In this issue of Inns Around El Dorado County, we head to Placerville to learn more about the Fleming Jones Homestead Bed & Breakfast Inn, owned and run by Robin and Mark Miller. We spoke to Robin about her interesting historic property.
Tell us a bit about the Fleming Jones Homestead Bed &Breakfast Inn
It’s a historic home near downtown Placerville, on a property originally occupied by the Jones family during the gold rush and later homesteaded by Fleming Jones. The B&B was built in 1883 from locally sourced cedar and came to be when Fleming’s granddaughter, Faye Jones Rupley Gunby Cannon, sold it to Jan Condit (the previous owner) who originally opened the B&B in 1980. Mark and I bought the place in 1999 and reopened the B&B in 2001 and added solar in 2006 which provides 55% of our electrical needs.
The property is on 11 acres, with a victory garden that generates an abundance of produce for our breakfast table, a handful of miniature horses along with two geriatric donkeys that were born here and are enjoying their fourth decade on the farm. The B&B has five bedrooms with their own bathrooms and can accommodate up to 12 people. We are family and dog friendly as well. Guests tell us it’s comfortable, inviting, peaceful, quiet, tranquil and relaxing here.
What made you decide to open a Bed and Breakfast in Placerville?
We have always loved to stay at B&Bs. We’ve traveled internationally a lot, and would stay at them when we traveled. We began thinking about our next step after 20 years in the corporate world. We had a buyer for our house, so we looked around and fell in love with El Dorado County, which was one of three areas we were looking at. The property has a lot of character and land for the miniature horses we were already raising. The fact the homestead was previously a bed and breakfast was the icing on the cake!
The aspect that really hooked us on opening a Bed and Breakfast is that people come as guests and so often leave as friends. Really running a B&B it’s all about the people. And the people who come love the individualized experience. We love people – that’s why we’re doing what we do.
What does a perfect weekend in Placerville/El Dorado County look like?
That is a difficult question! There is a lot to do here. We’re fairly centrally located, with good access to a wide variety of activities and dining. A high percentage of our guests think that a perfect weekend starts after breakfast with a hike along the El Dorado Trail that has a trail head two miles from us and it goes down to Placerville and up to Camino Heights in Apple Hill.
Others prefer to head directly up to Apple Hill or go art and antiquing downtown. Some come literally just to go to Placerville Hardware! Anytime is a great time to cruise around the Carson Road and Pleasant Valley wineries or to meander down to the Fair Play wine region.
History buffs head to Gold Bug Park, which is only 9 minutes away or the Marshall Gold/Coloma area, steeped in gold mining history and rafting, which is 20 minutes away.
After a day of fun, folks usually come back to unwind and then head off to a fabulous dinner in town. Foodies will appreciate that the Smith Flat House Restaurant is only two miles away, and downtown Placerville, which has a lot of activities, shopping and more dining experiences than we had in San Jose, is about 5 minutes from us.
And of course many prefer to do nothing and relax at the Inn with a good book, that’s always an option!
Tell us a little bit about your signature dish.
It is hard to choose one dish as I so love to cook and bake. But with Independence Day on my mind and the efforts of my revolutionary war patriots, my great-grandmother’s biscuit recipe rises to the top. This recipe comes from the 1860’s civil war period when certain ingredients were hard to come by and today make a great full flavor biscuit lower in calories than most biscuit recipes.
Mary Lee Macomber Biscuits
2 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
½ teaspoon salt
3 Tablespoons butter
Blend dry ingredients, then cut in butter. Next add ¾ cup milk plus 1 tablespoon and blend lightly. The dough should be neither dry nor goopy (add more milk if needed), but holds together nicely. Turn out onto lightly floured surface and pat into a ¾ to 1 inch thick round. Using floured 1-2” diameter juice glass or larger biscuit cutter, cut biscuits and cook on parchment or silpat lined baking sheet bake at 425oF for about 15 minutes. Serve hot from the oven (or reuse later for strawberries shortcake!). As Mary Lee would say, “Get your right hot bickies now!”
Learn more about Fleming Jones Homestead B&B. And if you stop by, be sure to tell Robin hi from all of us at Visit El Dorado!