As we continue to find ourselves in and out of lockdown, in and out of stay at home orders around the world, it's so important to gift ourselves with a change of scenery. Whether that means picking up your lunch and eating in your backyard, or booking an Airbnb and working from a new location an hour away during the work week, a change of scenery does wonders for your mental health and sanity.
I know many of us travel hungry Millenials and Gen Zers are still struggling being cooped up domestically and not being able to travel abroad but that doesn't mean we can't take full advantage of what's in our own backyard. Quite literally even!
Being in Northern California for the last handful of months, away from my traditional home in the bustling city that is Los Angeles, there have definitely been times when it feels like there's not a whole lot to do or see. Not that there would be much to do or see in LA right now, let's be honest, but you catch my drift.
Anyway, thanks to a happy little accident, I stumbled upon The Holbrooke Hotel in Grass Valley a couple weekends back on a random day drive with my family. Grass Valley is only about an hour north of Sacramento but certainly a definitive change of scenery. Back in January, my Mom's birthday was rapidly approaching and since I didn't want to buy her a new book to add to the shelf or something to collect dust, I was excited at the prospect of having a weekend getaway and experiencing somewhere new. Enter - The Holbrooke.
So Saturday morning, the weekend after her birthday, we hopped in the car, overnight bags packed, and drove ourselves to Grass Valley. We arrived right around noon and while our room wasn't ready just yet, we were able to leave our car in the hotel parking lot and bop around town while we waited.
Mill Street in Grass Valley has so many wonderful shops to explore. From Yuba Blue, a phenomenal gift and home shop, to the Lazy Dog Chocolateria ice cream and candy store, there's truly something for everyone. One of my personal favorites is Booktown Books (are you even surprised?), a local haunt. It's worth the drive just to visit this bookstore, I'm telling you it's that good. Books are stacked every which way, in every corner of this massive storefront, covering everything from World Religion to Past Presidents, and everything in between. Plus, the prices are reasonable, comparable to one of my other favorites - Half Price Books.
The Holbrooke was nice enough to get our room ready early so we checked in to our double queen room at 2pm, set our bags down, freshened up, and popped back out to finish our shopping and grab a little late snack at Sergio's Caffé. Each time we've driven to Grass Valley this year (this is now our second time in a matter of a month), this restaurant has been packed and now I know it's for good reason. The menu is expansive and the food itself was great. We nibbled on some appetizers then popped into Sunchild's Parlour before heading back up to our room.
Sunchild's is an incredible vintage shop in Grass Valley just a couple doors down from The Holbrooke. The quality of the clothing is phenomenal and the shop satisfies both the male and female clientele interested in picking up a unique find to add to their wardrobe while visiting this quaint little town. I would highly recommend this Grass Valley destination.
Once we made it back up to our room, my mom and I enjoyed an afternoon reading and relaxing. While the room we were staying in had a phenomenal back porch with rocking chairs for us to enjoy, it was in the 40's and quite cold while we were visiting so we stuck to the heated interior room. I will say the beds and the tufted leather couch were a dream though so we were not mad at having to relegate ourselves indoors.
After spending a few luxurious hours in our room, it was time for dinner at The Golden Gate Saloon downstairs in the hotel. Believe it or not, the restaurant had only JUST re-opened a matter of days before our visit so we were some of the first patrons to dine there since the grand re-opening. While the food and service was absolutely incredible, we did have to eat outside and Grass Valley gets cold - I'm talking snow cold. There was a heater right next to our table but sometimes that can only do so much. I should have taken that into consideration and booked us an earlier reservation but we stuck it out and enjoyed falafel burgers and fries. The good news was we could merely pop back upstairs, jump into our pjs and bury ourselves in our blankets and heated room for the rest of the evening.
Our experience at The Holbrooke Hotel was everything I dreamt it to be and then some. This 150 year old, historic hotel is a beautiful landmark right in the middle of town. It's perfectly located so even if you don't have a car handy, you could easily walk around, get yourself a cup of coffee, shop for some trinkets for your home, gifts for your family members and end the day with a dessert before heading back up to your hotel room.
The staff was extremely friendly and accommodating and despite the rules and regulations of travel during COVID times, we felt like we had the full experience and thoroughly enjoyed the charm of this boutique hotel. The Holbrooke is PERFECT for Sacramento (or nearby natives) to pop away for the weekend and enjoy a couple nights. The rooms (at least the room we were in) don't have TVs so it truly is this charming little escape where you can remove yourself from the hustle and bustle of your daily activities and immerse yourself in that small town magic.
It's pretty phenomenal to say I've visited one of the oldest hotels in California but I can tell you just based on the interior alone, it doesn't feel like that. The Holbrooke has maintained the charm of a 150 year old historic hotel, but made impactful, modern upgrades to welcome new and storied guests alike.
I could have spent all week there and in fact, I look forward to visiting again soon! My Mom and I have already talked about making it an annual pilgrimage. Until we meet again Holbrooke, thank you for helping me celebrate my Mom and giving us a wonderful, memorable and relaxing getaway.