“Many residents like to put down Nevada City for being too liberal, scattered and out of touch with the rest of the county. They make fun of its culture.
“But is Nevada City better positioned to bounce out of the recession than Grass Valley and the rest of the county?
It continued: “In short, Nevada City seems to be adopting a more youthful, “out of the box,” forward-looking growth strategy compared with Grass Valley and the rest of the county. It’s embracing green, clean and the outdoors.
“If it succeds, perhaps the rest of the county – still stuck in the past in many ways – will follow suit. Wouldn’t that be ironic? The county’s smallest town mapping a path for the rest of the region.”
So it was with great pleasure that Nevada City got cited by name in a ranking of top 10 travel destinations for 2012 by Lonely Planet, as I reported on Thursday.
Ranked at #6, the “Gold Country” listing for Lonely Planet read:
“Tahoe and Yosemite gets all the mountain love in California, but an hour closer to San Francisco (and cheaper and less crowded) is Gold Country. Towns that ooze century-old ambience are strung out like throw-back pearls along Hwy 49, a fun drive that passes stops like Jamestown’s historic train, a tiny gold town called Volcano (with no volcano), wineries (some even consider the region a contender to Napa and Sonoma), caves, gold-panning spots and a good overnight choice: the artsy town of Nevada City. Winter is also a treat with snow parks for kids and Bear Valley for hard-core winter sports – plus there’s sledding options galore. That’s how the locals do it.”
“A beat-up old car, a few dollars in the pocket and a sense of adventure” is all the founders had who started Lonely Planet.
Now 30 years later it’s a globally loved brand, controlled by BBC Worldwide, a subsidiary of the British Broadcasting Corp, who bought out Tony and Maureen Wheeler, the co-founders, for tens of millions of dollars.
It has offices in Melbourne, London and Oakland with around 450 workers and more than 200 authors.
Lonely Planet has become a worldwide brand — just like Frommers Guides. It is used by hundreds of thousands of travelers for trade tips and advice. It has increased its market share to more than 20 percent.
The mention of Nevada City in the top 10 rankings — along with other destinations worldwide — is going to help fill up hotels, B&Bs and restaurants throughout our area.
To be sure, Nevada City has many challenges, as I’ve also written regularly, and the rest of our county has much to offer.
But the Lonely Planet ranking is a stark reminder that we all need to work together to embrace the diversity of our county, rather than make light of it. After all, that’s how Lonely Planet sees it — and so will its hundreds of thousands of readers.
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