Victorian Bed and Breakfast Nestled in Gold Country
When Chris Jennings sets up the morning tea service at Power's Mansion Inn, she's usually the only one in that part of the house. That's why she was so startled the first time she heard heavy footsteps coming from upstairs. Puzzled, she called out a greeting, but nobody answered. When the stomping continued, she did what every person in a horror movie does—she slowly ascended the stairs, inching step by step toward the source of the noise. When she reached the top, she found nothing at all.
The eerie thumps have returned several times since then. One day they got so loud that Chris panicked and fled into the garden. After a few minutes, she decided she was being silly, but she's not the only one who has heard the footsteps—other employees have reported hearing the ghostly sounds.
Any possible spectral presence hasn't hurt the inn's standing with visitors, however. Among other accolades, it's been voted the area's best bed and breakfast by the Auburn Journal five years in a row. Owners Alfred and Peggy Lee have undertaken painstaking renovations to preserve the property, including building retaining walls to save a 108-year-old oak tree.
Each of the inn's 16 rooms and suites is uniquely decorated with authentic Victorian artwork and wall coverings. The mansion's original master bedroom, now known as the Power room, shimmers with shades of gold in the bay-window curtains and the linens on the four-poster bed. In Kristynn's room, meanwhile, guests have access to a clawfoot bathtub and an old-fashioned "pull" toilet.
In the gentlemen's and ladies' parlors, you'll find antique wing chairs, oriental rugs, and Charles Dickens's prom photos. After a complimentary breakfast at The Power Club, you can read a book on the terraced garden patio before enjoying an afternoon tea service in the dining room. The inn's onsite Irish pub and brewery—dedicated to the memory of James Visel Power, a grandson of the original owner—brews its own award-winning handcrafted beers and serves entrees such as 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 goldmine, 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 other 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.
Read the Fine Print for important info on travel dates and other restrictions.