August 13, 2012 | Back to: Entertainment

Dave Schmall: Living it up in nomad's land

Time flies. Add in a new job in a new community, weekly commutes, living out of a suitcase, searching for a new home and life as we know it becomes one big blur.

Don't get me wrong, I'm having a great time meeting people, visiting businesses and attending local events, but sometimes I have to stop and ask myself, "What day is it and where am I heading?"

Technically, I still reside in Reno, although I've spent very little time there lately. My stuff is still there anyway, at least for the next two weeks. The past month and a half I've spent weekdays in Nevada County and the weekends in the state of Nevada. Two very different places.

Since starting here July 2, I've been living in either the Holiday Inn Express or the Grass Valley Courtyard Suites, depending on availability and whether I think I need a kitchen to cook any meals. Yes, I do cook.

Staying in downtown Grass Valley has been great. I've taken in the farmers market every Thursday and am enjoying all the great local restaurants - when I'm not cooking, of course.

All of this is not to say that I haven't spent time in Nevada City. I attended Summer Nights in Nevada City more than once, if anyone's counting.

And for those keeping score at home, I'm booked for a week at the Broad Street Inn in Nevada City.

There are so many treasures here; it's hard to know where to begin. I love the arts and truly believe they are not only important to our community's culture, but they distinguish us from our regional neighbors.

I toured The Center for the Arts recently and took in a show. The talent posters that line the Center's walls of acts that have performed there over the past few years blew me away. The Center rivals any major metro-area venue, and yet it's right in our own backyard. By way of full disclosure, I became a member that night. I admit that I haven't been to the theater in Nevada City as yet, but I'm looking forward to it.

I attended our local hospital foundation's Starry, Starry Nights event at Empire Mine State Historic Park a few weeks ago and was mesmerized by the sheer beauty of the grounds. I probably sound a bit melodramatic, but when you've lived in a community where the most intimate outdoorsy spot is a stinky pond surrounded by constant traffic, you appreciate these things. Not the least of the event's highlights was devouring my first Lazy Dog ice cream bar. If I'm ever on death row, a Lazy Dog will be my last request.

I'd heard about all the local wineries and their music events and wine tastings offered on a regular basis, so when I got an invite for the first Friday of the month event at Sierra Starr vineyard I grabbed my wineskin and headed out. The live music genre that night was some sort of mix that ranged from Elvis to Deep Purple, which at first seemed odd but soon was just what the doctor ordered after my second glass of cab.

The proprietor, Phil, gave me a tour of the facilities including inside the cavernous storage tunnel that holds a consistent, cool climate year-round. Seemed like a perfect place to add a couple of recliners, a flat screen and a pool table. I'm just saying.

The Nevada County Fair has a reputation throughout the state as one of the best fairs around, so I decided to find out for myself. I attended the morning ceremonies on opening day and was touched by the stories of how this fair has been an integral part of many people's families and their childhood. I stayed for the flag raising and national anthem, which not only made me proud to be American but put a lump in my throat; it does every time.

If one day of the fair wasn't enough, I went back the next night to walk the entire fairgrounds and collect some pens and key chains from the booths in the exhibit halls.

Some folks I met told me they live for the fair. A lady in front of me at the ATM actually said, "I live for quilts." I'd never heard that before - ever.

Growing up in a big city and being allergic to animal dander, my parents never took me to a state or county fair, so this was news to me. My journey to the fair would have been incomplete had I not sought what was described to me as, "the best corn dog known to man." After a 45-minute wait in line to fetch my homemade corn dog, my culinary review can be summed up simply: "I'll have another."

The night ended with one last stop at Lazy Dog.

So in my indulgence of many of the finest tastes and treats our community has to offer, my pants seem to fit a little tighter than they did in June. I've decided my next visit needs to be to Scott Jackson's Real Life Fitness, which I just learned is closing in November. That gives me just enough time to work off that extra inch or two in time for Thanksgiving. I'll never learn.

Dave Schmall is publisher of The Union. Contact him via email at dschmall@theunion.com or by phone at 477-4299.



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The Union Updated Aug 14, 2012 12:00AM Published Aug 13, 2012 11:57PM Copyright 2012 The Union. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.