Historic Haunted Express: Gold Country Fun

There's still time to find Halloween-y spirit at the Jamestown railroad.

SAUNTER BY ANY BOOKSTORE... in Gold Country and there, beyond the tomes detailing the history of Sutter's Mill and how the shiny stuff transformed a region in mere months, you'll see them: the ghost stories. Not just stories, mind you, but hefty pamphlets and missives devoted to the mysterious side of the Sierra foothills. Think sightings of hotel guests who never checked out, and lonesome spirits who drift along the riverbanks by night, and the phantom hooves, heard in the distance, that never arrive. It is an area dipped in atmosphere, like an old-timey candle was fully dipped, then covered, in wax. To spend a few pre-Halloween hours there, really anywhere, is a treat, and to do so on a rail line that's rife with history is a treat times two. We do speak of that gem of Jamestown, Railtown 1897 State Historic Park, which has a few "scary" trains ahead of Oct. 31 ("scary" is in quotes, of course, because they're more merry than macabre). Want to climb aboard? Best get there on...

OCT 22, 23, 29, or 30... for a toodle on a themed train ride into the wilds of Gold Country. Some seasonal details are in store, plus? The autumnal feeling in the air, the kind of it's-getting-crisper vibe, cannot be overstated. If you do love the wildflower trains of spring, and the special summertime rides, but haven't tried a fall outing, one that has a hint of Halloween to it, best saddle up your phantom horse, or ghostly carriage, and clip-clop for one of the state's stateliest trains. A train that just might whisk you away to the 1800s, at least if your imagination plays along (which it always should, just as a positive-approach-to-life rule).

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