Our California house sitting journey has take us to Hangman Town known today as Placerville. An old gold mining town with a very interesting past, particularly for a number of criminals hanged from a tree for their crimes way back in the 1840’s and 50’s hence it used to be called Hangman Town.
Tip: To give yourself the best chance of getting some amazing sits like this one in Placerville take a look at our post on Joining Trusted House Sitters, full of tips on how to stand out above the crowds!
Our accommodation for the week was house sitting for a couple who had a property up in the hills with lots of land looking over the town and we had the pleasure of caring for their cat called Suni and three very characterful chickens.
Placerville retains its old gold mining town charm and feels a bit like going back in time when you head down into the main street. With its bell tower in the square and reminder of its Hangtown past with the local ice cream parlour still having a noose hanging from its top floor. Couple this with main the street full of shops with old fashioned signs and four wheel drives signifying that you really are up in the hills, makes this a real experience of imagining how it was back in the gold rush era.
We were visiting in December and amazed at the number of shops specialising in Christmas ornaments and decorations. It looked as if they sold them all year round, really pretty to look round but amazing to think that people are buying Christmas decorations all year round!
For food shopping you’ll need to head to the other end of town which felt like you were going to another town all together, its a good couple of miles along Placerville Drive to Raley’s Supermarket or take the main highway to Perks Corner and you’ll find a Safeway Store.
For the cheapest petrol in town head for Fuel 4 Less at the end of Main Street.
Parking in Placerville is pretty good too, roadside parking and a few car parks, all offer 2 hours free parking before they start charging. Plenty long enough to explore the town and grab a coffee.
One of the main reasons for us taking the house sit out in Placerville was the opportunity to take a day trip to Lake Tahoe. Its a must go place for fabulous scenery, good skiing and water sports, really good hiking spots and great places to eat and drink.
We took the stunning scenic route 50 through Eldorado Forest to South Lake Tahoe. Talk about a stroke of luck as we had heard about a winter storm a few days before we arrived in Placerville and half expected the road to be closed or snow chains needed. But we had blue sky, clear roads and snow on the trees. It was just like one of those scenic drives you only ever dream of doing. Simply beautiful!
After about an hours drive we reached South Lake Tahoe, a really popular town boasting ski resorts and a fabulous lakeside location, providing what can only be described as paradise for water sports and winter sports lovers!
Our plan was to drive the 72 miles around the lake, and we decided to go anti clockwise due to the position of the sun for photos. We set of on the 89 towards Tahoe City.
First stop was the Emerald Bay View Point for what has to be one of the best views of Lake Tahoe. There are a few view points where you can capture panoramas of the mountains and lake. We hiked out through the snow to a cliff top overlooking the lake which took some doing, but we had it to ourselves and captured what we thought was the perfect selfie. After a long hike back to the car, we set off heading further north, shortly arriving at the official Emerald Bay View point with a really easy walk to get the perfect selfie! We drove past it muttering!
Second stop was Tahoe City, a waterfront location and plenty of shops, but not a decent coffee shop in sight, so we headed further north!
Third stop was incline village where we hunted down a Starbucks to takeaway. Incline village is pretty big actually and has some fabulous houses and a great place to pay a visit to Lake Tahoe State Park and San Harbour, which were our next stop, the perfect spot to sit on the rocks and drink takeaway coffee! There is a really nice footpath walk by the side of the lake at Secret Harbor and some great photo opportunities at Secret Cove and Chimney Beach.
Heading back down to the southern part of the lake taking the 28 and then on to the 50 we passed through Nevada State Park, East Shore Forest and Zephyr Cove Park as we return to our start point at South Lake Tahoe just as the sunset. From the lakeside we could watch the last few skiers taking their last run down the mountain at the Heavenly Ski Resort while watching the sun set over the lake and mountains in the other direction. A great finish to a fantastic day!
We had a great week staying at Placerville, drinking coffee on the porch while feeding the chickens and caring for their sweet kitty. We even had a couple of visits from the local wild black turkeys that roam the area.
In summary we found Placerville a beautiful place to spend a week. The highlight was definitely the day trip to Lake Tahoe, and we really recommend taking the time to try and get up to the lake if you are visiting California, its well worth the drive, so much so that we would love to return and stay down by the lake if ever a house sit came up down there, we are keeping our eye out for one!
You might also like to read these: