A Victorian Christmas in California

Last December, I witnessed the clock as it turned back its hands for more than a century ago.  It all happened in Nevada City, California where almost everyone, locals and tourists alike dressed up in Victorian outfits.

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Every year in December, Nevada City, California celebrates a Victorian Christmas and everyone is invited.

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As I stood on the main street called Broad Street, I noticed that it’s all lit up, with Christmas lights outlining the historic buildings and lamp posts as horse carriages paraded up and down the street.

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The Christmas market spreads itself onto the street as everyone marvels at the market sellers’ plethora of holiday and winter items to sell – from coats, scarves, cosmetics, Christmas tree trinkets, antiques, paintings, pastries to hot chocolate and hot cider.

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Musicians flood the streets with Christmas melodies as well as music from the Gold Rush era for a total “I-stepped-back-in-time effect.”

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One of the highlights of my visit was the night spent at the National Exchange Hotel, a Victorian lodge founded in 1856.

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The room was furnished with a great Victorian sofa, a chaise, a king-sized bed, a dresser and a wall adorned with antique plates and old paintings probably dating back from the time the hotel was built.

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Beams of sunlight came through the big windows during the day while nostalgic rays of moonlight visited the room at night.  The bright yellow curtains made the room cheery, bright, and full of life.

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The green floral carpets compliment the room making its guests feel as if they indeed traveled back to the Victorian era, even for just one night.

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As the temperature got really low in the evening, I found myself inside the hotel’s bar sampling its specialty drink called “The Hot Buttered Rum” –  an alcoholic beverage with a well-protected recipe. This beverage is one of the bar’s delicious defrosters dubbed as “Winter Warm Ups”.  This wintery list also includes drinks such as Jameson Irish Coffee, Café Au Cognac, Tuaca Hot Apple Pie, Peppermint Schnapps Smuggler, Hot Scotch, Captain’s Coconut Brownie, Kahlua Ambassador Coffee, Cafe Fontainebleau, and Chocolate Mint.  Should I go on?

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Then the morning came and it was time for breakfast. Despite the long line of people outside waiting to be seated, I decided to have the first meal of the day at the Nevada City Cafe. This cafe is famous for its breakfast crepes and curly fries. I was not disappointed. Established in the late 1800s, Nevada City Cafe still lives up to its reputation.

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An afternoon stroll led me to a Truffle Shop – a chocolate truffle store that showcased and sold the most artistic and delectable truffles I’ve ever had.

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The truffles were beautifully grouped together, some clad in nuts, dried fruits, coffee beans, some were even alcohol-infused, and some were individually hand-painted in a variety of different colors and designs.

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Nevada City’s Victorian Christmas is thought to be a premier holiday event in California. It is a must-see and a must-experience treat for anyone who is curious to get a glimpse of how Christmas was like in the mid-1800s. This Christmas, travel back in time and head over to Nevada City for a Victorian Christmas experience!

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 This is me in my Victorian outfit.  I came prepared!

(Photos by piacevole0107)

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