The Merry Woods – Pollock Pines

“If more of us valued food and cheer and song above hoarded gold, it would be a merrier world.”

— J.R.R. Tolkien, author of the Lord of the Rings trilogy.




The Merry Woods

I first heard about this new restaurant on Highway 50 about three weeks ago from someone in Kyburz. Then, like magic, a business card appeared in my mailbox at the paper with a note to call.

The Merry Woods is located where the St. Pauli Inn was, at 10120 Highway 50, about 10 miles east of Pollock Pines and less than a mile east of the crossing of the American River at Riverton.

I walked in last Friday and was immediately and very pleasantly greeted by a young lady I later found out was named Stacy. The Merry Woods is owned by Mary Wood, and run by her and her two daughters, Stacy and Jackie, thus the name.

“People stop by and ask if we serve German food, like the previous restaurant,” said Mary. “I tell them no, what we serve is comfort food. I learned to cook old-fashioned mid-west style and, although our menu varies depending on what is freshest and available, we always have a meat dish, a seafood dish, a vegetarian dish and a poultry dish, and, if I find something else I like, a special. With the cooling weather, our soups are becoming very popular.

“We serve something for everyone, even the kids. And if you want to know exactly what is on the menu on a given day, give us a call.

“We buy as much as we can locally, and even go to the farmers markets for the freshest goods and are working with local meat markets. We are very particular about our ingredients, and, along with that, keeping our customers happy.

“I know the sign says, ‘fine dining,’ the painter just put that there because I didn’t know what to tell him, but don’t be put off by the sign, we are a casual restaurant serving great food and family friendly. What we serve is what we like to eat ourselves and, oh,” adding with a smile, “our food is as fine as anyone else’s.

“I spent over a year working on the building. It had been closed for some time and needed a lot of work. I kept the woodsy feel and added some warmth. We have only been open for five weeks, but people are beginning to find us and we are already getting repeat business.”

The evening I was there the menu included beef Stroganoff, poached salmon, lasagna (meat or vegetarian) and roasted turkey breast. I was offered a sample of the turkey and tried it.

The turkey was fresh, moist, tender and delicious. Like most other dinners, it came with soup (always homemade) or salad, homemade stuffing and gravy, a vegetable, cranberry sauce and a choice of potato.

I am not a real stuffing fan, but it was very good. You could taste the ingredients, which included fresh mushrooms and turkey sausage, and it was moist, not dry, without the gravy. I also sampled the green beans and the potatoes au gratin and the yam-sweet potato mixture. I was impressed and pleased.

The lunch menu, which is served on Saturday and Sunday, also varies, depending again on what is fresh and available. That weekend it was a cooked-to-order third-pound burger on a Kaiser roll (Boca burger can be substituted), a clubhouse sandwich, salami and cheese sandwich and a grilled chicken sandwich. Lunches come with potato salad, chips or other choices.

All the desserts are made at the restaurant, which can include a variety of pies, cheese cake, German chocolate cake, apple crisp, sundaes, brownies and other delicious items. I tried a half-piece of cheesecake and it was perfect: smooth and not too sweet. The crust was excellent.

“Our desserts, like are meals, are appetite satisfying,” added Wood. “Most of the time people share a dessert, which is fine with us. We always work with the customers to make their dining experience as perfect as we can.

“We have windows overlooking the river and the highway. We get reservations, which are always appreciated, so we can estimate the crowd, from people who want to enjoy the river or want to keep an eye on their dogs in the car. We can take care of both. We are working on opening the deck for dining. It will be a great place for a summer meal,” MAry said.

The Merry Woods is open from 5 to 8 p.m. on Fridays and 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. on Saturday and Sunday. It is only open these three days a week, but the restaurant will be happy to open for a special party or event the other days. For more information call 530-293-3384.

Book Review: ‘History of a Place Called Rescue’ – Teie and Carpenter

Title: “History of a Place Called Rescue”

Authors: William C. Teie and Francis M. Carpenter

Publisher: Deer Valley Press, Rescue,, November 2011

Price: $75; flex-binding, 11 x 8.5 inches, 380 pages, four-color.
(pre-publication price $52.50 plus tax and shipping. Visit for particulars)

Available From: Publisher, November 2011 (predicted)

As you know, I love history, especially the history of El Dorado County and its environs. Therefore, when I received an uncorrected proof of “History of a Place Called Rescue” to check and review, I was excited and delighted.

Both William Teie and Francis Carpenter had contacted me some time ago about my writings on the Rescue area. They had asked me for any information I had, because they were working on a book. I was happy to share what I had with them.

Their request is not an unusual one and I receive one or two similar requests every year. Usually the book is never published, so when I received a copy of the huge proof of this book I was both amazed and delighted. I think what I said was “Wow.”

It is a wonderful book, containing 380 pages and over 800 pictures, maps and other graphics, in color where possible. The proof copy, although not in full color, is still one of the most complete documents on the Rescue area, its history and families I have ever seen.

In fact, it is one of the most complete documents on any area of El Dorado County.

It is full of pictures of rare documents and photographs graciously loaned to the authors by families with roots in Rescue, all beautifully displayed and described.

Rescue is a small, rural community in the heart of California’s gold country, generally north of Cameron Park. Although it is small and has a unique name, it is also rich with history — and that history is what this book is all about.

It captures the spirit of the past and helps tell the story of this community and the surrounding area.

This book, “History of a Place Called Rescue,” is a snapshot in time, that time starting when gold was discovered in Coloma in 1848 and continuing into the 1930s.

When you open the book, hte reader travels through the area starting with tours along prominent roads in Rescue.

A large, full-color reference map, located in a pocket in the back of the book, pinpoints all of the featured historical sites and makes them easy to find.

The book is rich with pictures, local family trees, and other graphics that bring Rescue’s history to life and, for the convenience of the reader, the book is nicely divided into chapters including: Rescue Road Tours, Schools of Rescue, Mines of Rescue, Cemeteries of Rescue, Post Offices of Rescue, Pony Express, Rescue Fire Protection District and, a wonderful and huge section called Pioneer Families of Rescue. That last section is, in itself, a book.

You don’t have to be from Rescue to enjoy it, since Rescue is an important place in early California history.

The road, now called Green Valley Road, was what was used by miners and teamsters from Sacramento to get to and from Coloma, and along its route were numerous way stations and inns, and even a winery, where travelers stayed and ate, and picked up supplies.

All this is in the book.

It is a great book recounting local history and once you start looking through it you will want to drive through the area, seeing things you never noticed before and imagining what it was like so many years ago.

I am so delighted that these two gentlemen took the time to do the enormous amount of research for a book like this and then carried through with the project to produce such a wonderful book.

William C. Teie retired from the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection after a successful 34 year career. He is the author of a number of books on firefighting, a series of “Fire in the West” reports and has developed several training operational aids for the firefighter.

He has also authored and published three trail guides for the four-wheel drive community, including one on the Rubicon Trail and trails of the San Bernardino and Tahoe National Forests.

He lives in Rescue with his with his wife Linda, a dog named Ben and a cat named Toffie.

Francis “Carp” Carpenter was born and raised in Rescue. He and his family lived in the Kelly Creek store, or Brandon House, and he attended Tennessee School and El Dorado High School.

After returning from service in the Korean War he worked in Placerville and became part of the startup Rescue Volunteer Fire Department in 1960.

In 1964 and 1975 he was appointed chief. In 1965 he was hired by the California Department of Forestry, leaving in 1982 to become the first full-time chief for the Rescue Fire Protection District.

Often referred to as “Mr. Rescue,” he lives in Rescue with his wife Joy, a former El Dorado Rose, and the family dog Emmie

Criminal annals, Part 131: Chinese immigration issues

The Oct. 1, 1852, edition of the Sacramento “Daily Union” has, on page two, a short discussion on the Chinese in Sacramento, followed by an interesting comment on the E Clampus Vitus group.

“THE CHINESE IN K STREET. –  We have before noticed the fact that the Chinese had congregated to such an extent on K street, between Fifth and Sixth, as to occupy nearly every house between those two streets, on both sides of K. The houses are occupied mostly for trading purposes, and almost any article sold in this market of China manufacture or production may be found in these Chinese stores, to which their queer looking Chinese signs are sure to attract attention. But in addition to stores, one may find eating, drinking and gambling houses. –  To the surprise of the ‘natives’ they manifest an inveterate disposition to gamble when they have money, and they pursue the calling with as much ardor, intent and apparently delightful excitement as a Mexican can do. Their gambling houses, as we are informed, ‘run all night,’ and they are extensively visited by the staid and demure looking ‘Celestials’ in the city. Their contests over the games they play are particularly interesting to lookers on, who understand about as well what they say as they would the gabbling of so many geese. It is easy, however, to perceive they are in dead earnest in their betting.

“The Chinese are a peculiar race to us; we do not know them, never shall know them, as they are in character and disposition, so long as they remain in a dependent position. They visit our shores to make money enough to enable them to return and live at home in comparative ease the remainder of their days. One left K street a few days since, with $4,000 to buy China goods and return with them. He is a merchant and on the road to fortune.

“The influence upon labor to be yet effected by this Chinese immigration, is a subject which commends itself to the attention of every laboring man, and is fruitful of suggestions which we may hereafter present to our readers.”

“THE FOLLOWING card appears in the advertising columns of the San Francisco Herald [under several names 1850-18?]:

“E CLAMPUS VITUS. In the Sacramento Union of this date an article is published, which reflects improperly upon the aim and objects of the above mentioned Order. The presumption of the author is not worthy of being noticed in any other way than by saying, that frequently “Fools rush in where Angels fear to tread.’

“By order of E. C. V. San Francisco, Sept. 28, 1852.

“The ‘presumption of the author’ we are more than ever convinced, however, was perfectly correct, and the card of the worthy members of the nominal ‘E Clampus Vitus’ Club does not undertake to deny it. Our second ‘presumption’ is, that a sufficient number of ‘fools’ have already ‘rushed in’ where sensible men have no occasion to tread.”

Note: This is probably not the last we will hear on this subject.

Next is the information from the previous session of the Recorder’s Court in Sacramento. Then as now, the same names seem to be reappearing.

“Recorder’s Court.- Before Judge McGrew. Thursday, Sept. 29, 1852.

“A full court this morning set off the total absence of cases yesterday. Among the ‘features,’ we observed a venerable colored lady with an umbrella, in allusion doubtless to the hazy weather which has for some time prevailed, and a nervous individual, who emptied his stomach at the back door, by vomiting. Too much of the ‘ardent’ had made him very sick.

Edward Crickard, for drunkenness and disorderly conduct, was found guilty on his own confession, and fined $5 and costs.

William O’Rourke and Matthew Rice, for disturbing the peace and fighting. On a hearing, Matthew was discharged, with many thanks to the Court for its leniency for letting him out of the hands of the law ‘for once.’ Before reaching the street door, however, the aforesaid Matthew in the exuberance of his happiness, performed several very ungentlemanly actions, which caused his re-arrest. A salutary admonition from the Court humbled him considerably, when he was a second time discharged.

William O’Rourke was found guilty. His presence before the Recorder has become a matter of almost daily occurrence; and each time that he comes he bears with him additional scratches and wounds on the face, till his physiognomy is covered with blotches. Mr. O’Rourke would doubtless reform if he could, but the boxing and drinking propensity was so strongly developed in his illustrious progenitors, that he imbibed it as a family legacy, and yields to the seductive influences which it inspires. Judgment suspended till to-morrow.

“John Carroll, Chas. McGinley, and, Henry Davidson, for an assault and robbery. Case continued.”

In the same edition we find a note from the Union regarding the printing in another newspaper of a story very similar to one they had printed two years before.

“PLAGIARISM. – The Times and Transcript [actually Placer Times and Transcript. San Francisco, but previously in Sacramento. 1852-1855] of Tuesday morning, contains the following:

“Good. – ‘Waiter,’ said an ambitious youth, in the excellent coffee establishment on Washington street just above the Bella Union. ‘What makes these hot rolls so cold always!’ ‘I don’t know,’ was the prompt reply, ‘unless it’s because they are made of Chili flour.’”

“Nearly two years ago, the Daily Union published the subjoined anecdote, which occurred in Sacramento:

“‘Waiter!’ cried a man at one of our restaurants the other day, ‘your hot rolls are all cold. What’s the reason?’ The waiter, who by-the-way, was a native of the sod, after scratching his head a moment, replied: ‘I don’t know, sir, unless the blundering cook has made them of Chilly flour.’”

“A marvellous [sic] coincidence of ideas, truly!

“He who steals my purse steals trash.”

 (To be continued.)