Fall leads into winter and winter into spring, but first, let’s dig into some delicious turkey and stuffing and have ourselves a get together! Calaveras County is a fantastic place to spend your Thanksgiving holiday. We have some gorgeous foliage in great abundance during the fall months, and just the right amount of crispness in the air to make those stylish scarves and winter coats and boots a necessity.
If you have a winter cabin or second home in the Motherlode, now is an excellent time to have it winterized if you don’t plan on using it soon. Cold winter mornings have played witness to thousands of broken pipes, leading to thousands of dollars worth or repairs or cleanup after a flood. Likewise, if you have your home for sale and it is currently sitting vacant, please give your real estate agent a call and ask her to arrange to have your property winterized for you. It generally doesn’t cost much more than $100 to have it done if you don’t want to do it yourself, and could potentially save thousands in the long run. Just remember, if you do happen to get one of those rare winter buyers, you’ll have to foot the bill to have the property de-winterized in order for them to be able to have inspections performed.
Seller’s Alert – NOW is the time to start getting your property ship-shape if you intend to list it this spring! Box up those personal decorative items – family pictures, kid’s artwork, unused kitchen and bathroom appliances, etc., and sell, give away, or toss anything you no longer need. HAVE INSPECTIONS PERFORMED! Having the answers a buyer is going to want to know ahead of time puts you ahead of the game and reinforces your asking price. If you need to have work done; termite and pest, roof, septic, well, etc., and you let the buyer know what to expect in regards to that work (ie. your listing price represents and takes into account that the buyer is expected to be responsible for cost of repairs, or that the seller will have repairs done prior to close of escrow), you have more leverage in negotiations where the buyer wants to haggle over the price. Yes, I know inspections can run into the hundreds, but is that really not just a drop in the bucket compared to the thousands in repairs or a suitable reduction in price if the buyer finds out he’s not really getting what he thought he was paying for when you leave that responsibility up to the buyer?
I usually recommend that my sellers have a whole home inspection (usually around $450) and a roof inspection if the roof is over 15 years old (somewhere around $150 for this one). If the home inspector finds evidence of pests or pest damage, I’d take it a step further and get a pest inspection as well. And see, here’s the deal: If you want to be able to sell your home to someone who wants to finance it, the lender is going to require that you or the buyer provides clearances for the septic, well, pest and/or roof from a licensed inspector in order to approve the loan. Otherwise, you are going to be limiting your buyer pool to only those with enough cash to close the deal… which could result in additional months sitting on the market and unnecessary additional carrying expense for you, the seller. And that’s a bummer. We don’t want bummed sellers, we want blissful sellers! So take my advice and have those inspections done ahead of time!
Meanwhile, I want to wish you all a warm, family and fun-filled Thanksgiving holiday with some fantastic Diestel Farms locally grown organic turkey, some home-made eggnog, lots of laughter and abundant good blessings, from my household to yours!
Autumn is upon us here in the foothills, and what a great time of year to be able to enjoy the lovely scenery and cooler weather in Calaveras County! If you were in town recently, you got a chance to enjoy one of our annual events here in Murphys; The Calaveras Grape Stomp and the Gold Rush Street Faire! The winners of this year’s contest called themselves The Grapeful Dead. The action took place in Murphys Park, and the street fair was on both sides of Main Street, which was closed from just past the bridge down to the antique plumbing supply company in the old IOOF building. Despite the wonderful weather we had for the event, it did seem not only to be smaller this year, but to not be as well attended as past events. Nevertheless, fun was had by all in attendance, it seemed, and there were some really cool items available for sale in support of the victims of the recent Butte Fire that ravaged over a 100 square miles of our beloved county.
Starting on Sunday, October 11, Moaning Caverns is having a Halloween themed event that runs through the rest of the month, and most, if not all, of the local wineries host a wine stroll through Murphys every weekend.
The Calaveras Community Band will be presenting their fall concert from 3 – 5 pm at the Performing Arts Center at Bret Harte High School on Sunday the 1st of November. The Calaveras Drum Circle will be meeting in Utica Park from 4:30 – 6 pm the same day. Bring a percussion instrument or borrow one of theirs!
On Thursday, November 5th, the 3rd Annual Wine Barrel Open golf tournament will be held at Greenhorn Creek Golf Course and Resort, where contestants will compete for a barrel full of award-winning local wines!
Then on Friday, the Hotel Leger at 8304 Main St. in Mokelumne Hill will be hosting Comedy Nite at the Hotel Leger from 8 – 10 pm. Make sure to bring your funny bone!
The 6th annual Day of the Dead Celebration will be held on Saturday, November 7th from 11 am- 6 pm at Murphys Community Park to celebrate the lives of those who have passed but are still with us in heart and spirit. On that same day, Columbia College will be holding the Sierra Nevada Film Festival starting at 5:15 pm.
On Sunday, November 15th, the Soroptimist International of Calaveras County will be hosting their annual Teddy Bear Tea with music, entertainment, and crafts at the Calaveras County Fairgrounds in the Frogtown hall from 1 – 4 pm. Attendees are encouraged to wear their favorite costumes and dress-up apparel. Fees are $15 for children 9 and under, and $27 for those over 10.
Well it’s about time Old Man Winter came to visit! We were seriously starting to take measures to ensure that our well didn’t run dry, as several have in Calaveras County lately. The creek that runs through the north end of our property, a tributary of the Jesus Maria Creek, had been bone dry for almost 2/3rds of a year and we were starting to think that all the work our neighbor had done to improve the runoff of water on his property had been an exercise in futility. Why create diversions and install giant French drains and culverts when there wasn’t any water to divert? But now all that hard work has paid off for him, and we can relax about our well for a while.
We have some great local events coming up this week that will entertain you and delight your senses. This Wednesday, February 12th, at 11am, Camps Restaurant in Angels Camp will host “88 Days… The Story of Mark Twain in the Mother Lode”. This free event will hopefully inform and entertain folks about the life and times of famous author Samuel Clemens, who wrote “The Celebrated Jumping Frog of Calaveras County”.
And then the next day, Thursday, February 13th, from 5:30 pm to 7:00 pm, Murphys Historic Hotel will be hosting Wines of the World, with a chocolate and Port tasting being the focus of the evening. There is a fee of $15/person for CWA members and $25/person for the general public. Guests are welcome to dine in the hotel afterwards and will receive a $5 discount on their entrées if they do!
This Friday is Valentines Day, and there are lots of activities to participate in to celebrate the special day. The Angels Camp Museum is having Love Fridays all month long, this week’s presentation will discuss “Love History (President Polk and the Gold Rush)”, and if you call ahead, they will have a brown bag lunch waiting for you at 1:00 pm when you arrive. The cost is $12 for one presentation, or $45 if you decide to attend all four. Zucca Wine Bar, Alchemy Market and Café, and Victoria Inn, all in Murphys, are having live music in the evening to entertain their diners, and Angels Camp Mercantile and Café is hosting a karaoke open mic night from 6:00 pm to 10:00 pm. The Hotel Leger in Mokelumne Hill is offering a special 6 course dinner with wine pairings for $85/couple, with seatings at 6:00 pm and 8:00 pm and is having an open mic night in the Whitewater Saloon starting at 9:00 pm. And finally, Valley Springs will be celebrating the occasion with a family-oriented Valentine’s Day dance from 6:30 pm to 9:30 pm, hosted by the Cowgirl Up Ranch at the Veterans Hall at 189 Pine Street in Valley Springs. The cost is $10/person while students and youngsters 6 and under get in for free!
So if you happen to find yourself up in the Calaveras foothills this week, I hope you get the chance to attend one or more of these activities and that you have a wonderful, enjoyable, love-filled Valentine’s Day week!
Or Holiday Open House, whichever you prefer. It’s the time of year when the chill wind of winter is breathing right down Main Street in Murphys, when shopkeepers keep their doors open after dark to welcome visitors in from the cold with seasonal greetings and warm smiles. It’s the time for folks to bundle up their little ones in fluffy coats, hats and scarves, and fellowship with friends and neighbors as they wander around and through the downtown area, sipping mulled wine, coffee or cocoa with gloved hands as their frozen breath hovers before them.
Personally, this is my favorite local activity in which to participate. It is held on the first Friday in December every year without fail. We typically begin our trek at Murphys Realty at the corner of Highway 4 and Big Trees Rd. (at the stop light) right around 5 pm. The office is usually bustling with activity and chock full of treats and hors d’oeuvres at that time. We chat and visit for a while, munching on pecan cookies or chips, veggies and dip, then meet up with friends and/or family and head down Big Trees Road toward Main Street. Once we get there, our hands and ears are already starting to numb up, but that’s nothing some mittens and a scarf can’t fix. The event is free to the public, and Main Street is closed to vehicle traffic starting just after 5 pm to allow for pedestrians only. Santa leads a children’s parade down Main Street starting at 5:30 to kick off the festivities. After the parade, Santa lights the town Christmas tree, then he and Mrs. Claus can usually be found for a while at the Native Sons Hall, posing for pictures with the kids and enjoying the company of those who stop by to say Hi.
As you wander down toward the Murphys Hotel, the sweet sound of caroling voices and aroma of chestnuts truly roasting over an open fire blends with the chilly nip of the air to create a memory capable of being recalled for years to come. Stop in to this or that shop to say hi and see what sort of treats await your taste buds. Laugh out loud as you watch the antics of the costumed canines in their jingling harnesses and Santa caps cavorting through town with their masters. Maybe even dress your own pooch for the occasion and bring him or her along too!
I hope you plan on joining us for the Holiday Open House this year on December 6th at 5 pm, and in years to come – the more the merrier! 🙂