Victorian Bed and Breakfast Nestled in Gold Country
In the early 1880s, more than 20 years after the California gold rush ended and the country was thought to be barren, Harold T. Power struck it rich on his family's mine—the aptly named Hidden Treasure. Power used this fortune to build a lavish Victorian mansion, which took up a full city block in the heart of gold country and frequently housed Herbert Hoover, then a young mining engineer himself. The estate has since been converted into Power's Mansion Inn, an elegant bed and breakfast filled with period antiques. Owners Alfred and Peggy Lee have undertaken painstaking renovations to preserve the property—including building retaining walls to save a more than 100-year-old oak tree.
The inn, which was voted the area's best bed and breakfast by the Auburn Journal five years in a row, features 16 rooms and suites. All are uniquely decorated with authentic Victorian artwork and wall coverings. The Power room, the mansion's original master bedroom, shimmers with shades of gold from its bay-window curtains to the linens on its four-poster bed. In the Honeymoon suite, guests enjoy a wood-burning fireplace, a heart-shaped jacuzzi bathtub, and a seating area with heart-shaped chairs.
Alfred and Peggy have filled the inn's gentlemen's and ladies' parlors with antique wing chairs, oriental rugs, and Charles Dickens's prom photos. Enjoy afternoon tea service in the dining room, read a book on the terraced garden patio, or head to the Power Club next door for a housemade complimentary breakfast hosted by the hotel. This Irish pub and brewery, which Alfred dedicated to the memory of his dear friend James Visel Power—the grandson of Harold T. Power—brews its own award-winning handcrafted beers and serves filet mignon and fresh salmon.
Auburn, California: Historical Beauty Couched in Natural Splendor
Auburn sits in the foothills of the Sierra Nevadas, near Sacramento. Considered one of the best-preserved historical towns in the area, Auburn was the site of a prosperous mining camp during the California gold rush. One-hour walking tours of the downtown district depart from the Placer County Museum every day at 10 a.m. At the Gold Country Museum (located 1 mile from the hotel), patrons can pan for gold, creep through a replica gold mine, and walk bowlegged through a mining-camp saloon. A cluster of nearby antique stores sells Victorian-era trinkets, local pottery, and books.
The lakes and rivers of the Sierra Foothills make good spots for fishing excursions, gold panning, and watersports. You can paddle through rugged canyons during a whitewater-rafting trip on the Middle Fork of the American River or water ski on nearby Lake Clementine. About an hour from the inn, mountain bikers careen past the Grizzly Range on the Foresthill Divide Loop Trail.