Road Trip > Fresno, CA

by Rainbow Bobbins

Well, I flew most of the way… to Fresno to visit family last week. I had fun exploring California’s Central Valley and soaking up the sun. One of these days I’m going to put together a little Fresno ‘to-do’ guide. It is often referred to as the armpit of California but this area has its charms. And…my family is there which is always special for me.

DSCN7874On this visit we checked out the CartHop in downtown Fresno next to the old Water Tower – my first time going inside. Dusty Buns has received a lot of press for their tasty sandwiches so it was good to finally have a bite. We also grabbed some melon-cream and lemon-mint popsicles from Ooh-De-Lolli which I highly recommend – they have some interesting flavors like avocado and watermelon-cilantro. There are a few carts to choose from, some art on display, music playing and grass to lounge on. From there we checked out the restored Meux Home (built in 1888) then headed to the Fulton Mall (love this place more here) for a pint from Fresno Brewing Company – they don’t brew their own yet but the bartender said it was in the works. I liked this place – would love to see more of this going in the Fulton Mall. It reminded me of cool pubs in PDX.

DSCN7877The next day I headed over to Clovis Botanical Garden since I’ve been on a bit of plant craze since buying a backyard. The garden is still fairly young with the first tree going in in 2002. The focus is on plants that thrive in the valley climate and do not use a lot of water. The star of the garden is clearly is gorgeous tree: Mexican Palo Verde Tree (parkinsonia aculeata)

DSCN7911Notice the greenish hue to the trunk and the quality of light coming through the branches! In addition to those yellow flowers the tree also has those thorny strands along with fuzzy seed pods and interesting leaf clusters. There was a lot going on with this tree and is was covered with busy bees. Lovely. One more closer up:

DSCN7912 That would go in my garden if I lived in Cali’s central valley. From the Clovis Botanical Garden I headed out on the 180 towards the small town of Sanger for the Art Hop.  One of the stops was the Art Stand Gallery 

DSCN7913While there, I could not pass this creature up – made by local artisan Elaine Town Lane:

DSCN7915Across the street from the gallery is School House Restaurant and Tavern – a great restored school built in 1921 which now serves a surprisingly awesome crab cake. I was not expecting that. The atmosphere was cool, lots of bikers stop in and the rest of the food looked good. I want to go back for a full meal. Not documented was many great meals with my family and quality time with grandma – great trip.