When you move to a new city, you more than likely dread it. That's how I felt when I first moved here. I was new to California, had no friends or family around, and had the hardest time finding a house. After living here almost four years and finding out we may move yet again, I've come to love my crazy Bako family and the small city itself. These aren't in any order, but they are my top ten reasons for loving it here in Bakersfield, California and Kern County.
10. Free admission on certain days for the city and county museums. Some museums don't even charge admission. Crazy, huh?
9. Melting pot. Although Bako is considered one of the "armpits of Cali", the citizens are demographically diverse. You can find white, wealthy, Hispanic, African descent, middle class, Indian, rednecks, Asian, and several other cultures. It's great to expose the kids to different people and backgrounds. Makes a great geography lesson at home. So when people talk about the small dot on the map called Bakersfield, it's NOT 95% Hispanic population. Should I include all the ufo sightings we have? Seriously.
8. Speed limits. Where else can you drive 55mph down a major road in a city? Last time I drove through Omaha, Sacramento, Vegas, and LA, most of them have to drive 35-45 in town. The only thing about the 55 mph is people here don't know how to drive when the roads are *gasp* wet.
7. With our great melting pot in the greater Bako area, comes food. Almost in every corner of the city, you'll find awesome breweries, restaurants, and bakeries. We don't eat at many franchises, so when I see a Sequoia Sandwich or Lengthwise Brewery, I know it's going to be yummy.
6. Speaking of food, farmer's markets are abundant in the city. For a city of 300,000 (last time I saw the population sign), there's 5 farmer's markets available. Ours, on Brimhall, is the closest on Saturdays. There's also one on Sundays at Ming and Haggin Oaks. We live in a farming community, why wouldn't you take advantage of that
5. Like I said, Bakersfield has around 300,000 last time I looked at the sign. There's probably more than that now, but whatever. There's also a mixture of cultural backgrounds and with that, it usually creates a diverse community. Not here. People are friendly and will usually help you with anything they can. The city's motto is "Life as it should be." So Bako has tons of people with a small city atmosphere.
4. Trying to find a place to live is a breeze here. Since it's one of the armpits, house prices are much lower than other cities (Sac, Fran, LA). Right now there's actually a housing shortage and they are having to develop more housing communities. Even the older houses are scarce to come by.
3. Bakersfield: NorCal or SoCal? We're actually CenCal. According to NorCal residents, we live in SoCal and vice versa for SoCal residents. Do they even know where Bako is? "Yeah, I drove through" doesn't count. It's great living in Bako. You're five hours from anything. 1 hour from the mountains, 3 hours from the coast, 4 hours to Sac, 5 to Fran, 5 to Tahoe, 2-3 from LA (depends on Grapevine and traffic), and 5 (with no traffic) to San Diego. Oh and don't forget Vegas... a mere 5 hours away. Talk about the perfect location!
2. The summers are 100+ degrees outside. I don't know how pregnant women make it through the summers here. Luckily, the city and NOR have installed sprayparks- an alternative to large swimming pools. Kids of all ages can run through large sprinkler heads to beat the heat. I'm not sure about the hours, but they are typically open before Memorial Day and are open until September or October (depending on the weather). It's great for toddlers and those of us who don't swim.
1. Another family favorite is the San Joaquin Valley library system. I use Beale Memorial for my book needs. They have a great selection and if you need a book from another library in the system, they can get it for you! I can't tell you how many different books I've checked out. The Beale Memorial is the largest library in Kern County. They have 4 levels of books, a section for audio-visual, a computer lab, reference, and much, much more. There's no reason to educate yourself through the library. Anything you want to learn is at the library. The best part of the library is storytime. I take the kids to the preschool storytime where the librarian reads 4-5 stories with rhymes and songs in between. Then afterwards is craft time. It's a simple creation made out of basic items. Best of all-it's free! A big thank you to the library for providing mommy one hour of almost freedom.
I'm going to put in another great thing about Bakersfield: year round gardening. It's the perfect climate to grow lettuces, broccoli, carrots, and many other veggies right in your own backyard. You can grow tomatoes and summer type produce if you throw a plastic sheet over your garden. It makes me wonder why Bakersfield doesn't have more vegetable gardeners when the city is in a zone 8b and 9! Not only does it help the environment, but also the grocery bill. Too bad there aren't any tax credits/incentives for gardening...