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One of our favorite destinations for a weekend getaway, Sutter Creek has delicious food, great wine and friendly locals!
Sutter Creek is a cozy, historic town in the Sierra Nevada foothills. With close proximity to Sacramento, Sutter Creek makes for a fabulous weekend vacation!
Dog friendly Sutter Creek has much to offer, from great wineries to relics of the Gold Rush era past. Neighborly locals make this town inviting. Sutter Creek is a favorite for us, and I am sure it will be for you too!
This post is all about Sutter Creek.
Sutter Creek: Your Next Weekend Getaway
Located just a short drive from Sacramento, Sutter Creek is approximately 50 miles east of the capital. Because of this close proximity, many visitors to the area are from the greater Sacramento area.
Sutter Creek is a historic gold mining town. It is often referred to as the “Jewel of the Mother Lode”. It was first settled by John Sutter while looking for timber. Gold was soon discovered, then quartz. You can read more about the Gold Rush history and Sutter Creek’s role in it at Western Mining History.
Sutter Creek Wine
Move over Napa Valley, Amador County is California’s original wine region. The foothill climate’s long, warm days and cold nights provide grapes with time to mature slowly. Add to this the incredibly fertile valley and volcanic soil, and you have the perfect environment for exceptional wines. Many of these vineyards are located just outside of Sutter Creek in Plymouth and the Shenandoah Valley.
If you are looking for the best wines and wine tasting experience in downtown Sutter Creek, look no further than Bella Grace Vineyards. It is my favorite winery in Sutter Creek! You can easily spend an hour here, visiting with the friendly staff and other guests.
This is a family run winery, with family members on hand assisting customers. In addition to amazing wines, Bella Grace also makes their own olive oils infused with delicious flavors. Along with the oils, you can also find balsamic vinegar, spice blends and aromatic handmade candles.
The fact that Bella Grace is always busy and I’m yet to see anyone leave empty handed is a testament to the quality of wine they produce. There is another tasting location on their vineyard on the edge of Plymouth. Both are very dog friendly, with their own dogs ready to join you. We really love it here!
Jeff Runquist Wines
Just a few miles outside of Sutter Creek, you will find the winery rich town of Plymouth. There are multiple options for wine tasting on beautiful vineyards. By far, the best of these tasting rooms is Jeff Runquist Wines. He is an amazing wine maker, with a history of making wines that dates back to the early 1980’s.
The atmosphere in the tasting room is lively, and is often filled with wine club members and super friendly staff. I’m not sure I’ve ever seen employees so happy to be at work! These wines are incredibly delicious and priced very reasonably. Members were buying wine by the cases, and it is the wine I choose to drink all weekend. Do not miss Jeff Runquist Wines!
Sutter Creek Restaurants
There are several great restaurants in Sutter Creek. Even with an entire weekend of eating out, we can never hit them all! These are our go-to restaurants, as well as a couple we tried on a whim this past trip.
Gold Dust Pizza
Gold Dust Pizza is the best pizza ever. Seriously! The crust is crunchy and delicious, the sauce is thick and rich with flavor, and the toppings are super plentiful! What’s even better? Gold Dust Pizza Sutter Creek offers drinks beyond the usual. They have a soda machine, several beers on tap and a full wine list, including mostly local wines. As a wine drinker and pizza lover, it’s really a match made in heaven!
And don’t just take my word for it. The locals know too. Gold Dust Pizza in Sutter Creek has won best in county every year since 2013! This place is busy, whether it’s to-go orders or a crowd filling in their well appointed dining room. You can even enjoy al fresco dining by the creek. I love this place so much, that I’ve written an entire post on Gold Dust Pizza Sutter Creek, including its history, full menu and more!
RELATED: Gold Dust Pizza Sutter Creek
Cavana’s Pub & Grub
If you are looking for huge portions in a lively atmosphere, then Cavana’s Pub & Grub is for you. My husband and I eat here on every trip we take to Sutter Creek. I have only ever seen this place packed. It’s a locals spot for family dinners and drinks at the bar after a long day.
Cavana’s doesn’t take reservations for parties less than 6 people. It’s first come, first served for walk ins, which is fine by us since we always eat at the bar. We like the hustle and interaction, plus the sports on the big screen televisions.
The food portions are definitely large enough to share and are reasonably priced, especially for the amount of food you get. Cavana’s also offers draft beer, a full bar and a wine list. You get a lot of bang for your buck, and I recommend eating at Cavana’s if you are in Sutter Creek.
Sutter Creek Provisions
On previous visits to Sutter Creek, we have been to Provisions to enjoy a craft beer. Provisions offers a small menu with primarily Mexican and Asian inspired choices, which changes seasonly. This was our first time eating here, and we were blown away by the delicious food!
Provisions is a two room establishment with a large entranceway between the rooms. On one side is a high quality specialty food market and bottle shop. The other side is what is deemed the draught room. This is where you can order food and enjoy one of their thirteen craft beers, which they rotate continually. It’s also where they have live music.
The live music drew us in, and we enjoyed it so much that we scrapped our original dinner plans to eat the Hotel.
**As of May, 2023, it seems Provisions has closed its doors.**
We originally had reservations to eat at the restaurant at Hotel Sutter. But plans to meet up with friends changed, and we decided earlier in the day we would wing it and eat at the bar instead when we were ready for dinner. But plans changed again as we found ourselves immersed in the live music at Provisions.
The food at Hotel Sutter is delicious. They have a nice, higher end sit down restaurant and a bar where you can also order from the restaurant’s menu. But our favorite place at Hotel Sutter is the basement lounge, also known as The Copper Room. It’s a swanky, speakeasy style bar with whiskey rich cocktails, an extensive wine list, craft beers and food available from the restaurant (only open on Fridays and Saturdays).
Quite possibly one the most inviting and tantalizing coffee shops I’ve been in, Choc-O-Latte on Main Street in Sutter Creek has delicious coffee, breakfast sandwiches and treats. The super cozy aesthetic, combined with handmade goodies, practically begs you to sit and relax a while. Choc-O-Latte also has ice cream. You must try the horchata!
Villa Toscano is getting an honorable mention here for Sutter Creek restaurants. Technically, it is located in Plymouth, just a short drive outside of Sutter Creek. We went here for the first time on our last weekend getaway because they advertised fish and chips, a favorite indulgence for my husband. The food was delicious and fresh, and the atmosphere at the winery was lovely.
I will say the whole villa theming felt a bit nineties Disney as opposed to authentic Italy. Also, the food was better than the wine. Still a good stop for lunch if you are wine tasting for the day, but this winery experience is not even close to what you will find at Jeff Runquist or Bella Grace. Villa Toscano was also the priciest tasting we have done in Amador County and the wines were on the pricier side as well.
Sutter Creek Hotels
Hanford House Inn of Sutter Creek
We love the Hanford House Inn! This is our go-to place to stay in Sutter Creek. We’ve stayed in their standards rooms to Cottage 4. The experience is definitely different by room category, but still lovely. I highly recommend staying in Cottage 4 for a special occasion. It has a private hot tub on a spacious outdoor deck, and the room itself is cozy and romantic. But the Hanford House offers clean, well-appointed, modern rooms that are very comfortable no matter which room you choose.
My favorite part of the Hanford House is that every room has a fireplace! I also love that they provide robes and locally sourced coffee. The restaurant, Element, is delicious! This hotel recently changed ownership and complimentary breakfast is now served in the room instead of at the restaurant since the restaurant/bar is currently closed. I highly recommend the Hanford House Inn!
Honestly, I would never have thought to stay at The Foxie had it not been for our friends who absolutely love this place. We stayed at this cute little bed and breakfast on our last weekend getaway, and I was pleasantly surprised! The room we stayed in, the Anniversary Room, was spacious and cozy. The bed was incredibly comfortable, and the location is right by everything we wanted to walk to.
For the complimentary breakfast, we had the choice of eating in the garden or in our room. Since it was cold, we choose our room. It was quite nice having breakfast delivered and starting the day at our own pace. The breakfast was fantastic and the staff is very friendly. Though we did miss the option of having a mimosa or Bloody Mary.
There is no lobby or front desk at The Foxie, making it feel more like a home than a hotel. We enjoyed our stay here, and I can say that I recommend it. It is Victorian, which isn’t our favorite style, but in a historic town, it fits.
Hotel Sutter is another option for lodging in Sutter Creek. I haven’t stayed here, nor do I think I would choose to. It’s nothing against the hotel itself; the rooms are just not my taste and are quite small. For the same price range, you can stay at the Hanford House, which just feels so much more inviting and pampering. Plus, breakfast is not included with your stay at Hotel Sutter.
Sutter Creek Inn
Sutter Creek Inn is another popular choice for visitors. It is located on Main Street, with The Foxie on one side and Bella Grace on the other. Sutter Creek Inn has some rooms with floating beds that hang from chains. I was ready to book this hotel to try something different when our friends convinced us to try The Foxie instead. I can’t give personal testimony from staying here, but I wanted to share another option.
Things To Do In Sutter Creek, CA
There is plenty to do in and around Sutter Creek to pass the time. We never feel bored or like we’ve done it all! A highlight of what Sutter Creek and the nearby area offers:
- wine tasting
- boutiques and antique shops
- Sutter Creek Theater
- Monteverde General Store Museum
- Knight Foundry
- Sutter Creek Gold Mine Tours
- Kennedy Gold Mine
- historic town of Volcano
- Amador Flower Farm
- Indian Grinding Rock State Historic Park
On Main Street:
Wine Tasting: With over 40 wineries in Amador County, you can occupy yourself with wine tasting alone. As previously mentioned, my personal favorites are Bella Grace Vineyards and Jeff Runquist Wines. But with so many wineries and unique blends to choose from, there is something for everyone.
Boutiques & Antique Shops: Both sides of Main Street are lined with quaint shops. A few blocks over, you will Excel K-9 Kafe, a locally owned pet feed and supply store that focuses on chemical free clean eating, chews, treats and toys for dogs (plus a cat room!). If you have a furry friend in tow or at home, stop in and check it out!
Restaurants: There are so many tasty options in and around Sutter Creek. The good food is one of the things we look forward to the most!
Sutter Creek Theater: Billing itself as a venue for music, theater, film and events, Sutter Creek Theater holds concerts and the like, and is located on Main Street in Sutter Creek.
Still in the Town of Sutter Creek:
Monteverde General Store Museum: This historic gem is open for limited hours on Saturdays and Sundays. If you appreciate old relics like me, you will certainly find this museum interesting! It first opened in 1896 and closed permanently in 1971, which is how it is preserved today.
Knight Foundry: A California Registered Historical Landmark, Knight Foundry opened in 1873. According to the Knight Foundry website, it is America’s last water-powered foundry and machine shop, and its antique equipment is still set up as it was back in the height of the gold rush era. You can take self guided tours or walk around the open areas. This is a great activity for kids too.
In the Surrounding Area:
There are several cave tours in the area, as well as some gold mining tours. Amador County is rich in gold rush history and all that was discovered while mining for gold. Among these places are Sutter Creek Gold Mine Tours, Kennedy Gold Mine and Black Chasm Cavern.
Volcano, Ca: Located just a short 17 mile drive from Sutter Creek, Volcano makes an excellent side trip, especially if you are interested in gold country history. The back road drive to get there is beautiful. I have another blog post that describes this delightful and friendly small town.
Amador Flower Farm: You can visit this beautiful flower farm and see their large collection of daylilies. Picnicking on the grounds is allowed, which would make a lovely way to spend a spring afternoon. Amador Flower Farm has a calendar of events that hosts seasonal events and is worth checking out if you are in the area.
Indian Grinding Rock State Historic Park: This state park is home to the largest collection of bedrock mortars in North America! A popular local field trip and venue for the local Native Americans, Indian Grinding Rock State Historic Park is well worth the visit.
Evening Activities In Sutter Creek
Small, foothill towns aren’t exactly known for their lively night life scene. With that said, you can find entertainment on the weekends. Provisions often has live music, usually between 5-7pm. Hotel Sutter’s Copper Room is open until 11pm on weekends, and will also have live entertainment at times.
1850 Wine Cellars hosts a trivia night. We thought about going to trivia night, but it was already a packed house when we arrived. All of these places are very friendly and local hangouts.
The Sutter Creek Theater and sometimes the wineries also offer evening weekend activities, depending on the time of year. It’s a great place to spend with your partner, family and friends!
As you can see, Sutter Creek is a wonderful weekend getaway!
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This post is all about Sutter Creek.