We Visited Jackson, California and Bought a Giraffe. Help!

Peggy fell in love with this balsa wood giraffe we found in Jackson, California. So the giraffe came home with us. Little did we think it would have a taste for petunias.

Peggy fell in love with this balsa wood giraffe we found in Jackson, California. So the giraffe came home with us. Little did we think it would have a taste for petunias.

And here I thought our deer herd with its greedy appetite was bad. At least they couldn’t reach our hanging plants. It may be our imagination, but it seems that the wooden giraffe we bought in Jackson, California is poaching on Peggy’s petunias! We pretended to drive up the road and then I snuck back with the camera to see what the long-necked marauder was up to.

Aha! He was eating Peggy's petunias.

Aha! He was eating Peggy’s hanging petunias that the deer couldn’t reach.

Aha! He was eating petunias.

I caught the culprit purple lipped.

And apparently he was helping himself to all of our other hanging plants.

And apparently he was helping himself to all of our other hanging plants.

He was as much a glutton as the deer were.

He was as much a glutton as the deer were.

There was no stopping him!

There was no stopping him!

I confronted the giraffe with the photos. “I was not eating Peggy’s potted posies,” the giraffe replied indignantly. “I was sniffing them.” Yeah, right.

Jackson, California is an old gold rush town located on Historic Route 49 in the California foothills of the Sierra Nevada Mountains. It’s about 30 miles away from where I was raised in another old gold rush town, Diamond Springs. Highway 49, with its logging trucks and cattle drives, fronted our property. Jackson was a long ways off. I’ve driven back and forth across the country a lot more times that our family visited Jackson when I was growing up— seriously.

We also found other wonderful creatures in Jackson on our March visit including a frog, a Hindu monkey king, a topless hula dancer, and a wildebeest. Fortunately we didn’t bring any of them home even though I lobbied for the hula dancer.

I like frogs. And let me assure you, they can get their mouths open this wide when going after tasty morsels such as flies.

We found this marvelous frog at the same shop we found the giraffe, Richard and Sherry’s Collectables.   Were you ever told by your mother, “close your mouth or you’ll catch a fly.” Now you know where that come from.

I was also impressed with this monkey king with his pet snake.

I was also impressed with this Monkey King with his pet snake. I assume he is Hanuman from the Ramayana.

I remembered this, um, hula princess and her surf board from another visit to Jackson. She hangs out, so to speak, on main street and is kind of hard to forget.

I remembered this, um, hula princess and her surf board from another visit to Jackson. She hangs out, so to speak, on main street and is kind of hard to forget.

Wilbur the Wildebeest lives in the Book Store.

Wilbur the Wildebeest lives in a book store.

Apparently he has lived there a while.

Apparently he has lived there a while.

Wilbur the Wildebeest lived in the Hein and Company Bookstore along with a cat, strange masks, columns of books, and a number of other unusual items. It may be the most interesting used bookstore I’ve ever been in. Be sure to put it on your itinerary if you visit Jackson.

In addition to Wilbur, the Hein and Co Bookstore in Jackson is packed full of used books and

In addition to Wilbur, the Hein and Co Bookstore in Jackson is packed full of used books and numerous unusual/interesting items. Or do I mean weird?

Such as this. Need a gage for anything?

Such as this en-gage-ing collection

Who knows what you might find around the next corner?

Who knows what you might find around the next corner?

Certainly made me want to go upstairs and check out books...

Certainly made me want to go upstairs and check out books…

Where we found a virtual maze of book shelves and long corridors with mysterious doors and signs.

Where we found a virtual maze of book shelves and long corridors with mysterious doors and signs. I couldn’t resist walking down to the door to read the sign.

And found the end. Wouldn't you be slightly tempted to open the door and meet kitty?

And found the end. Wouldn’t you be slightly tempted to open the door and meet kitty?

Kitty?

Kitty?

No, this was kitty. Most good bookstores have one.

No, this was kitty. Many good bookstores have one.

Our visit to the town also included a walk up and down the main street and dinner at the National Hotel, which also dates back to gold rush times. Ladies of the evening made liberal use of the hotel in its early days. They say you can still hear their ghosts giggling at night. Black Bart, the infamous gentleman bandit who robbed stages on foot (he hated horses) and occasionally left behind a poem, reputedly stayed here. As did Mark Twain, Chester Garfield, Herbert Hoover, and John Wayne. Wayne lost $43,000 in a 1933 game of poker at the hotel. His check bounced and the local sheriff hunted him down and made him pay in cash.

A look up main street, jackson.

A look up main street, Jackson.

The community has done a great job of renovating and maintaining its historic buildings.

The community has done a great job of renovating and maintaining its historic buildings.

The National Hotel that has entertained every one from US Presidents, to outlaws, to movie stars— and possibly ghosts.

The National Hotel that has entertained every one from US Presidents, to outlaws, to movie stars— and possibly ghosts.

We finished off our visit to the Jackson area by checking out several local wineries. I was looking for wine to feature at my book-signing event in Sacramento. By the end of the day, they all tasted pretty good. And no, I wasn’t driving.

Grapevines. Amador County has become an important wine producing area.

Grapevines. Amador County has become an important wine-producing area.

We visited several wineries looking for wine to use at my book-signing in Sacramento.

We visited several wineries looking for wine to use at my book-signing in Sacramento.

I thought my fellow bloggers who are into farming would appreciate this sign.

I thought my fellow bloggers who are into farming would appreciate this sign.

I'll conclude with a final photo of the giraffe munching flowers. Guilty.

I’ll conclude with a final photo of the giraffe munching flowers. Guilty.

30 comments on “We Visited Jackson, California and Bought a Giraffe. Help!

  1. That bookstore kitty has my Dixie Rose’s nose. She’s a beauty. I’d like Jackson. It looks a little quieter, a little less kitschy than the last Oregon town you showed. (Bad me — I’ve forgotten the name. Sea Something?) As for the giraffe, who wouldn’t fall in love with that one? The frog is a close second, though. In every case, the creativity is wonderful.

    • Tough name to remember on the Oregon town Linda. It’s Seaside. 🙂 As for the kitty, I love it when bookstores have a cat. I’ve been in several. One bookstore cat here in Medford had the name Churchill and resembles his namesake a bit. The giraffe captured us immediately. The frog would like it at our house as well but our van only had so much room. –Curt

  2. Welcome to the new family member. Does the giraffe have a name? There’s always a risk of someone new to the family changing the dynamics. In this case, that risk is probably lower than had the dancer been the one in the back seat on the trip home. Petunias wouldn’t be the problem.

    • Peggy tells me the giraffe is waiting for the grandkids to visit this summer to earn its name. I should have thought to ask for suggestions on the post. What would you name the giraffe? As for the hula princess, I am fortunate that my wife has a great sense of humor. It takes one to be married to me. 🙂 –Curt

  3. I love the giraffe! Those are the types of souvenirs my hubs and I talk about wanting to buy whenever we travel, but we never do, citing their size impractical. And then we get home and wish we had. I’m still kicking myself for not getting a big totem pole in Alaska.

    Jackson looks like a great place. Thanks for taking us through it!

    • The giraffe came home only because we were driving and relatively close to home, Carrie. 🙂 Even with that, he took up a fair amount of room. Glad you enjoyed the visit to Jackson. Highway 49 has a number of interesting and fun communities to explore. –Curt

    • Peggy and I collect bookstores, Hillary. Or I should say, we never pass one up. Hein and Company has to be one of the most interesting. And Giraffe, he has more or less taken over our sunroom. —Curt

  4. LOVE it! Must visit this wonderful place one day… Perhaps I’ll drag my family when I visit them in San Fran. 🙂 And LOVE those books, sculptures…and GIRAFFE!

  5. I love the giraffe! Especially the way you’ve positioned him at home. My dog sniffs flowers like that — then wants to pee on them.
    Love the bookstore, too. I’d go to Jackson just to shop there!

  6. Hilarious write up, Curt! Perhaps someone may have mentioned that art piece that resembles African art may have a place in your book, “The Bush Devil Ate Sam…”

    And how could you have been so interested in that half-naked hula girl when you’ve got Peggy! But the giraffe……………………… Hmmm…..

  7. I absolutely love the giraffe, and most interior designers would tell you that every room needs a bit of whimsy. (Perhaps not tall whimsy, but something to talk about nonetheless.) In fact, I like the giraffe a whole lot better than the hula girl that you might have been tempted to bring home. My husband would!!

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