Visiting Santa Barbara

The Real



Author, Robert A. Bellezza's California Gold Country Explorer

is his latest release documenting travel in the Golden State!

Highway 49 crossing the Tuolumne River from Calaveras County

Fall in the Yuba River Canyons

Half Dome at Yosemite Nal't Park

California Gold Country Destinations

Equipment Yard at the Empire Mine State Historic Park

Step back into history to the vibrant era of the 1849 Gold Rush where a single Eureka! event changed history forever in early January of 1848. John Sutter's Sawmill on the American River became California’s first gold discovery site. Turn back the clock and take the journey along circuitous Gold Country backroads visiting museum-quality mining towns from ‘California's Golden Triangle' via Sacramento, Lake Tahoe, and Yosemite National Park. Whether exploring the first gold strike on the American River South Fork, visiting the Golden Chain of mining towns' legendary gold mines, the pristine lakes, rivers, and streams on State Highway 49, follow the path of history extending 300 miles to the goldfields that the magnetic frantic lust for gold and quest for the precious mineral generated the single largest mass migration ever recorded. Today, California Gold Country offers legendary lodging, handcrafted goods, delicious farm-to-fork foods, craft beer, wine, and spirits, with an unlimited choice of vacation and recreational opportunities.

Once covered with tent camps, ghost towns, and gold mines spread over the Golden State, the Golden Chain region covers one-fifth of the Golden State's most scenic geography. Travelers explore highlights in 14 Gold Country Destination Tours and experience an insider’s view of foothills and mountain destinations. Readers become acquainted with details exploring James W. Marshall’s first gold strike on the American River South Fork, visiting antique mining towns, the lasting memories of Mark Twain’s wit, Lola Montez’s Spider Dance, and the countless efforts of 49er Argonauts making the path of history into the legendary centers of wealth. One enters a unique portal of Sierra Nevada Foothill towns complemented by 49er hospitality and a sense of deep commitment.

The California Gold Rush inspired a long list of impressive innovations and new technologies from the 19th Century, including massive mining equipment, long-line electrical transmission, water, and steam power generation, long-distance telephones, clothing styles, expansive agriculture; or by 1869, the crowning achievement of the transcontinental railroad. Goldseekers traveled from distant corners of the globe to make journeys overland on a horse, mule, oxen, or by foot following the rush for gold. Constant gold strikes reported nuggets …there for the taking. Hitting Gold Rush paydirt, California Gold Country Explorer describes hunting for antiques, as well as the art of gold panning along the river’s edge. Examples of the era’s personalities and humorous contemporaries from the Gilded Age add to the understanding of the Sierra settlements of the time. Many arriving on the 'Henness Pass' began in Marysville using the country's longest old covered wooden bridge, crossing the Yuba River South Fork at Bridgeport into Sierra County on a path traveled by horse and wagon, and the fastest way to the gold and silver mines of California and Nevada. The Golden State’s history reminds us how we stand miles above the hidden treasures of those precious minerals, just beneath our feet. However, the story is much larger than gold mines or a quest for Gold Rush nuggets but unfolds with individual pioneering accounts of determination, successes, and sorrows. A new generation of 49ers live in towns interconnected by the core American spirit of discovery and exploration. The Gold Rush defines the beginning of California’s serendipitous history from a ‘mythical’ time of the Gilded Age representing one of the most revolutionary times in modern America. The golden era is a time capsule of adventure and exploration over an immense region, a land from the Sierra to the Sea. I am hopeful this new travel edition will enable insight into a far better sense of the Golden State’s pivotal role in American history and an enjoyable trip into the countryside.

As a pocket-sized travel guide, California Gold Country Explorer and its original photography and commentary locate once-in-a-lifetime adventures gleaned from a 50-year career traveling to hundreds of California mining towns, landmarks, historical lodges, parks, saloons, gift shops, and events. Travel to the Sierra Scenic Byway, Donner Pass, and Narrow Gauge Railroads, with explorations of Lake Tahoe and Yosemite turning back the hands of time in a new memorable book available from Ingram Content Group. Purchase the book at:

During his lifetime, Robert A. Bellezza implemented California travel and tourism media distribution and created magazine content, graphic design, and marketing in flagship publications including the 1994-1999 Gold Country Guide, and California Tour & Travel Magazine, through 2009. He produced a winery video for Robert Mondavi after being introduced to him in 2007, tracing their family history in Lodi, California at Woodbridge Winery. The video is currently viewed at the winery tasting room and led to the implementation of Constellation Brands’ roll-out with the Woodbridge label in China. In 2012, researching the original Spanish missions of California with a serendipitous discovery of 150 rare lost photo negatives from the 1920s, he designed and published a five-book series, The California Mission Collection, as a part of Arcadia Publishing’s "Images of America Series". His present-day marketing enterprise, Tour & Travel Media, has expanded with the release of his first travel book in 2017, San Diego Untapped!, featuring interviews from the owners and brewers of the craft beer industry with many award-winning small brewing businesses. His seventh book in 2022, the California Gold Country Explorer portrays the 1849 Gold Rush, its towns and historical sites.


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