Almost equidistant from both Los Angeles and San Francisco in California and about 3 hours drive is Fresno. It’s one of those places that sounds familiar and then when you try and think about what it means to you you’rs stumped. Maybe it’s because you have only heard the name in westerns or from TV programmes.
Fresno is the gateway to three of America’s major national parks, Yosemite, Kings Canyon and the Sequoia. You are already one hour into the parks so as a stepping off point to see those famed parks it’s ideal.
But Fresno is an unusual tourist destination. Unusual in that in addition to all those outdoor activities you might expect with being near national parks, it is an agricultural area. The appeal for visitors is agricultural tourism or what they call, farm-to-folk culinary tours. This part of the United States feeds a third of the world. It seems a staggering claim yet given all they grow, why not? Because of this huge agricultural background, it abounds in restaurants, restaurants of all different kinds. And the food hardly travels. Its local meat, local food, local wines and local fruit. If it isn’t in season you won’t find it on the menus. How many times have chefs said that food in season tastes best? How many times have people been urged to cut down on their food miles? In Fresno, that mantra is practiced. When you visit a farm or a vineyard, its likely to be the owner that greets you and lets you taste the produce. Even at the state university here, you can be fed with produce from their own farms or drink their own wines. Is there another university that sells its own wines directly to you? So given all this food and the vast array of restaurants, it isn’t unusual to have your first course in one restaurant and go on to another for you main course and a final one for your sweet. As I was told, your the customer Do it as you want. Why should you eat in just one place? Would we do that at home?
All this agriculture also bestows on Fresno another attraction for tourists. Blossom time. Depending on the time of year you will get cherry blossom to rival those of Japan. Or apricot or peach blossom. If you want something more energetic, then how about whitewater rafting as the snow melts after the winter? It can last until My or even August if there’s been a long winter. Needless to say, there is skiing in winter, hiking or golf at other times. So for the energetic and the food junkie, there is lots to do.
Fresno has a small town feel. Some call it the greatest garden in the world given the changing foliage. The blossom of Spring to the changing colors of Autumn can rival those of New England. Avoid the rest of British tourists elsewhere and try Fresno and the surrounding countryside.