07/15/2014 03:13 am ET Updated Sep 13, 2014

Beating the Heat in the Gold Country

The Hotel Leger, a few hours out of the Bay Area, hasn't changed all that much from the gold rush. And local bands in the bars on weekend are probably a tradition as old as the hotel. I have to admit, for those of us who live any reasonable distance off of Main Street, after awhile you learn to either enjoy it, wander over for a glass of wine to check it out, or on "open mike" night, put Pandora on your TV at home and turn it up a bit.

It's okay. We support it around here. We love our old hotel.

But on Sundays during the summer, between 1 and 4, we throw our windows open. Or work in the garden. Or wander over to the hotel for a pulled pork sandwich.

Sunday afternoons are Blues and Barbecue at the hotel.

On a hot day, and we are moving into that zone these days, the garden of the hotel is full of trees and shade. There's a pool if you're up for it.

Barbecue is going in the back of the garden. The menu varies between tri tip, pulled pork, chicken skewers and hamburgers. The bar is open. It's laid back, perfect for a Sunday afternoon.

On one recent day the band was Crystal Image, a local band from Sutter Creek who have been around for awhile. The band leader, John Covert, used to be a band director, setting up back up bands for musicians touring the Bay Area, backing up Simon and Garfunkle, Tower of Power and others.

If they are around and not busy flipping burgers the owners will give a quick tour of the hotel. Of course if you know anything about the Leger you know that it is supposed to be haunted, and that old stone room downstairs was the old jail for the Gold Rush miners gone too wayward.

On breaks in the music, take a walk down Main Street, with its historic buildings, and read a few plaques on the walls about the history of our town. Downtown is only three blocks long. You can be back in your chair with a fresh glass of wine before the next set begins.

You'll come home refreshed, relaxed, and feeling like you've been a world away.

Mary Wald is the founder of, a web site for peace building and human rights. A year ago she made the jump to a town of 700 people in California's Gold County. Her occasional articles are cross-posted on