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Best bites include a 5-star gingersnap cookie in Quincy California

American Valley Baking in Quincy California hands down!

Gingersnap cookie at American Valley Baking in Quicny California Credit Barbara L Steinberg 2014tmThree different kinds of ginger are the secret according to the baker, Dale, who grew-up in the family business. The spiciness of cinnamon, cloves, and molasses shine through in this divine treat. Nice chewiness and bit of a snap -- my dream cookie. American Valley Baking makes a variety of desserts and breads, but I went right for the gingersnap.

That's all you need to know. American Valley Baking is very small and local. No Facebook. No website. The focus is on the baking. Thank you for that!

This cookie is worth a road trip to Plumas County which includes other incredible offerings in the great outdoors along lakes, rivers, valleys and under blue skies.

Address: 267 Main St, Quincy, California 95971
Phone:(530) 283-9234

California vacation cottages at Ada's Place are delightful

Adas Place West Wing Cottage porch Quincy California Credit Barbara L. Steinberg 2014tmLiving small never felt so delicious. At Ada's Place, small cottages are spacious and inviting. Lush gardens, porches and decks sooth your spirit. You'll be saying, "I could live here!"

A peaceful drive along two-lane scenic roads through Plumas County brings you to this rainbow's end. The cottages are darling. Yes, I would live here! Four cottages - each with its own personality. Wonderfully appointed with all the comforts of a home I would own. Quiet and cozy. The gardens are stunning; a perfect recipe to relax and renew. There are books to read -- if you forgot your own. TV -- who cares. Free WiFi if you feel you must. Walk to dining and shopping in Quincy. Plus museums and other "downtown" attractions. Plus an easy drive to all the beautiful outdoor spaces and places of Plumas County...also known as The Lost Sierra. This northeast corner of California is another of those "best kept secrets". Unless you're a golfer! Plumas County is well-known for it's world-class fairways and greens.

Adas Place West Wing Cottage porch Quincy California Credit Barbara L. Steinberg 2014tmEach cottage has its own kitchen, too. Nearby, Quincy Natural Foods provides all the essentials but there are plenty of local dining options if you're escaping from cooking -- Moon's and Sweet Lorriane's in downtown Quincy are both high on my list. Plumas County -- is an outdoor recreation wonderland. Quincy and Ada's Place are ideal for exploring all the mountain scenery and small town charms of the region.

Get there soon! And come back often.

Conserving the Sierra Nevada One Relationship at a Time

Reszie imageCalifornia’s natural landmarks are many. A coastline like no other – 1,200 miles long from San Diego’s welcoming surf to the rugged cold of northern California; sweltering deserts and fertile valleys of inspiring beauty and extremes; and every possible biome from wetlands to grasslands and rolling fields of wildflowers.

World-famous attractions, they share a symbiotic relationship with one of California’s most majestic and natural markers, the Sierra Nevada mountain range. The backbone and spine of California, the Sierra Nevada provides 60-65 percent of California’s water and comprises nearly 25 percent of the State’s land area, or 25 million acres. The Sierra is an economic engine for communities throughout California providing millions of visitors with recreational opportunities from skiing and hiking to wildlife, nature, and cultural heritage tourism to boating, fishing, hunting, camping and more.

The Sierra Nevada includes 212 communities with more than 600,000 residents. It sustains a growing tourism and recreation industry involving more than 50 million recreation visit days a year, and provides up to 50 percent of California's annual timber yield.

CADFWThe region is home to 60 percent of California’s animals (vertebrates) – about 572 distinct species. More than one-third of these animal species are listed by the California Department of Fish and Wildlife (DFW) as rare, threatened, or endangered species that are declining in California.

Preservation and conservation of the Sierra Nevada’s natural resources is critical to California’s quality of life and environmental health. Wisely, State legislators came to understand that safeguarding the Sierra Nevada and its connection to California’s lifeblood cannot be underestimated or taken for granted.

In an effort to support the health and assets of one of the most significant natural and biologically diverse regions in the world, the Sierra Nevada Conservancy (SNC) was created. It was signed into law in 2004 by bi-partisan legislation with the understanding that the environmental, economic and social well-being of the Sierra Nevada and its communities are intimately linked and that the region and State of California would benefit. All or part of 22 counties make-up the six Sierra Nevada Conservancy regions – from Modoc County to the far north to Inyo County in the south and Gold Country and Central Valley territories in the heart of California.

The Conservancy’s symbiotic relationships stretch beyond their namesake mountain range. Bob Kingman, Mt. Lassen Area Manager, has bridged many of these relationships including with the DFW. “We are sister agencies under the Natural Resources Agency umbrella,” according to Bob, “From the outsider’s perspective it may seem like an unlikely partnership.” SNC works with local nonprofit partners to expand and promote the DFW’s mission of habitat and wildlife conservation.

Sometimes among agencies it takes an extra effort to create a win-win situation whe WW Road Sign Brownn the mission can be all-consuming. “Our plate is so full but we are always looking at new opportunities…there are great things that can happen when we work together. The California Watchable Wildlife (CAWW) photo contest is just one of those opportunities. We view this as a great opportunity to build more collaborative and leveraged relationships with overlapping missions.” The partnership with California Watchable Wildlife furthers the missions of both SNC and DFW.

In 2013 SNC added their sponsorship to the California Wildlife Photo of the Year Contest, launched by California Watchable Wildlife and Outdoor California in 2011.  

The bi-monthly contest attracts professional and amateur photographers from around the state. Hundreds of images of mammals, reptiles, insects and aquatic species in their native habit have been submitted, providing a much needed image library for all three sponsoring organizations. Winning photos are featured in Outdoor California, the DFW’s bi-monthly magazine.

The contest is another opportunity to increase awareness of the diversity of species in the Sierra Nevada, which provides resources not only for local fauna but that support the rest of the state’s wildlife. For example, water that supports critical Delta habitats starts as water in the upper watersheds.

The resources of SNC are addressing a much broader spectrum of seven legislatively mandated Program Areas: tourism and recreation, working landscapes, reducing risks of natural hazards such as wildfire, air and water quality, supporting local economies, and preserving the physical, cultural, archaeological, historical and living resources of the region– things they do to support the sweet spot of DFW is just one part of the relationship. Without the complete health of the communities and relationships – it all suffers.  It’s all interconnected and advancing the well-being of all is critical.

Ash Creek Wildlife Management Credit Todd SloatThat interconnectivity includes SNC’s support of other DFW projects including restoration of Ash Creek Wildlife Management Area – an official California Watchable Wildlife viewing site. Phase 1 of the project restored 1,232 acres of floodplain wetlands. Project planners anticipate that Phase 2 and 3 will restore an additional 1,200 acres of important wetland habitat.  “This was too big for any single partner,” said Project Manager Todd Sloat with Pit Resource Conservation District (PRDC). “We advocated to DFW to add partners to tackle this project.  SNC initially invested in the design phase, then later contributed a large portion of funds to  implement the plan.” 

“Furthermore,” Todd said, “SNC’s grant programs are unique in their focus on great stream and meadow projects. These are special to Resource Conservation Districts. SNC is often the primary funding source and those funds improve not only the environment, but also the local economy and quality of life.”

Most recently, the SNC has been heavily investing in addressing the declining health of the region’s forests, which are critical to the continued natural production of clean water for the state, and also provides millions of acres of wildlife habitat.

The legislation that created the conservancy mandated it to preserve biological resources of the region. Hunting and fishing, outdoor recreation and wildlife are a huge economic segment of the region’s economy. California is the epitome of a west that is rich in fauna and flora. Part of SNC’s mission is to insure that it remains that way for the present and future.  More about the SNC can be learned by visiting their website at

Originally published in California Department of Fish & Wildlife Outdoor California magazine.

How do I spell loyalty? Subaru!

Did You Know That Subaru Spelled Backwords is U-R-A-Bus? by Barbara L. Steinberg

But that's another story.

I am fiercely loyal! That's L-O-Y-A-L! Not just in the usual sense. Of course, loyal to family, friends, and community. Loyal to my acupuncturist, barber, lawn service, manicurist, masseuse, physician and more. Loyal to my pets. My neighbors. My neighborhood.

Also incredibly loyal to inanimate objects that have served me well. An old BMW Bavaria (circa 1972) that was a rock on the road. My first ten-speed bike -- a gift at 16 and mine for more than 30 years until I donated  it to a local fundraiser. My Hamilton Beach mixer (circa 1938) which belonged to my neighbor and was gifted to me after she died at the fabulous age of 94. My Maytag washer/dryter, a gift from my father in 1991. Similarly, my father's old bohemoth Sony a gift from his children on his 70th birthday. Twenty-three years later, it still worked. Nothing sleek and cool; a real dinosaur. I was sad when it had to be e-wasted.

Subaru at Owens Gorge in Good Company  Credit Barbara SteinbergNothing harder than the day I sold my 1994 Subaru Legacy -- yes, U-R-A-Bus and still wondering what that means. I bought her used in 1998 with a scant 74,000+ miles. Her original owners cared for her on those miles back and forth from California to Sun Valley, Idaho. She was barely broken in when they traded her in for something shinier and new. Thankfully, she came home to me!

U-R-A-Bus and I shared more than 170,000 glorious miles of open roads -- urban, rural, back, mountain, ocean view, creekside, and more. She was a  good friend and served me well. Loyal to a fault! She never let me down. The few times she broke down we were never more than a few miles from home and once, actually, in the driveway. A road queen in my world.

SubarusLittle mechanical issues were happening more and more. She needed to be in better hands in her senior years and I made the painful decision to sell. I felt incredibly disloyal and, yes, I was sad when that say came.

Still loyal to my Subaru roots, I have a newer and shinier "Bus" in the form of a 2003 Subaru Outback. Just over 94,000 miles when she pulled into my driveway; we've already enjoyed nearly 10,000 road miles.  Wow, a car built In the current century and endless adventures ahead.

The good news! My Subaru Legacy is still in the family -- so visitation and the occasional road trip are still an option. The loyalty continues as she heads towards the next milestone of 250,000. I know she'll get there!

If my Subaru can't get me there, 
that's a good reason not to go! Subaru logo