Wednesday, June 26, 2013

A Visit to The Vineyard House, Coloma, California through Postcards

The Vineyard House. 

What memories this place evokes, and that is just my reminiscing. Chicken and dumplings served by a tiny elderly lady who might be a spirit; discovering beer so dark it tastes of molasses; a co-worker who caretook there keeping the PM shift (and some elderly patients) at the local convalescent hospital enthralled by tales of unhuman footfalls overhead, a cozy woodstove and a warm bread pudding; an entire side room filled to the brim with forever friends and a bursting dining table; an anniversary bed upstairs and not one ghost (darn!).
The old real photo postcard (RPPC) above reads at the bottom (written in ink)  "Native Sons Home, Coloma Cal." On the top floor it looks like all the shutters are closed.
This RPPC also reads Native Sons Home Coloma Cal. Most shutters open.  Watch out for those front stairs!
This great old RPPC has "Hotel Coloma   Former Home of Robert Chalmers" written in ink. Note the cot/lounge chair on the porch on the second floor, and the river rocks bordering the garden pathway. Some shutters open, some closed.
This postcard above, and the one below, were printed by Great Western Litho, Inc. Auburn, California. I can find no signature on either of them, but it might be worked into the design where I haven't noticed it. The information on the address side reads "Historic Vineyard House, Coloma, built in 1878 by wine producer Robert Chalmers.  President Grant made a speech from the balcony. Cocktails, food and gifts."
The Vineyard House as seen through the arch. "The old winery arch at historic Vineyard House, Coloma.  In 1872 40,000 gallons of wine and 12,000 gallons of brandy made here helped to cheer thirsty Virginia City miners.  Coloma then had a population of 10,000."
This is more what it looks like now (no shutters!), what can be glimpsed from the gate as you drive by. Although I am sad not to be able to belly up to the bar in the basement and order a martini, then climb the curving cave-like stairs to the rooms above as my stomach growls in anticipation, I also understand a family loving living here and enjoying their home and privacy.

This card reads "Historic Vineyard House, Cold Springs Road,, just off Hwy. 49, Coloma, California. Built in 1878 by Robert Chalmers as his private residence, house has 18 rooms, and a 25 X 60 Ft. ballrooms.  Restaurant, Country Inn, Gift Shop, Saloon and Museum open all year.  Color photo by Bernie Long." Written in ink "A great place to eat."
What a great place it would be to live, and host a holiday gathering in!

Unless you aren't too fond of ghosts... but that is a story for another day.


lorlore said...

Oh, loved it their, a special place for a special dinner!!! My favorite was the Beef stroganoff!!!

Heidi Ann said...

I SO wish that it still housed the wonderful restaurant and bar. It was one of my favorite places to dine back in the 70's, and I miss it. Nothing lasts forever, but the great memories surely makes me wish that wasn't true. Such a nice post, Tina - and I thank you for it.

Mary Ellen said...

I had many chicken and dumpling dinners there in the 1970s. I wasn't old enough to drink but my father loved to stay in the cool basement bar on the hot summer days.Sure miss the place. Loved staying in the guest rooms after floating in the river and panning for gold all day long. Coloma was a very special place before the rafting companies came along. I still stop by during the winter. I love the peaceful beauty. The Vineyard House was also so beautiful at Christmas. They decorated it with Victorian Christmas decorations.

Anonymous said...

Thank you for the postcard photos of the Vineyard House. As a teenager in the 1970s I spent many summer days floating down the river and panning for gold in Coloma. My father and I often stayed at the Vineyard House. The guest rooms were beautiful Victorian rooms and the chicken and dumplings were the best! The basement bar sure felt good after spending all day in the hot sun on the river. Before the rafting companies arrived Coloma was such a nice spot to spend lazy summer days.
In the 1980's the place would be decorated to the hilt with Victorian Christmas decorations.
The Vineyard House and the time spent in Coloma exploring California history with my father are memories I am so thankful for!

Anonymous said...

Hello Tina. I have 3 painted tiles from Ethel Phegley

Tina Dawn said...

Hi anonymous from 1/10/14. I tried to email you but I think it went into the cosmos. If you go to the right at our blog and go down in between our photos to contributors, you can click on Tina Dawn and it will go to a page where it says you can email me. I would love to hear about your tiles! Tina

Vern Reo said...

Nice post! I stayed there for a 4th of July weekend with my mother back in 1970. The Rimple's owned the place then. I remember their son Greg who was a couple of years older than me, and he had a Honda 70 mini-bike which he let me ride through the Pioneer Cemetery. We were the only guests to stay overnight, though there were a number of patrons earlier for dinner and drinks down in the Jail Bar. That night affected my life forever - my mother's too. I was 11 then, and experienced the most terrifying night of my life, ever before or since. The house woke up after all the guests left, and didn't settle down until well after sun-up. And their dogs! They howled all night long out back. Needless to say, we didn't stay another night, but those memories will stay with me forever.

Donna Miller said...

The Vineyard House was my go-to restaurant for my birthday back in the late 60's. I loved the chicken and dumplings! Wasn't old enough to drink but enjoyed the ambiance of the entire place. One evening we were seated right by a screen door that opened then closed while we were dining and it was not a windy evening. We just laughed and figured 'someone' had decided to come inside! So sorry it is not still open.

Anonymous said...

My mother and I cleaned the place. She was downstairs still vacuuming & I'd went upstairs to start in the bathroom. I heard voices and footsteps up the stairway and called out to my mom several times. I finally stopped and looked towards the door. There was a beautiful piece of furniture across the doorway in the hall. It was a bench, mirror and coat rack combo. ( I would call it a seated hall tree) I saw someone walk passed the door. What I mean to say is I saw a reflection in the mirror. It took my brain a sec to process what I'd seen. I only saw a reflection in the mirror but there was no body to make a reflection. I stepped into the hallway, hair standing on end and called to my mom. I could hear the vacuum downstairs so I checked every door and just like we were told by the elderly woman, ( a character that cooked bread pudding and fed all the cats out the back door every day), all the guests were gone and all the rooms locked.

Anonymous said...

That Character was EVA. She was the mother of the owner at the time. She was from Italy and her son was a first generation American. I was a cook there for 2 years. MANY odd occurrences when I worked there. If you do not believe in ghosts or spirits, spent one night there.

Anonymous said...

That is nice to read. My mom probably remembered her name. I was speaking of her even a few days ago. I think she made the place and the kitchen crew. I couldn't wait to get there and tell her good morning. It felt like coming home to see family each time we were there. I may have met you. I'd love to see pics if you have any. I wish I had eaten there or had a drink there. I still have a round brass box that my mom bought for me from the gift shop. There was a tiny bear inside dressed in a wedding gown as I was soon to be married. I wish I had taken pictures of the beautiful rooms with all its furniture. I still remember the music of a faint piano playing. Each time I visit Cali. I drive by missing Eva, the cats, coffee and smiles together. Thank you for sharing. Colleen

Anonymous said...

PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE!!!!!!!!! NEED the chicken and dumpling recipe!! We went on a field trip as a child in the 80's and the chicken and dumpling meal I had at that time was by far one of the absolute memorable experiences I had ever had. I have been SEARCHING far and wide, even by my own hand AND HAVE NEVER EVEN COME CLOSE!! Anonymous from June 5, 2016, a cook there, HELP!!