Spenceville Road: Country Charm
Nevada County is rich in it its offerings of different lifestyles for different kinds of folks. From quaint, small-town living with sophisticated dining and live theater to the truly rural life where the evening’s music is sung by a choir of crickets and bull frogs, this county affords lifestyles for nearly anybody who doesn’t crave a bunch of high rise buildings and the bustle of urban life. For those seeking real country living and pastoral scenery, Spenceville Road in Penn Valley could be just the place to look.
Penn Valley’s dairy ranching past is still evident in the white rail fences and old barn profiles on its rolling hills. This remains ranch country and passing cars are acknowledged by cows and horses just polite enough to lift their heads and grant a glance, though their munching doesn’t stop for their greetings. Most houses sit on lots from three to twenty acres in size depending upon where you are on this long country road. One and two story homes of various architectural styles stand with plenty of space between, but close enough that kids can find neighbors within their bicycle’s pedaling range.
Many residents of Penn Valley put their outdoor space to use with active ranches and farms. This is a community in which 4-H is a part of the actively agricultural culture. Sisters Sue Hoek and Paula Newman both live here, each on part of what was has been a cattle ranch in their family for 127 years. “Agriculture has been a strong influence in our lives for a long time,” says Hoek.
Not everyone farms, of course. For those who just like privacy and a little elbow room Spenceville Road is a place for an easy walk or bike ride amongst neighbors. Soft undulating hills with tufts of deciduous trees afford lovely valley views.
An interesting turn in this community is the development of vineyards. This corner of Nevada County is reminiscent of the grapevine-etched hillsides of Sonoma and Napa County. Nearby, Indian Springs Vineyards are well established. Last summer brought the new Pilot Peek Winery right on Spenceville road. This winery is open for tastings on most weekday afternoons with a gold medal winner among its labels.
The old Penn Valley downtown and nearby businesses in Lake Wildwood offer residents enough conveniences and necessities to make going into town for basic needs optional. “I only go into town if I want to,” says Sue Hoek. Those craving a steak dinner in an informal, family-friendly environment can find it at the nearby Tack Room. Pizza, burgers and some pretty good daily specials can be found at The Northridge Two, its first-born twin to be found in Nevada City. China House Restaurant as well as the Daybreak Cafe and Penn Valley Grill among others round out the dining options.
A stop in the nearby town of Rough and Ready can offer visiting guests a little taste of Nevada County’s rich Gold Rush history. Rough and Ready, once established by gold miners mostly from Wisconsin, was the only town to actually secede from the Union and the California Territory. The artifacts of the mining history still remain in this little town with a population of about 150.
Spenceville Road: Penn Valley
Zip code: 95946
Elevation: 1400 ft.
Location: Northern California, off Hwy 20.
Nevada Union High School: 9-12
Penn Valley Community Day: 6-8
Colleges/Universities nearest to Penn Valley:
America River College (About 39 Miles)
California State University-Sacramento
(About 47 Miles)
(NC Campus, -8 Miles, Rocklin Campus-
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