In this election year, we cast our ballot: Sutter Creek is the best town in the Gold Country.
Yeah, there are other strong candidates, like Murphys and Nevada City. But consider what you encounter when you turn off State 49 and take the bypass into Sutter Creek. Set in a tidy green dell - Sutter Creek is the kind of town that makes you recall words like "dell" - is a Main Street lined with balconied 19th-century buildings. The prettiest Main Street you've ever seen? Quite possibly.
Nearby, on Spanish and Church Streets, are Victorian homes that run from mansion to cottage, almost all boasting gardens that make you vow to mulch the minute you get back home.
Sutter Creek is not short on Gold Rush history: Mining wealth built these handsome buildings. But what you feel now is the buzz of the new - first-rate home stores, restaurants that reach beyond the steak-and-whiskey Gold Country staples, and wine-tasting venues that celebrate Amador County's way with the vine.
Sutter Creek is on State 49, about 45 miles southeast of Sacramento via States 16 and 49, and about 45 miles northeast of Stockton via States 88 and 49.