Came for the Pasties and Discovered a State Park

Call us crazy, or have nothing better to do with our time, or fanatical about tradition, but we joyfully drive two hours for a pie (Apple Hill in Placerville, tradition we kept this year, but not blogging about it) or a pasty. What you ask is a pasty? It's simply a British version of empanada (or meat pie); however, it is traditionally associated with Cornwall, thus Cornish pasty. Empanadas are one of my favorite food in the world, although I have shied away from eating it during my weight loss program.

Last year, we revisited the charming town of Grass Valley. The mining town sits on the western foothills of Sierra Nevada mountains and has a rich history connected with the Gold Rush. But we came there for the Cornish pasties - said to be the best around these parts. We had a very nice visit and had taken home frozen pasties, because the store ran out of freshly baked ones. People come everywhere to get them.

This year, we were quite lucky. We found a different store that sells them and so we went to sample them there. They were smaller in size and just the right size for a bite and coffee. Sorry, I have no photos of the pasty, but trust me, they were delectable.



Marshall's Pasties on Mill Street - menu.

Afterwards, we explored the downtown and went for coffee and pastries and soaked up the sun on one of the outdoor seating areas. How wonderful it is to visit these small towns.



My husband wants more than sip coffee and eat pasties and people watch when we drove 2 hours to get here. Thankfully, he's really good at research and found a state park nearby to visit. But before we left downtown, we stopped at Grass Valley Pasty Co - my pasty place of choice- to grab a couple to take home with us.

A short drive away we arrived at Empire Mine State Park, the site of one the oldest, deepest and richest gold mines in the state.




Inside the visitor center there is a small museum of the history of Empire mine, but what got my attention (sorry I did not went crazy and photographed everything) was that in the mid 1850s Cornish miners who had a thousand years of history as hard rock miners came to work in the mines bringing with them Cornish pump which allowed them to pump water out of the 1,200-foot mine shafts. They obviously also brought their pasties with them. Mystery solved. I always wondered why this small town in the foothills of the Sierra Nevada would be known for Cornish pasties.




Found out there is a California state gemstone. Do you know your state's gemstone?


Offices - miners, engineers, assays, etc.





Outdoor exhibit of old mining equipment.





The manor known as cottage was the residence of the the Bourn's (William Bourn Jr).




They also have a garden with many vintage rose bushes, but we came in the fall and got a bit of fall foliage instead. Perhaps a return in the summer time is needed.


If you live in this part of California, or visiting the Lake Tahoe area, this would be a very nice side trip destination for you.


  1. That mine is crazy - great pics. #WWOT

  2. I've never had the opportunity to try pasties. Looks like you found a double treat that day - pasties and a mine!
    Thanks for sharing at

  3. What an outing you had. Those pasties look delicious and the town interesting.
    I'm always intrigued by old mines and their remnants. My maternal grandfather was a powder man for mines all over the mountain west. So who knows he might have put in a stint there.


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