some of the locals frozen in time, or should I say, in a tree. We almost missed this intriguing little gem; imagine my surprise when we drove by and I found myself looking at a tree, which was looking back at me. (Well, it would have been, had they been awakened. They looked so peaceful we didn't want do disturb their slumber.)

The next time you get in the car for a drive and you find yourself driving down historic highway 49, take a little extra time to stop and smell the roses, take in a little shopping and just relax and enjoy the charm and uniqueness of these old gold mining towns. You might just find a treasure or two of your own to take home. Be sure to stop in and say hello to Nanette at Lanza Imports.

Highway 49 Recommended Sites

Visit Lanza Imports

Lanza Imports
14215 Highway 49, Amador City, CA
Phone: (209) 267-1234

Updated February 14, 2009

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