Today we drove about 40 miles from our camp to visit the little town of Mariposa. We had so many people tell us not to miss this one, we are glad we listened. We are finding we love the small towns the most, and this one was no exception.
By the time we got there we were hungry, so our first stop was the Butterfly Cafe for sandwiches. We saw a lot of butterfly items and found out later that Mariposa is Spanish for "butterfly", after the flocks of Monarchs seen wintering there by early explorers.
The county lies at the southern end of the Mother Lode, and Europeans were attracted to Mariposa by gold. During the 19th century California Gold Rush, its streams were panned and deep mines worked the underground veins.
Mariposa County includes much of Yosemite National Park, and a good deal of the local economy is related to the Park and to tourism. The county courthouse, constructed in 1854, is the oldest in continuous use in California. They had tours available for free.
We decided to check it out and found it most interesting. The tour guide was a happy fellow that actually posed for my pictures and took us on a fantastic tour. He also told us about the old jail down the road, so we checked it out next.
We did some shopping afterwards but didn't buy a single thing until we stopped on the way home for some fresh vegetables at the Coarsegold market. :-) We had a great time and learned a lot to boot. More later from California.