|Romantic getaway? Poster in a thrift store in Bakersfield.|
Want to spend a weekend for two in California? Your options are many. You probably know them: Yosemite, Napa, La Jolla, San Francisco, Big Sur, Mendocino... My husband and I, for a romantic getaway in July, picked - Bakersfield.
What? my friends asked, Bakersfield? Did the hotel have a pool? (It did not.)
For those of you who are not from California, Bakersfield is a hot place. In July which is the warmest month highs average 96.9 °F (36.06 °C).
Then again, Bakersfield is not what you'd call a hot spot. The apparently once beautiful historical town center was almost entirely destroyed in an earthquake in 1952 (actually an aftershock to a shaker a month earlier); bland looking buildings replaced the ruined heritage (though some are rather colorful); malls and marts went up on the outskirts and drained the inner city of life (a fate Bakersfield shares with many cities in the U.S.).
According to the Wikipedia entry on Bakersfield the town is known for its pollution; it ranks high in percentage of obese people (33.6%, compared to the national average of 26.5%) and low in population with a bachelor's degree (14.7%, the lowest of the one hundred largest metropolitan areas in the United States).
|Hot, not a hot spot. Inner city.|
That said, many places with little to boast of have their solid restaurants and cool places to stay, the addresses we might call gems. So does Bakersfield with its population of almost 350.000.
Since you never know when life might take you there - here's what we found: the Hungry Hunter Steakhouse for dinner, the 24th Street Café for breakfast, and the Padre Hotel with its whimsical, tongue in cheek decor for the night. Have fun!
|Tongue in cheek decor. Reception area...|
|...and main entrance. The Padre Hotel, Bakersfield.|