You might pass it by while traveling from the Bay Area to Murphys and Angels Camp via Highway 4, but don’t. That new development rising like an 1880s-themed movie set from an otherwise agricultural landscape is Copperopolis Town Square, the 27-acre core of an ambitious new-town development connected to nearby golf mecca Saddle Creek Resort.
In a flip-flop from normal building practices, developers Castle & Cook constructed a high-end, mixed-use village with the goal of creating a tourism magnet that later would serve as the centerpiece of a luxury housing development. The recession hit just as the first businesses were going in, but all is thriving again, and the square has become the site of popular weekend events ranging from concerts to car shows to “Dog Day Afternoons.”
Park your car and walk around, grabbing lunch if you can on the patio of Panini’s Italian Grill, a colorful and reasonably priced eatery with out-of-this-world pizza, soups and sandwiches. Both you and your four-legged companion can browse to your heart’s content at Chloe & Zoey’s Pet boutique just across the way. You’ll also find wine bars, an ice cream shop and other diversions worthy of a mid-trip break.
Photo: "Dog Day Afternoon" - Copperopolis Town Square