The Back Road to Casey’s Place

It was May Day, the day before I left for Abbey Country, and from there back to Nevada City. I won’t return to the farm for a month. So much to do, of course, but a perfect day to do none of it. A perfect Back Yard Day, as we call it. We were not born farmers; it does not come naturally for us. We are adventurers, travelers, passionate lovers of roads rarely traveled. Since Lightcap Farm is an alpine farm, it is too soon to do much anyway. It hasn’t snowed on the blooming dogwoods up our way yet. We decided to take Foote’s Crossing to Casey’s Place in Alleghany, a restaurant and bar we’ve visited several years running.

Casey’s Place endured a hard winter in 10-11. Several feet of snow damaged the roof and foundation. We’d recently heard from a waitress at Peterson’s Corner that Caree was opening the place up again–so we and Elvis the dog hopped in the truck to go investigate.

Headed down Foote’s Crossing to the Middle Fork, water seeps out of the rock wall along the road. On the other side of the road, a sheer cliff, hundreds of feet down.

The Middle Fork of the Yuba near Foote’s Crossing.

Along the way, we stopped at a mining claim we know along Kanaka Creek. (The creek is another friend of ours.) Since it’s not a patented claim, we are allowed to visit. She was in her spring glory, but a bit cold for swimming.

Foote’s Crossing Road ends in Alleghany, or begins there, depending on how you look at. Once in town, we wind through several side streets (the burbs) to get to down town and Casey’s Place.

Downtown Alleghany and Casey’s Place

I still have a lot to learn about the history of Casey’s Place. I know the Caseys lived in Alleghany and ran the bar for many years. For the last 20 years, it has been in Caree’s loving hands.

We were glad to see Caree and impressed with all she’d accomplished in a year. The foundation and kitchen have been repaired, and she’s about to begin serving food again. She also had exciting news: she’s purchased the Casey’s old home, within walking distance, and will open it up this summer as a bed and breakfast.

We chatted about many things. Would it snow again? “It hasn’t snowed on the dogwoods yet,” Caree said, and we nodded. The phone rang a few times, and she answered a variety of questions about the goings-on in Alleghany. “This is the only business in town,” she said, “so I get a lot of calls about the [Sixteen to One] mine and other things.” She addresses each question cheerfully and thoroughly, the unofficial Chamber of Commerce for the town she loves.

In addition to the repairs, Caree has made some improvements. She’s added this wall, separating the pool table from the fire place room, which boasts cozy Victorian furniture and a big round table. She also has free wi-fi now. My face lit up when she said this, and Mr. Lightcap smiled and said to me: “This place is beginning to sound like a writer’s retreat.”

Chef, tavern owner, entrepreneur, artist: In her “spare time”, Caree has been finishing this mosaic.

Since the kitchen at Casey’s Place was not quite open when were there, we reluctantly said good-bye. I’ll be back this summer to take photos of the new bed and breakfast, learn some more history, and taste some of Caree’s incredible food. We headed back on Highway 49, stopping at our favorite roadhouse, Peterson’s Corner, for Taco Tuesday. Filled to the brim with my beautiful back yard, I was ready to head to the high desert I love: Abbey Country.

Peterson’s Corner: view from the dining room looking out to the bar.

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8 Comments

Filed under Back Yard Days, photographs

8 responses to “The Back Road to Casey’s Place

  1. Can I go with you to Casey’s one day?? Love the Mosaic Wall.

  2. glenn

    what’s up with the stars and bars on the ceiling?

    • What do you mean, Glenn?

      • glenn

        The Stars and Bars is the exact same thing as the Nazi Swastika

        I will never enter a place that sports the flag of the Ku Klux Klan and opponents of the civil rights movement

      • I didn’t know that. I know a lot of bikers come through, and I’ve always figured they contributed to the dozens of flags of on the bar’s ceiling. The place does not have a neo Nazi vibe, more along the lines of anarchistic, live and let live.

  3. Many people have passed through the door of Casey’s Place over the last 150 years, living through many different times. Flags have been brought in and placed on the ceiling for many reasons, to commemorate an event, remember a person who has passed, tell a story. We have flags honoring persons who served on Minesweepers during the Korean conflict. We have an equal rights flag.I don’t question people’s motives for wanting a flag on the ceiling of a place that represents so much history, but it sure does warm thier hearts to see it hanging proudly each and every time they return to Casey’s Place!
    And just for the record, The Rebel flag is not the same as the Nazi Swastika. Did you know the “Swastika”, as you call it, was originally a symbol of Paganism adopted and reversed by Hitler which obviously has become a symbol of hatred and is certainly not reflected here. Furthermore, I’m not an opponent of the Civil Rights movement, and I think you may be overly concerned about my flags.

    • Thanks, Caree. I have always seen the flags rather absent mindedly, while I was talking or looking at other things I love the look and the history and diversity of opinions that we folks in the hills are so known for. In an age of censorship and hyper-political-correctness, I like being in a place where the range of debate is wide and free.

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