Growing up in the NorCal Sierra Nevada Foothills was arguably the best place in the whole country to be raised (A little biased? Maybe.). The lakes, the small towns, the trees, the weather, the wine country and best of all, the people made this place home. Even though our home is the most beautiful place in the world year round, during the holiday season it transforms into a magical winter wonderland. Here are the top 10 signs you truly experienced Christmas in the NorCal Sierra Nevada Foothills.
1. You marked your calendar for Nevada City's Victorian Christmas
It is truly the definition of a winter wonderland. The National Hotel looks as if it is straight out of White Christmas and there is nothing better than walking down the city streets meandering through the white tents and sipping hot chocolate listening to the jazz combo and watching the snow dust the road.
2. The Placerville Holiday Parade is a must see
It is a family affair. As soon as the camp chairs were loaded in the trunk of the car and the blankets were piled in the back seat, you and your family were off and on your way. Your number one goal as a kid was to fill your brown paper bag the fastest as candy was thrown your way by Dads riding motorcycles, Girl Scouts, and the whole 4H clan.
3. The more snow = the more skip days at school
Whether your house only gets a dusting of snow every year, or you grew up constantly shoveling snow off your driveway, that white stuff couldn't look any prettier on the tall pine trees lining highway 50 all the way to Tahoe. You woke up early on extra cold mornings to see if you got the phone call that school got canceled. It was the best day of your life if it did.
4. Silver Lake is your winter playground
During the warmer months, the lake off Carson Pass is a mid-summer's day dream. During the winter, thick layers of ice and snow make for miles of sledding as far as the eye can see. Your absolute favorite winter memories consisted of driving to Silver Lake and playing in the snow on a clear day.
5. On the day after Thanksgiving, everyone and their Mom drives to Apple Hill to get their Christmas Tree
During the fall, Apple Hill is the biggest tourist attraction in the foothills. Apple picking and pumpkin pies are what bring people from miles away to partake in the epitome of fall. Before the snow piles too high on the farms and before all the good trees are gone, you and your family make head up the mountain to cut down the perfect addition to your holiday home.
6. The anticipation leading up to your first day on the slopes is too real
Winter + Snow + Tahoe = Skiing. Whether you're up on the mountain or sitting by the fire watching the snow fall, ski season is in full swing and there's nothing better than spending the day at your favorite Ski Resort in the most magical winter wonderland around.
7. The ice rink at Northstar is THE destination for you and your friends
Why drive all the way to Northstar to go ice skating, you ask? Because it looks like the most perfect Christmas miracle, that's why. Dads holding their daughters' hands on the ice is the cutest thing to watch, all while skating around the rink with your friends singing along to the blaring Christmas music under the twinkling lights. These are definitely are some of your favorite Christmas memories.
8. Main Street in Placerville could very well be on the cover of a Christmas calendar, and you love every minute of walking down it during the holidays
Main Street is possibly the coziest spot in all of California on it's own, but during Christmas time it just gets that much better. The store windows are always filled with holiday displays and your shoes are always wet from the puddles of melted snow. There's nothing that brings more holiday cheer than putting yourself right in the middle of a Christmas painting by Thomas Kinkade.
9. You and your family have driven to Town Center to see the Christmas Tree Lighting and Santa on his sleigh
The twinkling lights, the snow-blower machine and the small town feel of this annual event are what made it so special growing up. You wait shoulder to shoulder amidst the crowds of people to watch the tree lights illuminate the square, and it is worth every second of anticipation.
10. Getting in the car never seemed more exciting
Whether it was a drive to Tahoe for the day, or just taking the car down Main Street to look at all the lights, road trips were always more fun during the holidays. The snow on the side of the roads, the fog on the windows, the pit stop at Strawberry Lodge along Highway 50 to get a hot chocolate and stand by the fireplace, these are some of your favorite family memories!