Image by Jessica Wright.
Jessica Wright, founder of the popular travel blog Bon Traveler, has been to many countries. Through her Instagram, we have traveled along and have seen the globe. Australia? Check! Morocco? Been there! Sri Lanka? Vietnam? Yep and yep! Europe? Many, many times!
We are always excited when a new, afar destination pops up on her feed.
But when she recently shared dreamy pictures from Auburn, California we got even more excited. We, here at California Weekend, cannot get enough of small, enchanting Golden State towns. We hear you, Auburn might not be on everyone’s travel list and what is a globetrotter doing there anyhow, but the charming Auburn is near and dear to Jessica’s heart. The California native grew up in Auburn, spent her teenage years and met the love of her life there. So when she got invited for a campaign trip to Auburn, she couldn’t resist seeing her hometown as a traveler and we, virtually, tagged along again.
Just in between Sacramento and Lake Tahoe, Auburn is definitely to put on your small California towns bucket list. Auburn’s Old Town has preserved its wild wild west charm and architecture over the centuries, but behind the antique fronts, you will find artisan coffee shops, a hip boutique hotel, well-curated home goods stores, new restaurants and of course the one or other blacksmith, vintage shop and old-school dinner. For the outdoor adventurer in you, Auburn abounds on hiking trails. And if you are here in search of gold…yep, you can get a gold panning kit and try your luck — they say there is still gold in the river.
We asked Jessica to create a 24 hrs itinerary for Auburn. So next time you hit the road to Lake Tahoe make sure to stop for a night ( or two) and enjoy this little wild wild west oasis.
Jessica Wright’s 24 HRS itinerary to Auburn
8 AM – HIT THE ROAD FROM SAN FRANCISCO
With a car, it will take you about 2 hours on I-80 E from San Francisco. The drive up is a perfect quick road trip for the weekend. From LA is a bit longer trek, but if you are planning on going to Lake Tahoe, give Auburn a try.
10ish AM – BREAKFAST TIME
Before you start exploring fuel up on classic American breakfast staples at Katrina’s. A childhood favorite, I always come here for breakfast with my family. No matter what you order, you cannot go wrong.
12 PM – EXPLORE THE OLD TOWN
Make your way to the Old Town and stroll around. There are lots of antique and quirky shops to browse and buy a gift or two. Since the downtown is not very big, I recommend taking your time and peeking into every shop that sparks your interest. They all have something unique to offer. Also, don’t forget your camera. Old Town is full of great photo ops if you are into vintage signs and wild west architecture. Especially the sign of the California bar is quite a gem. If you need a break, stop for a coffee at The Pour Choice, my favorite coffee shop.
3 PM – CHECK INTO THE PARK VICTORIAN
This 6-room, boutique hotel sits overlooking the historic part of Auburn. It has the keys to the city in terms of location and is undoubtedly the best for staying overnight. Chic rooms that are bright and comfortable making for a cozy stay that feels like home — and the beds from Tucked In, Auburn’s natural bedding store, are so good you’ll probably pick up one for yourself. Relax and refresh for the rest of your day.
4 PM – WINE O’CLOCK
It’s time for some wine tasting. Stop at Vina Castellano to do a tasting inside their wine cave and then enjoying the afternoon at their picturesque wine bar overlooking the pond.
6 PM – WHAT’S FOR DINNER?
Carpe Vino: Hands down the best restaurant in Old Town for elevated cuisine. The service is incredible, the food is excellent, and what they’re doing with the menu is brilliant. Think nectarine and ricotta cheese tartines, truffle popcorn to snack on, and lamb meatballs. Oh and their wine list? Endless.
8 PM – NIGHTCAP
Since Pour Choice is also a beer bar, I just love to finish my day here with a cold ale. I also recommend getting a half charcuterie board to nibble on. It’s a great way to end a day of exploring. Just sitting and letting all the impressions sink in.
8 AM -WAKE UP & HIKE
Auburn is a playground for everyone who loves being outdoors. Endless hiking trails are just waiting for you. Some of my favorite include Hidden Falls, Stagecoach Trail, and down into the American River canyon on your way to Cool. The Lake Clementine Trail under the Foresthill Bridge is also incredibly scenic.
10 AM – HAVE A BREAKFAST, CHECK OUT
Don’t miss the delicious, family-style breakfast at Park Victorian.
12 PM – PICNIC TIME
If you happen to be in Auburn on a Saturday, here’s what you need to do. Fill a basket with provisions from the farmers market and head out on the wine trail to enjoy. We went to Paza Estate Winery, grabbed a glass of rosé and enjoyed the picnic in the vineyards.
3 PM – TIME TO SAY BYE BYE
Of course, you can stay longer, but if your mini vacation in Auburn is coming to an end, grab a fresh, organic smoothie from Healthy Habit for the way.
I hope you will enjoy Auburn as much as I did!
*Images by Jessica Wright.