It took only three-quarters of a century to realize
Although rustic retreats abound, it's worth the splurge to stay in one of the 12 villas at Nakoma Golf Resort & Spa (348 Bear Run, Clio, Calif.;  832-5067, nakomagolfresort.com) designed by architects from the Frank Lloyd Wright Foundation. The charming studio ($199 a night) is full of fun twists and turns that encircle a massive stone fireplace. For more space, consider a two-story, one-bedroom villa for $269 or the two bedroom for $399. The golf course and clubhouse restaurant are steps away.
The resort's Wigwam Room, with its striking design by Frank Lloyd Wright, serves breakfast, lunch and dinner. While exploring the region's riches, enjoy a casual meal in the family-friendly Graeagle Restaurant (7430 Highway 89, Graeagle;  836-2393). The restaurant, set amid the small red buildings that once dotted a mining camp, is known for its $16.75 nightly specials such as baby back ribs on Fridays and "Virgie's old-fashioned chicken and dumplings" on Saturdays. Try to save room for dessert. The cream and fruit pies are homemade.
Even if you don't golf, Nakoma's clubhouse is worth a visit. Wright designed it in 1924, but it wasn't built until 2001. The 18-hole course boasts stunning mountain views. Golfers who slice their ball on the fourth hole will never see it again because the course overlooks the Middle Fork of the Feather River, 1,000 feet below in a canyon. Explore the region's gold mining history at Plumas-Eureka State Park (310 Johnsville Road, Blairsden, Calif.;  836-2380, bit.ly/VAAMde). In 1861, miners here hosted the first ski races in the western U.S. Nearby, a short hike leads to 250-foot-tall Frazier Falls. It's off Gold Lake Highway, a few miles southwest of Graeagle.
The lesson learned
Many of the area's popular attractions are within the Plumas National Forest. The threat of wildfires is often high, so be sure to obey all posted warnings.
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