Valley Voices

15 reasons why Oakhurst is the best hometown

It’s just a quick trip to Fresno to grab an elephant selfie at the Fresno Chaffee Zoo.
It’s just a quick trip to Fresno to grab an elephant selfie at the Fresno Chaffee Zoo.

1. You always see at least three people you know in the grocery store.

Whether it is someone who is working or someone you happen upon in an aisle, they are always willing to stop and chat for a few minutes. It might be someone from work, church or someone you went to school with. If you are lucky, you can help each other find what is on your grocery list and get the shopping done in half the time you normally would.

2. There’s usually someone stopped outside the door of the grocery store taking a picture of the sunset, and sometimes you are “that person.”

I’m going to admit to it. I have been “that person” a few times. It’s just too good to pass up most of the time!

3. Raley’s has the best deli sandwiches, and there is no arguing with that.

There are times when they just keep piling meat and cheese on. Once the lettuce and other veggies are added, you’ve got a couple of meals right at the tips of your fingers. They are great to take into Yosemite, on a hike, or when the high school seniors get to go off campus for lunch and indulge in the array of food that Oakhurst has to offer.

4. The Yosemite Jazz Band that plays at Pizza Factory during the summer is off the charts.

It’s quite a hit with the locals as well as the Yosemite tourists. They take requests and play them to the best of their ability. Performing at fairs and festivals, these guys (and gal) take their music seriously. Including members of the community who are fairly well known, they are some of the best musicians in the area and it’s awesome to see them interact with each other as well as the audience.

5. The local coffee shop is a teen favorite.

Cool Bean, anyone? This spot is a great place to be known as a “regular,” as the employees are friendly and the atmosphere is welcoming and comfortable. Not to mention the great Wi-Fi and organic coffee.

6. Knowing where to get the best breakfast burrito of your life.

Pete’s Place might as well be magical. You can get salsa and gravy in your breakfast burrito that is full of eggs, potatoes and your choice of meat or vegetables. If you’re not able to make it for breakfast, they have a great falafel, wonderful chicken strips and heavenly zucchini fries that are available for lunch and dinner.

7. Friday night football and basketball games are a big deal.

Even if the teams aren’t the best (and they are getting better), at least sitting in the stands with the students, parents and other members from the community is something that you do not want to miss. Not to mention the awesome bands.

8. Having a membership to the movie theater is something that will give you many friends.

If you’re from the area, you’ll know that the theater closed down but was saved by memberships through Movie Heroes. The pass is $19.99/month and the member gets into movies for free and guests for discounted prices. If you don’t have a pass, the theater is usually an insane amount of money to see just one movie. Always go with a friend who has a membership.

9. It’s not a big deal to go to Yosemite for the day.

Most of us in the Oakhurst area own an annual pass, if not a national parks annual pass. It’s actually uncommon to not go every few months. At least once every season is typical and you’re definitely missing out if you don’t take advantage of it.

10. Bass Lake is also a local favorite.

The Pines Resort is open year-round but The Forks and Miller’s are the favorites during the summer, mostly for the burgers and milkshakes. There are a few hikes to take that start at the lake. There are many places to rent boats of all sorts as well as other water toys. Even just a drive around the lake or a small walk on the dam is worth it.

11. The Coarsegold Peddler’s Fair is a hit every Memorial Day and Labor Day weekends.

Shaved ice. Funnel cakes. Indian tacos. Tri-tip sandwiches. Antiques. Craft items. Lots of treasures. Need I say more?

12. Getting out of the hills is nice, especially when the destination is the zoo.

Elephant selfies are the best! If you have not seen the new African Adventure exhibit at Chaffee Zoo in Fresno, make the trip to go see it.

13. On that note, trips to a bigger city are few and far between, although they do get to be more often when you get older.

Either the big shopping or an appointment is an excuse to go to the city. Sometimes it’s nice to get a group of friends together and go shopping for the day, even if it is just to see the Christmas lights or get some In-N-Out.

14. Always indulge in the hikes that aren’t too far away from home.

Lewis Creek is a favorite, mostly because it’s got variety as well as not being too tough for those with young kids or physical disabilities but still want to get outside. As previously mentioned, there are many hikes near Bass Lake, as well as at a resort or near one of the many summer camps that call the mountain area their home.

15. Last, but not least, everybody comes together in a crisis.

A couple of summers ago, there was a fire that went through town and burned one house all the way to the ground, as well as destroying some other buildings and things in its path. The community had a benefit concert for the people who were affected by the fire.

That is just one example of the many awesome things that take place in this mountain area. Here’s to you, Oakhurst and the surrounding area.

Eirena Ewert, formerly of Coarsegold, is a junior at Simpson University in Redding. Connect with her at @eirena_elizabeth on Instagram.