This is a guest post from one of our readers, Molly DeFrank. Molly shares her account of how Fresno stole this So-Cal native’s heart.
We’ve all heard it: “You live in Fresno? Why?” Living in a state that’s also home to San Francisco, LA and San Diego, Fresnans can sometimes feel like the less impressive runt of the California litter; the Jan Brady; the “Stephen” of the Baldwins.
I used to razz my best friend from college incessantly about his Fresno roots. But he wore them like a badge of honor. A typical Southern California native, I carried an obnoxious chip on my shoulder. “What do you even DO in Fresno?” I asked. “You’re in the middle of nowhere.” Next thing I knew, I married him, had a couple of his babies and we moved to . . . Fresno.
And then the strangest thing happened. I fell in love with this city. I can’t quite put my finger on what it was that converted me. It could have been the affordable housing, the vibrant colors of the fall leaves or the incredible local produce. Maybe it was the extensive restaurant options, the charming zoo, excellent schools, or dozens of churches to choose from – and that’s just on Nees. Perhaps it was Christmas Tree Lane, Bulldog football games or the close proximity to General Sherman, the largest tree on earth (by volume). Maybe it was Woodward Park, breathtaking views of snow-capped mountains to the east on a clear morning, or how easily we can spend an entire evening at River Park. Or maybe it was Moravia Wines, a family-owned Fresno vineyard with Friday night family picnics, free entertainment included. Could have been J&K Farley Farms pick your own produce for $.65/lb. in Kingsburg, which boasts a petting zoo, as many free fruit samples as you can handle and lovely shaded picnic area. Could have also been the fact that weekday rush-hour traffic in the 559 lasts a mere 10 minutes. The multi-story Forever 21 doesn’t hurt, either.
This town has everything to offer. And what it’s lacking – beaches, skiing, Nordstrom – is all within a few hours drive. The two biggest offenses Fresno may be guilty of are horrible air quality – and that’s not even our city’s fault – and the dozens of street names that are reused on streets all over town, but do not connect with each other. (What’s up with that?)
Jan is no Marsha, and Stephen will never be Alec. Fresno doesn’t have a Golden Gate bridge or frequent celebrity sightings, (unless Britney Spears’ second husband counts). But try finding a 4 bedroom home in San Francisco for under $1 million. And good luck driving even 1/2 mile in LA at 5:30pm on a Friday. Fresno is a great city that gets a bad rap, mostly from people who have never even been here. After living in this diverse, bustling town for three years, I am a total Fresno-convert. I can’t imagine raising my family anywhere else.
Molly quit her job and moved to Fresno from Sacramento three years ago, when she traded in her suits and heels for yoga pants. She is now a stay-at-home mom and freelance writer. Molly has been a featured writer for Sacramento lifestyle website Girls on the Grid, and a contributor for Central California Parent.
Did you like this? Would you like to share your own FresYes story?
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