Back to School 1861 in Columbia

Learn games from ye olde California, hear lessons, and soak in an evening of history, in September.

Columbia State Historic Park
Visit California/Myles McGuinness

GOLD RUSH COUNTRY... can yield many pleasures, from offbeat photo-taking opportunities to fine dining to natural wonders to wine tasting rooms to train rides that zip riders straight into the past. And while those low, rolling hills the run along one of the Golden State's most golden stretches are plum-full of gems, only a couple of spots can rightfully claim the coveted title Most Time Machine-Like. Columbia State Historic Park, which may be found "... in the heart of the California Mother Lode," could easily wear that sash and crown, for it summons the traditions of the mid-19th century like few places can and do. Yep, there's a stagecoach, and buildings that have that 1850-esque sepia-tone vibe, and a host of places to soak in what life was like when shiny, glittery rocks caught many an eye and fervent fancy. But it wasn't all gold, all the time back in the day, of course. Other important goals held sway, from education to industry to art, and...

COLUMBIA CELEBRATES ITS HISTORY... in myriad ways. You can peek back at the schoolroom of a way-back era at Back to School 1861, a special happening on Saturday, Sept. 16. Games, instruction, hand-cranked ice cream, and more goings-on will flourish during the free afternoon-long event. And as for fiddles and banjos? Tunes shall twang on the final day of September 2017. There are ghost tours, too, ahead, and happenings involving mysteries, so it is correct to say that Columbia has something to offer visitors on several different counts. As far as just strolling an old street, one that appears to be straight from the time of the Gold Rush, and admiring locals in period clothing? If that's all you're looking for, well, by George, you'll find it at the town-big landmark, an atmospheric destination that holds fast to the past.

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