California Travel Tips

Nevada County, Calif. – Take the Long Way Home

Published on: February 19, 2013


Photos relating to Nevada County left to right: Supertramp album Breakfast in America; World Music Festival in Grass Valley; and Pioneer Monument (1918) at Donner Memorial State Park near Truckee.

The next time you hit the road in California, take the long way home, stopping in Nevada County to see Sierra mountains, Tahoe & Toiyabe National Forests,  Malakof Diggins Gold Rush history and listen to music among the pines. Famed  Supertramp singer, songwriter and musician, Roger Hodgson (62), did so long ago and now considers Nevada County a place to call home. The incredibly talented Brit is on a world tour performing in Germany, Australia and other parts of the globe so chances of running into him in the Grass Valley area are somewhat remote. But fans are known to travel long distances to hear him sing  “Take the Long Way Home” from the album, Breakfast in America:

“So, when the day comes to settle down,
Who’s to blame if you’re not around?
You took the long way home
You took the long way home…”

Hodgson’s song actually resonates with one of the largest footnotes in Nevada County history–the epic story of the Donner Party in which nearly half (39) of 87  travelers from Illinois perished in a long winter snow storm in the Sierra Nevada mountains near Truckee in 1846-1847. They thought they were taking a shortcut to beat winter’s arrival but tragically took the long way to their new home, instead. If you’re not familiar with the story of their struggles and hints of cannibalism to survive, make Donner Memorial State Park one of your stops on your Nevada County vacation.

Hodgson, a long-time vegetarian who loves the natural beauty of the Sierras, may be Portsmouth, England-born and bred, but his music crosses generational boundaries and appeals to fans everywhere. It’s hard for locals to say which came first–the chicken or the egg–and the musician or the music, but there’s no dispute that Nevada County with its meager population of around 100,000 celebrates in big ways. Whether you attend the California Worldfest along with thousands of other music lovers, Father’s Day Weekend Bluegrass Festival, or hear a concert in the oldest original-use theater in California built in 1865 in the picturesque gold mining town of Nevada City, the music will move you.  If anyone asks where you went  just say,  “you took the long way home…”

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