Sometimes when you find a place that you really like, you can’t help but tell others about it. Sierra Meadows Country Club in Ahwahnee (near Oakhurst) is one of those places.
Most people go there to play golf, or to enjoy RV camping, or both. Andrea and I went there two weekends ago to get married. Several of our guests played golf in the morning and then celebrated with us in the evening. All of us had such a positive, memorable experience, that I’ve decided to write about it here.
I doubt that any of my regular readers are surprised that we wanted to make our vows outdoors. At the start of our planning we checked out a lot of outdoor venues. We saw a lot of nice locations, but this one was clearly the right choice for us because of its beautiful location, outstanding people, affordability, and ability to meet our special needs.
• Location: We weren’t sure what to expect when we turned off of Highway 49, but we were really impressed with the beauty of the area as we drove over the hills. The road descends into a beautiful valley at an elevation of about 2,400 feet. Surrounded by pines, oaks, and mountains, the greens and ponds were quiet and peaceful. Highway noise was far away, replaced by the sounds of the contented geese and birds that make their homes on the golf course. If you’re lucky, you might even spot the resident deer making their rounds.
• People: In addition to appreciating the beauty, one of the other reasons why we picked Sierra Meadows for our special day was the people. Sometimes you meet people and you immediately know that they will be the best people that you could choose to work with. This was the case with Mike Best, the course’s general manager. Throughout the planning process he was ready with the answer for every question and nothing fazed him. We met some really extraordinary people during our planning process and made some new friends, too. Mike is one of the top people on that list. He kept everything running smoothly all the way from the initial planning of the day to the cleaning up of the last decorations.
• Affordability: We also liked the pricing. Several places we had visited had complicated fees, charges, surcharges, service charges, and generally very expensive food. At Sierra Meadows the entire venue cost was calculated on a single sheet of paper and we left our first visit knowing exactly what the cost would be.
• Flexibility: The freedom to choose our own caterer allowed us to get a great deal on delicious food from local caterer Mark Stefanelli of Chefanelli’s catering – another friend we made along the way. Mark was always friendly, encouraging and helpful throughout the process. Working with people like Mike and Mark was one of the things that made the whole production and event planning a lot easier.
In terms of special needs, golf carts transported our family elders from the clubhouse to the ceremony – making it possible for our octogenarian and nonagenarian relatives (yes, that’s actually what you’re called when you’re in your 90’s) to be part of a beautiful outdoor ceremony. And it was included in the basic pricing. For a very small additional amount, we were also able to have the course’s shuttles transport guests between the ceremony and the motels in nearby Oakhurst so that everyone could celebrate without worrying about getting home safely.
Despite this year’s drought, we managed to pick one of the few wet days for our celebration. Our first choice outdoor location almost didn’t work out, but the rain stopped and warm sunlight broke through the clouds about 45 minutes before we were scheduled to take our vows. If it hadn’t, Mike had a plan for that, too. Chairs were set up in a nearby pavilion as a backup. This kind of preparation and flexibility is important to the success of any outdoor event.
Although I’ve mostly rambled on about our wedding experience, most of you will probably visit Sierra Meadows to play golf or stay in the RV park. RV amenities include a swimming pool, tennis courts, volleyball, horseshoe pits, laundry, showers and wireless internet. The clubhouse’s Four Tears Café serves hot dogs, sandwiches, soups, and salads.
Sierra Meadows is a great place to stay and play golf. It’s a great place to get married. It’s also conveniently located near the southern entrance to Yosemite (Wawona and the Mariposa Grove of Big Trees).
Other nearby outdoor attractions include Sierra National Forest’s Lewis Creek Trail to Red Rock and Corlieu Falls, Bass Lake, the Yosemite Mountain Sugar Pine Railroad, the Fresno Flats Historic Village and Park, Nelder Grove, the recently-opened Ahwahnee Hills Regional Park, the Sun Mountain Gun Club and several of the wineries of the Madera Wine Trail.
For more information about Sierra Meadows, go to http://sierrameadows.com/ or call (559) 642-1343.
Adam Blauert is a Sun-Star correspondent. He is an avid outdoorsman who enjoys fishing, backpacking and exploring the western states. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.