Magazine article Sunset

Grass Valley

Magazine article Sunset

Grass Valley

Article excerpt

A CORNISH CHRISTMAS

Four nights a year, downtown Grass Valley closes off the main streets to celebrate a Cornish Christmas. Vendors line the nighttime streets, and shops stay open late. The savory smell of warm Cornish pasties (meat-filled pastries) mixes with the tang of hot cider. And the voices of a Cornish choir peal like bells in the cold night air.

Grass Valley lacks the dainty beauty of neighboring Nevada City. It does have a rich store of Victorian homes, but they're generally smaller and less elegant than ones to the north; its chain restaurants and fast-food outlets don't evoke nostalgia. The town more than makes up for its contemporary "shortcomings" in its rich heritage, however.

While the mine managers built their homes on Nevada City's hills, many blue-collar miners made Grass Valley home. Originally from Cornwall, where they had learned hard-rock mining while digging for tin, they were given the nickname "Cousin Jack. …

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