Dating back from the wild years of the California Gold Rush, Grass Valley's fields attracted the bright-eyed and adventurous with hopes of success and well-being. Albeit most of that was due to the vast quantities of gold and tin found in the area, folks now come from all over with hopes of escaping the mundane eye-sore of the all-too-square suburbia for a fresh taste of how life can be.
If you ask other residents what's so special about Grass Valley, they'll probably go on about the old, historic gold rush towns surrounded by rolling hills and towering pines with the snow-covered Sierras monstrously crawling in the background. Or they'd go on about the community's efforts to maintain economic vitality by its support of growing businesses and hobbies, or its promise for superior educational opportunities. And I would agree. Being an hour to Sacramento, hour and a half to Reno, and an hour to Yuba, Grass Valley is situated in a nice little triangle of anything you need, if you so desire the rush of a big city.
Pros •quaint, quiet...harkens back to a time less befuddled, or fuddled •climate here is something you will miss
Cons •long distance from cities, if you need them at all •tourism....number...one....industry.....noooooooo!!
The People - Who Lives Here?
About 18,000 people. 90% whitey. Grass Valley also has a strong connection with Cornish culture and ancestry, since many people from Cornwall, UK emigrated here in the 19th and 20th centuries.
however, Richard Roundtree, also known as being "hotter than Bond, cooler than Bullitt," claims Grass Valley as his home and original stomping ground. SHAFT!
Social Scene - Bars, clubs, restaurants
Basement Wines is a great little hangout that is not quite very well known, so it still has that old speakeasy feel to it. Good beer on tap or in the bottle, great wines, easy music, and very very friendly.
Crazy Horse Saloon has a great lineup of bands coming through. Lotsa fun.
Transportation & Traffic
Grass Valley is wedged in the intersection of State Routes 49 and 20. Public transportation is provided by the Gold Country Stage.
Entertainment & Recreation - Things to do
Empire Mine State Historic Park for a very interesting look into the Gold Rush of the west.
Yes, tourism is the number one industry here, and that sucks. Plenty of retail positions offering countless loads of the same bunches of polished rocks, wooden whistles and various other "old miner" themed collectibles. You don't have to go in.
Agriculture is still fairly prevalent, but has been declining over the years. Ranches with cows, sheep and stuff are around, as are tons of orchards and vegetables.
The last decade has seen Grass Valley and surrounding areas develop high quality vineyards.
The average elevation of 2,500 feet allows four a mild, four-season climate. The light snow that does fall rarely lasts too long, while the summers get to a dry 90-something. It's pretty easy to deal with.