Friday, May 9, 2014

A 'Hidden' Gem in the Central Valley

Last Saturday, Bryan took us on a surprise family outing. He had asked me to block off the day so that I didn't accidentally make other plans and come Saturday morning, off we were! 

Of course, we stopped on the way out of town to get a Java Heaven. I've really cut back on my Java Heaven trips so this was SUCH a treat. Bryan even got one. 

We ended up going to Exeter. It's a small town east of our hometown and is home to about 10,500 people. And apparently it's a hidden gem. It was even named one of the Top 15 Small Cities in California by Cities Journal! You can seriously tell that the city government is doing it's best to make the downtown area a little hipster hub, and they are succeeding! There are great shops, great restaurants and lots of history. It feels like a little Harry Potter area. No joke! I adore it.

After going to one thrift store and one furniture repurposing store, we decided we were ready to eat. We asked what place would be good and they gestured across the street to the Hometown Emporium. It's this cute little cafe and is also a bakery! They had a lunch special where you got a half sandwich, a pickle, a drink and a cookie. It was yummy!

Luckily, it was really kid friendly. Shepherd has gotten to the point where he is a little... loud. Also, he waves to EVERYONE. Everyone was so nice and would wave back. No dirty looks when he was 'talking' either. It was sweet. There was a lot to look at so he couldn't stay still!

Exeter has all kinds of murals everywhere. I so wish I would have taken more pictures! I'm glad I snapped this one at least. The town is known for it's orange trees (they are everywhere!), so this mural is extremely fitting. 

We saw a sign that there was the Rosebud festival in Three Rivers, so we headed further east. This is Kaweah lake. It is SO low. It makes me so sad that our water situation is so bad. This lake was always nice and full. I took there on the road where there is a bridge a lot of people, including Bryan, jump off. It's super high up. Now it's bone dry with just rocks underneath. So sad.

Here is the bridge and the road leading east, up to Three Rivers and below that, a few other pictures of the lake. I didn't take any pictures of the Rosebud festival because it was actually really small. We bought three jars of homemade jam: blueberry, strawberry and pluot. I also splurged a little and bought Shepherd a hand carved helicopter. It is so cute! I can't believe I haven't snapped a photo of it!

On our way back home, we stopped in Exeter again. I totally spaced at taking some pictures of the actual shops the first time, so I quickly snapped this one of a corner antique store and then of the flower shop/gift shop/book store. The reason for this stop was mainly to get TCBY!  I got so excited that they had one, but I wasn't ready for yogurt when we first went into town, so Bryan said we'd swing in on our way home. It was absolutely delicious and the store was so cute! If you ever find yourself near Exeter, make a stop at TCBY. They have the best frozen yogurt. Nothing else comes close.

I included this shot of my hair because I love it! I did a side braid and then pinned it into a bun. It kind of looks like a flower!  I also did a braid on the other side underneath the hair and then another in the middle top of my head. I loved it. It was perfect for the day.

We had such a great time and will definitely be back to Exeter really soon! Hope you guys have a great weekend! 


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