Upon entering the lobby of the Cary House Hotel, I asked the desk clerk about its haunted reputation. Since working at the four-story red brick building, which dates to 1857, she said she hadn't seen any otherworldly apparitions. But she'd heard plenty of ghostly accounts.
Purportedly, most occur in specific rooms on the second floor of this hotel, located on Main Street in Placerville in El Dorado County. I can't confirm or deny this—these rooms were booked during our stay, and we didn't encounter anything ethereal. But a chill did come over me while walking through the halls of the second floor on the way to the balcony.
Several notable guests have stayed here including William “Buffalo Bill” Cody, Mark Twain, Levi Strauss, Ulysses S. Grant, Bette Davis and Elvis Presley.
|The Cary House Hotel. Photo by Stephanie Wright Hession|
A series of stained glass panels depicting mining, rural and wildlife scenes, antique furnishings, rich wood walls and a grand staircase give the lobby its Victorian elegance.
We pulled back the metal gate of the tiny, vintage elevator and arrived at our king-size room on the fourth floor. Yellow walls, an ivory chenille bedspread and twin windows covered with white curtains and lace sheers gave it an airy feel. An ornate wooden dresser and mirror, a floral painted lamp and other antique pieces added to its charm. An alcove made an inviting reading space with its pair of wing back chairs.
A door near the breakfast room leads outside to a courtyard, where hotel guests and customers of neighboring shops relaxed at tables and chairs, shaded by green market umbrellas and back dropped by an ivy-covered wall and the sound of a tiered fountain. Back at the hotel, guests can spy downtown Placerville from the second-floor balcony.
|The adjacent courtyard. Photo by Stephanie Wright Hession|
Step out of the lobby and you're on Main Street, with an assortment of cafes, restaurants, wine tasting rooms, galleries and shops.
For dinner, the selection includes Z Pie's gourmet pot pies and the Heyday Cafe's pizza, panini and entrees such as chicken Milanese and filet mignon.
Cary House Hotel, 300 Main St., Placerville. (530) 622-4271. www.caryhouse.com. 40 rooms and suites, all non-smoking, 2 wheelchair accessible. Rates: $102-$199. Children welcome. Dogs welcome in specific rooms.