2 weeks ago

Destination Nevada County

Premium visitors magazine for Nevada County produced by the Grass Valley Chamber of Commerce

L i f e sty l e IN

L i f e sty l e IN NEVADA COUNTY By Valerie Costa The Union Newspaper Here in Nevada County, we are a health conscious bunch. Perhaps this can be traced back to the native Maidu Indians who first inhabited this land, who would use their sacred “Medicine Rock,” located in what is now Nevada City, to soak up the sun while relieving aches and pains. Or the Chinese immigrants who came to work the mines and brought their eastern medicines, such as acupuncture and herbal remedies. Or the Nevada County General Hospital which opened in 1860 to serve the health needs of the miners who flocked to our area in search of a golden dream. In the early 1850s, healthcare needs in the region grew when miners began arriving to try to strike it rich. This 90 DESTINATION Nevada County Nevada County Athletic Club Photo credit: Jerry Cirino

was problematic since many physicians temporarily dropped their medical practice in search of gold, though most would return to practicing medicine either in private practice or as part of one of the medical facilities which sprung up over the years. The first regional hospital in the area was Nevada County General Hospital, which opened in 1860 and continued through a series of expansions and renovations until it ultimately closed in 1973. Other hospitals included the W.C. Jones Memorial Hospital, which was just declared a historical landmark on October 10, 2017. It was the first private hospital in Nevada County when it was dedicated in 1907, and served the community for over 60 years before it shut down in 1968. Now a bed and breakfast and art gallery, this beautiful Victorian building is still a shining beacon in downtown Grass Valley. On Dec. 30, 1958, Sierra Nevada Memorial Hospital opened its doors, and today remains the last hospital standing. A project that was in the works for nearly three decades, the medical facility offers state of the art equipment, compassionate and thorough doctors and staff, and an environment that puts the patient first. In the mining days, there was a robust population of Chinese immigrants who had also come to find gold in the hills. In fact, the 1852 census showed 3,396 Chinese living in Nevada County, and by 1880, they constituted 22% of California’s mining population making them the largest single nationality engaged in mining. Because of this, many Nevada County towns had a commercially-oriented Chinese community that served the unique needs of these miners. Nevada City’s Chinese Quarter was well established by the 1860’s, and included doctors and herbalists along with general stores, laundry services, opium dens, and more. You can still find this echo of Chinese culture in Nevada County, with several acupuncturists, herbalists, massage therapists, and energy healers practicing in the area. This blend of cultural influence means that whether you subscribe to the tenets of western medicine or prefer the more natural eastern healing techniques, you can find it all right here in our little slice of paradise. Today, Nevada County offers a wide variety of health options from cradle to grave. Starting with birth, you can choose to have a traditional hospital experience at the Family Birth Center located at Dignity Health Sierra Nevada Memorial Hospital (SNMH), or choose from a wide array of midwives and doulas to create your own at-home water birth experience. From there, children are cherished in the community, as evidenced by the riches of school options that converge here. These include award-winning public, private, and charter schools with different learning models so that every child is provided with the educational experience that best suits their own learning style. Because we know that healthy bodies begin with healthy minds, and vice versa. This has always been a health-conscious and robust community; the miners and loggers kept themselves fit through the hard work of their labors, as did the farmers and ranchers who provided the food supply. Life was hard, but food was fresh and the exercise of day to day life kept most of Nevada County’s residents in great shape. We remain a community that appreciates the outdoor opportunities that abound here, and take advantage of the temperate climate to enjoy our lakes, forests, and trails year-round. People who prefer to exercise indoors also have a whole host of options, from the South Yuba Club which is a locally owned and operated health club that offers classes for every fitness level and state of the art equipment (and an indoor pool!), to the more hard-core CrossFit (there are three such establishments here), to gyms geared toward women only or those who want a no-frills, old school gym experience. Yoga and Pilates studios are ubiquitous; no matter what your style or practice level you can find just the right studio or class to match your yoga desires. W.C. Jones Memorial Hospital which is now the Swan Levine B & B Inn. Our community is also fortunate to have an abundance of fresh, local, organic food grown by our friends and neighbors. Stores such as Natural Selection, Mother Truckers, and the Briar Patch Co-Op, as well as several different farmers markets per week, allow Nevada Countians to stay healthy year-round by consuming a healthy diet of locally grown produce, grains, and meats. If food is medicine, as some claim, then Nevada County is a mega pharmacy. Alongside a robust western medicine culture, Nevada County is a hub of spiritual and alternative healing cen- DESTINATION Nevada County 91