There is no better way to experience a gold rush Christmas than to go to one of the most preserved gold rush towns in California. Here you will get a glimpse of what life looked like for those who lived during the early California period. Cars are banned from entering the streets so you don’t have to worry about cars when exploring the streets of Columbia with your children.
Did you know that this was the wealthiest town during 1850 and 1860? The main reason why this was so is because 35 pounds of gold was found in just two days. You can just imagine how many miner ran to Columbia once word got out? More than 5000 miners started searching for gold near the river beds. It took 15 years for miners to be able to find any gold and because of the shortage of water this town experienced two fires and in 1870s this town was no more than a ghost town.
Columbia is now a state historic park.
Las Posada Nativity Procession
This was one of the best Christmas re-enactments we have ever seen with Mary on the donkey and Joseph looking for an inn so that Mary could give birth to baby Jesus. Because of all the dimness and candles we felt like we traveled back in time to when miners celebrated Christmas in the 1983. The scene was magical with candles lite up on the ground and everyone holding a candle in their hands. Everyone joined in singing carols. Towards the end a prayer was said and honestly we felt like it was the best way to honor Christ this time of year. Our children loved it so much. What a great way it was for us to celebrate Peters 14th birthday.
Did you know that miners did not wear hard hats? Instead they had cloth hats and they placed a miners candlestick by bending the end of the spike to hold their candle.
We can’t believe that we have never done this experiment before because it is so easy to do and so neat to watch. What you need is : candle, matches, plate, class cup, and a water bottle with food coloring added to the water.
Place the candle on the plate, light the candle, and add water to the plate. Then you want to place a glass cup on top of the candle and watch the magic. We love science because often times science looks like some sort of magic trick has been preformed but in reality the air is starting to heat up inside the glass and the heated air expands and as it expands the water comes out from under the glass container.
Things to do in Columbia
Do you still have some Christmas shopping to do? Then you’ll want to do some of that here in these 150 year old buildings which are filled with antique goodies from clothing to home décor.
If you crave tasty candy or you just want to see a beautiful candy shop then you won’t want to miss Nelson’s Columbia Candy Kitchen. They sell some large candy canes there.
You’ll also want to stop by the bowling saloon exhibit and bowl like they did in the past.
You can pan for gold here, ride a stagecoach, tour the town and see its museums, schoolhouse, jail, and cemetery.
If your feeling crafty then you could spend some time painting candles.
If you love to dress up and take pictures then you might really enjoy taking your picture at Kamice’s Photographic Establishment like we did.
Staying the Night
Did you know that you can actually stay over night here and that’s exactly what we did. We stayed in Cottage #15. We stayed in a house which had three bedrooms. You could stay in the hotel at Fallon Hotel or City Hotel. However, there is six of us so a hotel room is too small for us. The cottage was so clean. We loved being able to stroll the streets of Columbia early in the morning with no other soul out exploring. Visit http://reserveamerica.com to book your stay. Campground: Columbia Hotels and Cottages.
Making your Very own Candy Canes:
After seeing such large candy canes at Nelson’s Columbia Candy Kitchen we were inspired to make candy canes on our own. We were surprised by how easy it is to make candy canes ourselves. We used brown sugar instead of graduated sugar so our mixture was darker. To learn how to make candy canes please watch the videos below.
Merry Christmas friends. What is one of your favorite Christmas traditions?