A Short Visit to Dunsmuir, California

Train Crossing DunsmuirOn our way home to Sacramento from Mt. Shasta yesterday, we stopped by the ambrosial town of Dunsmuir, California. The front desk clerk at the Mt. Shasta Resort told us she lives there and was a bit hesitant in trying to recommend the town to us when we asked about it. I think she didn’t want to appear as though she was boasting in case we didn’t like the town and would somehow hold her responsible for her personal recommendation.

She was really nice to us. One thing I noticed about the people we encountered in Siskiyou County is they are incredibly polite and nice, well, except for the housekeeping police at Mt. Shasta Resort. Here is an example of the niceness in people: the clerk at the Sacred Mountain Spa had a difficult time figuring out a 20% tip for us. I tried to offer a bit of assistance by suggesting that it’s easy to just double 10%, you know, move the decimal point and then double it. She countered by sharing with us that she always leaves $10 and thereby most likely overtips but she doesn’t mind being generous; she doesn’t have to think about tipping or math, and it seems simpler to her. I can see where that approach would work in Dunsmuir, not so much at Ella in Sacramento.

If you like trains, you’ll like Dunsmuir and maybe the Dunsmuir Railroad Depot, the woman at Mt. Shasta Resort finally threw out there. There is a historical area on Sacramento Avenue that runs along the train tracks, but if you read a real estate ad for a home for sale on Sacramento Avenue, it will describe that location as being across from the river, which it also is, but it neglects to mention that between your new home and the gorgeous river lies the rail yard. Of course, I had to stop by a few closed real estate offices to peruse the homes for sale in the windows to see if my estimate of value for those homes was on the mark. I had guessed $150K and sure enough, a few along Sacramento Avenue were for sale at $159,000. See, you can take the real estate agent out of Sacramento, but you can’t take the real estate out of the agent.

Much of the downtown area appears built on a hill. The homes on one side of Dunsmuir Avenue are elevated from the street and the homes on the other side are situated lower than the street, so low that you have to take stairs to get to them, which I imagine means they might fight water retention during a hard rainstorm.

Elizabeth Phone Booth DunsmuirMuch smoke in the area from lightning fires prevented us from completely enjoying the tremendous mountain views as the haze was a bit intense. But the weather was warm and the streets quiet. My husband had to stop to take a photo of the assumed food battles between the Pizza Factory and the Burger Barn. We both loved the throwback to our childhoods: the obscure Pacific Bell telephone booth situated on the main drag, Dunsmuir Avenue.

The phone had a dial tone, too, in case you’re wondering. It was a free phone sponsored by some of the businesses in town. Directions on the wall provided the extensions that would be important to people in town to reach such as Social Security, coupled with an extension to obtain a credit card. Any person wandering down the street who had a sudden urge to get a VISA card could pick up the phone to apply. I noticed, though, it was missing an extension for pizza delivery from the Pizza Factory.

Signs about town warned of the dangers of squeezing fish. Like me, you might ask, why would anybody squeeze a fish? Toilet paper, yes, fish, no. But that’s not such a dumb question if you’re participating in the catch and release program, and I’m not talking about jail time. Other signs pointed to fines of $25 to $200 for not picking up dog poop. There will be no dogs running loose in Dunsmuir, and you can’t bring your dog into every restaurant either. Civilized people live in Dunsmuir, I’ll have you know.

We can recommend the Dunsmuir Brewery Works for lunch, in case you’re ever driving by this part of the world and yearning for craft beer, juicy brats with the yummiest mustard seed varieties in a side of potato salad or maybe a mixed garden salad with heirloom tomatoes from next door, topped by adobo chicken. The flies are a bit crazy out on the patio, but large umbrellas keep the beating sun off your head and really, what else could you want?

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