This time of year I want to spend every possible moment outside in the garden, among new grass and reborn trees, surrounded by hummingbirds and worker bees and playful calves, enjoying the great outdoors.
“Wind’s in the east, mist comin’ in, like somethin’ is brewin’ about to begin …” So goes the familiar line from Bert’s opening song in one of America’s favorite Disney movies. “Mary Poppins” is currently on stage from the Sierra Repertory Theatre.
It’ll be an hour or more of singing and howling as almost two dozen teens take the stage in canine costumes. With floppy ears and black and white spots, Mariposa County High School students portray loveable dogs determined to outsmart Cruella De Vil in “101 Dalmatians.”
It looks like spring arrived early this year, and the foothills are covered in new growth. It’s a beautiful time to drive through the central Sierra Mountains, and enjoy the small town charm our communities have to offer.
When traveling through the foothills from my home to Coulterville, and on to Groveland or Sonora, I drive through the community of Lake Don Pedro. Lately I’ve seen a sign announcing, “World Famous Burgers.” I was skeptical until I asked around. According to Mariposa residents, The Lumberyard Café and Brew serves mouth-watering food with great customer service. January is California’s Restaurant Month. And the Lumberyard is one example of what happens when determination merges with culinary expertise.
What would it take to put Mariposa on the map as one of America’s best small towns? Mariposa is known as one of Yosemite National Park’s gateway communities. The town has long appealed to retirees looking for a place to settle down, and middle-aged singles or couples ready for a career change. But sometimes older folks start longing for more job opportunities for their kids. On the other hand, they don’t want much too much to change, because then we might lose our charm.
Changes are taking place in Mariposa. Businesses are closing their doors or switching owners. Lately I’ve talked to several Mariposa business owners and long-time residents. And I did a lot of listening. As new signs go up, some folks are concerned.
Frosty days and chilly nights have arrived in the foothills, but there’s plenty to do indoors. We offer classes to hone your skills or learn new ones. Also, special recognition has been given recently to deserving individuals and one notable organization.
Much of Building A at the Mariposa County Fairgrounds last week was filled with bikes, rocking horses, basketballs, Lego sets, games, dolls, puzzles, dump trucks, tea sets, paint sets and more for babies, elementary-age kids and teens. The Kops for Kids Giveaway is an annual Christmas toy drive for needy families, sponsored by the Mariposa County Sheriff’s Department.
Berchtesgaden National Park, Germany, has recently become a sister park to Yosemite. Berchtesgaden National Park is one of the leading parks in Europe, and is currently working with other protected areas. Berchtesgaden represents a small, bitter slice of German World War II history as the site of Adolph Hitler’s retreat, the Kehlsteinhaus – also known as the Eagle’s Nest.
Head to the mountains for Thanksgiving, and let someone else do the cooking. Some of California’s best restaurants are situated in the central Sierra. Whether you go for the day or spend the weekend, one of the following holiday outings should appeal. Menus, prices, seating times and related activities vary. And some establishments require reservations.
The world’s best love stories often include opposite personalities, a romantic or exotic setting, and enough adversity to challenge and refine – all the while nudging memorable characters toward triumph. This particular romance has all of the above. It started close to 50 years ago with a 5-year-old boy and a 2-year-old girl. And Mariposa provided a rewarding twist to this French-American love story.
October comes only once a year, and doesn’t last long enough, according to some Mariposa residents. Professional and amateur photographers are heading to the mountains this season in search of gold – aspen gold.