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The Best Things to Do Around Yosemite & The Inspiring Couples Behind Them

The Best Things to Do Around Yosemite & The Inspiring

Things to do in YosemiteAs a pair that gave up just about every part (home, job, group, most possessions, and so forth.) to comply with a dream, we’re at all times looking out for our tribe. We scoured the globe for badass touring duos to share their favourite place and piece of recommendation in our e book Ultimate Journeys for Two. We’ve made a degree to pen-pal and wine-Zoom with like-minded {couples} we’ve met in Argentina, Norway, Slovenia, Costa Rica, and different far-off locations to maintain that sense of group in our nomadic lives. Pairs like this may be laborious to return by, however one way or the other after we got here to Mariposa County, we met inspiring {couples} left and proper…a pair of promoting execs that ditched all of it for a cider apple farm…well being care professionals who determined they’d quite be restoring forgotten vineyards…San Francisco night time membership house owners who determined to deliver music and group to a ghost city. We have been initially planning to jot down a standard information on the perfect issues to do round Yosemite, however one thing larger appeared to be brewing behind the locations to remain, eat, and store. There is a whole lot of coronary heart behind these small companies and that’s what makes them must-see locations. Meet the artistic {couples} serving to make Mariposa top-of-the-line locations to discover in California!

Mariposa Museum: John & Jessie

Best things to do around Yosemite, visit the Mariposa Museum and Historic CenterHeading to the native museum is at all times a great way to know a brand new place—and Mariposa’s simply occurs to be the Smithsonian’s choose for “Best Little Museum in the West.” Walking into the Mariposa Museum and History Center, we were transported to a 19th-century general store selling provisions for gold miners and homesteaders, followed by a Miwok Native American dwelling covered in cedar bark, and rich California history at every turn. Our guide Chris walked us through Mariposa’s many eras, from Native American tribes to Spanish settlement to Mexican territory to the gold rush era that transformed California. “Though if there is one family that revolutionized Mariposa, it’s The Fremonts.” John Fremont was an early American explorer of the West and married a politician’s daughter and accomplished writer, Jessie Benton. In the mid 1800s congress funded his survey of the Oregon Trail, the Great Basin, and the Sierra Nevadas and together they authored best-selling travel guides (basically the Lonely Planet for Conestoga Wagons lol) to help the hundreds of thousands voyaging west. The Fremonts got one of the first land grants from Mexico: “Las Mariposas.” As luck would have it, their 40,000 acres would become the heart of gold country. Their wealth and influence earned him a Senate seat and their anti-slavery position helped secure his bid as the first-ever Republican candidate for president. But his allure was always them as a pair, even his political slogan was “Fremont and Jessie too.” Forward-thinkers, adventurers, and dynamic duo, John and Jessie are the foundation of the “Mother of all Counties.”

Travel Tip: Don’t miss the Mariposa Museum’s outdoor exhibits, which include a massive stamp mill, a working blacksmith shop, and the original Mariposa Gazette offices from 1854—California’s longest running weekly newspaper. (Check out this article they wrote about us).

Little Shop of Ramen & The Local Grape:
Travis & Melissa

Best things to do around YosemiteWe walked the principle avenue, admiring the Nineteenth-century buildings, charming retailers, and yummy resturants. In the oldest business constructing in Mariposa (est 1849) and beneath a neon signal that mentioned “Gold Coin” was a ramen restaurant and wine bar. It sounded so random, we needed to see it for our ourselves. The Little Shop of Ramen restaurant was juxtaposed with big historic murals of early explorers, and floor-to-ceiling racks of California wine. “Will you be joining us for lunch?” mentioned the co-owner Travis. When we noticed vegan ramen on the menu with slow-cooked shitake inventory, we have been offered. Travis went on to elucidate the wine choice and a bit about The Local Grape. He curates the perfect wine choices from the eight counties that make up the Sierra Foothills AVA and is engaged on his very personal blends with grapes he harvests from forgotten vineyards with the assistance of Mariposa-born and wine-making rockstar, Michael Moore. Today Travis and his spouse Melissa are merging their ardour for wine and Japanese dwelling cooking with this restaurant that’s shaking up Central Californian delicacies. “Ramen is such a good food for the soul…comfort food,” says Melissa who grew up in a Japanese-American family. “And wine,” says Travis, “well, it makes you smile.” We can’t consider a greater mixture or a extra lovable pair to deliver them collectively.

Travel Tip: In different enjoyable details, ask Travis concerning the days when the constructing had an upstairs brothel and a tunnel system that went to the mines and a 150-year-old Catholic church. This place is filled with superb tales! And on the subject of having fun with the perfect of their delicacies, rating a Tuesday reservation for his or her weekly Omakase dinner and wine pairing.

Sierra Cider: Dana & David

Best things to do around Yosemite, Sierra CiderOn a sunny fall day, nothing sounded higher than a cider tasting in a century-old apple orchard. The earlier house owners Beth and Dave Lancaster have been quietly selecting their 800 apple timber and crafting cider for eating places for many years however their pretty orchard wasn’t open to the general public till they handed the reigns to Dana Tiel and David Bailey in 2021. As a younger couple who moved from LA, they’re the primary to confess they’d rather a lot to study farming. “We never would have taken over this farm if Dave & Beth weren’t right next door and willing to teach us how to grow apples and make great cider.” With a can-do angle, artistic promoting background, and love of occasion planning, Dana & David turned the model into the vacation spot cidery it was meant to be. We drove down their tree-lined highway and instantly felt these heat and fuzzy fall vibes. Sierra Cider’s shipping-container tasting room has been revamped with reclaimed wooden partitions, a glass storage door, and a roof deck that appears over their 16 acres. Dana and David greeted us like outdated buddies and supplied up a sampler of their enjoyable blends on faucet: Sneaky Tiki (rum notes), Breakfast (trace of maple), and Chunky Sweater (mulled spices, prepared for the vacations). We took our flight to their patio, embellished with all issues fall and contemplated which sport to play first…large Jenga, Connect Four, ladder ball, shuffleboard, to not point out, hay rides and the wood-fired pizza oven have been about to spark up. Sierra Cider’s tasting room could solely be open on Fridays and Saturdays, however when they’re…they’re throwing it down with meals vans, s’mores roasting, and main occasions like their Tortured Orchard Halloween Extravaganza. (Follow their Instagram, these two are hysterical and clearly having a lot enjoyable down on the farm.)

Travel Tip: For an insider expertise, e book a private tasting and orchard tour on Airbnb Experiences, or higher but keep in a single day of their Barn Loft to have the place to your self any day of the week!

The Grove House: Nate & Rosalyn

best things to do around yosemite, grove house music venueMariposa on a weekend means superior acts are taking part in at The Grove House. The proprietor Nate Pyle grew up on the town, went off to varsity in Arizona, then simply as he and his girlfriend Rosalyn have been graduating, a business area went up on the market in Mariposa. They determined to show their love of music into a brand new life collectively. With their prime location, midway between the music hubs of LA and San Francisco, the Pyles knew that in the event that they created a stellar area with craft beers and farm-to-table meals, they have been effectively positioned to draw stable acts. On high of that, Mariposa yearned for a artistic group area. “This town is full of incredible artists and craftsman,” mentioned Nate. “They just needed a place to showcase their work, to find each other, and have a gathering place where all are welcome and feel safe to meet and share ideas.” During our night time at The Grove House, it was a pleasant mix of locals and worldwide vacationers in mountain climbing boots, gathered round their 16-tap bar and people musicians taking part in acoustic and slide guitars. Nate got here as much as say hello and see how we favored our vegan Squashed Squash Sandwich and the Ted Nunes Band, and we felt proper at dwelling.

Mariposa Trails: Bill & Beth

Volunteering in Yosemite with Mariposa TrailsAfter our wild night time on the Grove House (and the awesomely divey Hideout Saloon), it was an early morning on the Alder Creek Trailhead. But with Yosemite National Park’s 748,000 acres and the adjoining Sierra National Forest’s 1.3 million acres, Bill King and Beth Kellner of Mariposa Trails want as many volunteers as they’ll get. On the facet of the highway, they laid out the work instruments (hoes, loppers, and extractigators) we might use to deal with the invasive species and trail-crowding timber alongside the 22-mile path. Alongside locals, ranging in age from 20 to 70, we slung our instruments over our shoulders and walked right into a facet of the park most vacationers by no means see. Along the way in which, Bill stopped to level out varied “tree blazes,” path markings from the area’s earliest keepers. We noticed a “T” for troops, and Bill took it as a chance to present a studying from the world’s early explorers, detailing accounts of the bountiful flora, fauna, and towering peaks of the Sierra Nevadas. He didn’t simply deliver us out right here for the free labor, he needed us to fall in love with the land. “Restoring trails is a means to building community,” Bill later informed me between swinging a hoe. “Beth and I love knitting people together with nature and each other…and we both like getting our hands in the dirt.” Trail upkeep is difficult work, however I wasn’t about to decelerate seeing this couple on their arms and knees chopping incense cedar saplings (a infamous tinder for forest fires). When lunchtime got here, we sat along with mud on our faces, laughing about our battles with deerbrush roots and small victories saving sugar pine saplings. We have been not a bunch of attorneys, waitresses, bloggers, and retirees, we have been a crew.

Travel Tip: You can be part of Mariposa Trails most Wednesdays and Saturdays for these rewarding trail-maintenance hikes. Check out their volunteer work schedule and multi-day adventures with these Yosemite insiders.

Yosemite National Park: Shelly & Corey

Best things to do around Wawona yosemiteOne of our fellow volunteer path employees was a Yosemite park ranger…who was married to a park ranger! We have been so struck by the truth that Shelly and her husband Corey have been already dedicating their lives to serving this wilderness space, and but even on her time off she was doing group service for the park. As we yanked invasive species, she informed me about their authentic dream to get stationed in Yosemite Valley with El Capitan and Half Dome trying over them. Though as destiny would have it, she informed me, “We now work and live in Wawona, the most beautiful quiet gem of Yosemite.” This space is the oldest settlement within the park and residential to the Yosemite History Center, the place cabins of many Nineteenth-century panorama artists and early environmental advocates resided, dozens of beautiful hikes start, and never many vacationers go. We took her recommendation to discover Wawona, with a enjoyable riverbed rock scramble as much as Chilnualna Falls and a dip within the stunning Swinging Bridge swimming gap. Instead of spending all our time inside the enduring Valley, we too found the serene facet of Yosemite.

Travel Tip: To shake the crowds and revel in old-growth forest, hike the Guardian’s Loop path above the Mariposa Grove of Giant Sequoias and take the time to drive California’s highest freeway, Tioga Pass, for unimaginable mountain views and the beautiful Tenaya Lake.

Skydive Yosemite: Paul & Julia

skydiving near yosemiteI’ve at all times been on the fence about skydiving, however the likelihood to take a scenic flight over Yosemite National Park then freefall over this iconic swath of terrain, instantly made it sound like an incredible thought. Butterflies have been definitely circling round my abdomen as we pulled into the Mariposa Airport, however the workforce at Skydive Yosemite has a means of placing folks relaxed. Co-founders Paul and Julia Wignall met working at Yosemite in 1996 and have become associates over their love of journey sports activities. Their paths diverged for a number of years whereas Paul toured Europe as an excellent mannequin, working for the likes of Valentino and Gucci, however he at all times saved in contact with Julia—who was working her personal trend model within the States! Destined to be intertwined in life, love, and journey, they began working within the skydiving business collectively and in the end bought married and had youngsters. When they noticed a chance to develop into the primary skydiving operation within the Yosemite space, they knew it was meant to be. Julia, who’s the parachute rigger and drop-zone organizer bought us prepared for takeoff and Paul (who’s achieved over 9,000 jumps) made positive our instructors and pilot have been able to rock. “We couldn’t run this operation without each other,” mentioned Paul. Next factor we knew, we have been loading right into a Cessna and hovering to 14,000 toes (their highest drop zone). We did a sweep of Yosemite Valley to see Half Dome and El Cap in all their glory and get amped for the wild experience forward. “How do you want jump?” requested my teacher. “If you don’t want to look down, you can lock eyes with Mike and we can just backflip out the door.” Sounded smart sufficient and out we went, squealing and smiling all the way in which down. Watch our unimaginable 60-second freefall over Yosemite, studying to deploy and steer a parachute, and the stoked look on our faces.

Travel Tip: Skydive Yosemite has a totally kitted out and super cute campervan for rent. Mix up your lodging and adventures in Yosemite for a pair nights with style of VanLife!

Coulter Cafe & General Store: Dawn & Kim

Coulter Cafe and owners Kim and DawnDriving the historic Highway 49, the switchback highway that connects California’s authentic gold rush cities, we reached Coulterville on the north finish of the county. Once a inhabitants of 5,000 folks with 10 accommodations and 25 saloons, the present headcount is round 125 folks. We strolled previous false-front buildings with wood balconies and swinging doorways, peeked into vintage shops and dusty bars, and solely handed a handful of individuals—however each greeted us with a “Good morning” or a “How’s it going.” Coulterville made Reader’s Digest’s record of “Nicest Places in America” and life companions and co-owners of the Coulter Cafe & General Store have rather a lot to do with that. When Dawn Huston & Kim Brisack moved to city in 2015, shortly after locals misplaced their primary hangout spot in a hearth, they determined to make use of their background as nonprofit employees and group organizers, to show the outdated retailer into the brand new hub. “We saw a huge potential for the cafe to be a place where the community could come together and also attract people from metropolitan areas,” mentioned Dawn. “We wanted it to be a place that appealed to a wide variety of people, so it was important to have vegan, gluten free, and organic options in addition to our comfort food.” Come summer season weekends, they host concert events on their spacious patio, the place all of the proceeds go to native non-profits. “We don’t really make any money here,” mentioned Dawn. “But it’s a good community resource. And that makes me really happy.” We went into the shop for lunch and realized it was additionally the customer heart. What began as a mission to get a roasted-mushroom sandwich was a full-on journey planning session with the man behind the counter. He despatched us off with maps and a plan to camp and kayak on the waterfront websites alongside Lake McSwain. Dawn and Kim are at the moment within the course of of coaching two of their workers to be the brand new house owners. “Over the next two years we are mentoring them in all aspects of running a business, the specifics of the cafe/store and the importance of being a good community member,” mentioned Kim. It’s already working.

Travel Tip: Be positive to catch Coulter Cafe’s Summer Sunday concert events and comply with their Facebook page for extra occasions like visitor chef brunches. In 2023, Coulterville’s historic Jeffrey Hotel is having its grand reopening, so you possibly can spend the night time after a number of drinks of their 1850s saloon.

Good Vibes

Yosemite Nation and HoneyTrekWe at all times say that within the scheme of the world’s prettiest locations, the most stunning come right down to the folks. There’s one thing particular occurring in Mariposa County, and the UNESCO World Heritage Park is just the start. Stay awhile and the locals’ ardour for this place and their willingness to share it offers Mariposa County its particular sauce.

Best Things to Do Around Yosemite

best things to do around yosemite




For extra of our favourite pics and enjoyable details about larger Yosemite, see our Facebook gallery.

Big because of Yosemite Nation for inviting HoneyTrek to go to and share the story of this inspiring group! To present our gratitude to the folks of Mariposa County, now we have donated to the next organizations: Yosemite Climbing Association, Mariposa Trails, and The Mariposa Community Foundation.

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