Exploring Oroville

The historic downtown inn is looking great, a new craft shop opens while an old one closes in Chico

Over the past three weeks, I’ve spent a lot of hours in Oroville. Most of them were sitting in a courtroom, where I was observing the trial of Zir Weems, accused—and convicted—of killing his beautiful wife, Angelica.

When I wasn’t in the courtroom, however, and had a lunch hour to fill, I did a little exploring, sticking mainly to downtown because it isn’t all that far from the courthouse. The first thing I wanted to see was the progress that’s been made on the Oroville Inn. Last summer, I wrote a cover story about the renovation (see “Restoration Oroville,” June 11) by well-known local developer Bud Tracy, and I’ll say, the building’s looking pretty awesome these days.

Letters spelling “Oroville Inn” now adorn the side of the building, all the scaffolding has been removed, and the red lead paint has been stripped from the façade, including from the decorative medallions. It also appears the exterior has received a new coat of paint—it all looks so white and new!

While wandering the streets near the inn, I noticed a number of cool shops, salons and restaurants, including a new place for pho that looked hip and fairly busy. A sign in front of a Myers Street storefront that’s part of the quaint, Garden Walk Mall-style Prospectors Alley advertises the future opening of Butte County Wine Co. I’ll keep you posted when I learn more.

My mini walking tour took me around the corner to Montgomery Street, where I spied a “grand opening” sign in the window of Manzanita Market. The place looked cute, so I went in to check it out. Owner Kayla Jones wasn’t in that day, but I got a nice introduction to the shop from her employee, Kayla Mazza. The front of the store is filled with mostly home décor items for sale, and there’s an entire bookshelf set aside for locally made goodies. But the back of the store is where the fun resides.

The shelves are filled with wine glasses, vases, mason jars, greeting cards and more. And a large table is set up in the middle and covered with crafting supplies, from markers and pencils to paints and paintbrushes, stamps and inks, that are free for customers to use. There’s nothing more annoying than going to the craft store and buying a bunch of supplies for one project and then never using them again. So, at Manzanita Market, that problem is solved! They’re also in the process of fixing up the back room for classes and private parties. Stop in at 1967 Montgomery St. or stalk them online at www.facebook.com/manzanitamarketoroville.

Speaking of crafts I did hear some bad news recently. Apparently, Chico All Fired Up is closing. As far as I can tell, the paint-your-own pottery spot is open while it redistributes assets—it’s owned by the Work Training Center. Not only did it offer local crafty types a space to get creative, it also benefited the developmentally disabled clients at WTC. It will be missed.