Amador City, CA — At 0.3 square miles, this Gold Country town is indeed the smallest in the state by size.
It amounts to roughly 6 blocks.
What it lacks in magnitude, though, it more than makes up for in its rich history and present-day charm.
Jose Marie Amador, a wealthy rancher and gold miner, founded this Gold Rush town that’s one hour east of Sacramento. By the time its most famous mine closed in 1943, an estimated $24 million in gold had been mined, according to Visit Amador City.
The downtown is teeny, all of a block and a half, made up nowadays of wine tasting rooms, home-ware shops, cafes, and the Amador Whitney Museum. At its heart is the Imperial Hotel, a historic brick building originally built in 1879.
Last fall, Kevin Carter and his partner Cassie Davis took over the hotel, refurbishing it, before reopening it this spring. Two weeks ago, I was invited as their guest to check out the redone property, which includes a 130-seat, on-site restaurant headed by an executive chef who will be familiar to South Bay folks: Max Benson, whose family operated CB Hannegan’s in Los Gatos for 37 years. When Benson’s mom moved to Amador City, he eventually decided to follow suit.Read more