OF KAWEAH COUNTRY
STAYCATION — It’s the
buzzword of Summer 2008. With record-high gas
prices, many are choosing to spend their summer
vacation close to home. In addition, the decline
in the value of the U.S. dollar against the
euro has lured a record number of international
travelers to American shores where national
parks are a priority destination.
Whether the visitors are coming
from near or far, the BEST OF KAWEAH COUNTRY
compiles the results of the spring readers’
poll in one informative and entertaining issue
that serves as a guide when choosing where to
eat, shop, play, spend the night, socialize,
Thank you to those who took the
time to complete and submit a poll, a record
number of which were received again this year.
And the winners are…
There’s nothing more unnerving for a family
eating out than a restaurant that isn’t
kid-friendly. So when it comes to family dining
it takes one to know one, and the Sequoia Cider
Mill Restaurant and its extended family is at
your service, and according to TKC readers,
doing the best job of ensuring a memorable family
Martha creates the same home-cooked cuisine
that her family has prepared at home for generations.
“When you visit our restaurant, we treat
you just like family,” said Efrain Ponce,
the host and co-owner. “Come check out
our new deck. The view really captures why we
are all here in beautiful Three Rivers.”
The Gateway Restaurant and the
Pizza Factory are also among the best when it
comes to great family dining. When the kids
are happy, mom and dad are happy, too!
How many romances in the history of mankind
have been kindled over a first date at dinner?
Add into the equation an unsurpassed riverfront
table where the Middle and East forks of the
Kaweah River meet in scenic splendor.
Is it any wonder why the Gateway
Restaurant, with its unmatched setting, is the
perennial favorite in this category? And Glenn
McIntyre and his vibrant staff will cater to
the whim of even the most hopeless romantic.
“All we overlook at the Gateway is the
river,” Glenn likes to say.
Other favorites with the lovebird set include
a park getaway to the elegant Wuksachi Lodge
restaurant and the casual but comfortable deck
at the Silver City Mountain Resort where many
a love connection has been made.
Location, location, location. The Gateway is
simply the best location in the Kaweah Country
nation. Year after year, that riverfront setting
just can’t be beat.
The best of all the rest include
the Sequoia Cider Mill and the River View restaurants.
In Three Rivers, eating out on the deck or patio
is a breath of fresh air!
A dozen eateries and even Three Rivers Market
and Jerky This received votes in this all-important
category. Every vendor who sells food knows
in these uncertain economic times most customers
nowadays are on a budget.
Be creative, be fair, and have
something on the menu that’s good bang
for the buck. The best there is in Three Rivers
serving up tasty food with big portions is Sequoia
Other menu values that are worthy
of a mention may be found at Super Taco (Woodlake),
Sierra Subs & Salads, Serrano’s Mexican
Restaurant, The Buckaroo, We Three Bakery &
Restaurant, Pizza Factory, and Anne Lang’s
TO GO WHEN
SOMEONE ELSE PAYS
A wise man once said: “Never refuse an
act of kindness because the one who gives gets
far more than the one who receives.”
When someone says, “It’s
my treat,” it’s practically un-American
not to go for broke or at least order the highest
priced entrée on the menu.
In Kaweah Country, for good eats
when someone else pays it’s a two-horse
race. Perennial favorites Gateway and Wuksachi
are clearly the class of the lot and the hands-down
choice when someone else pays.
Some readers suggested a round
at the Three Rivers Golf Course, and we always
appreciate the outside-the-box responses. The
$13 weekday green fees used to seem pricey to
play nine holes, but that was before milk and
gas both eclipsed $4 a gallon. Now 13 bucks
is a bargain to play one of the most scenic
courses this side of Pebble Beach.
BREAKFAST / BRUNCH
When it comes to the morning meal, We Three
Bakery & Restaurant has no peer and is the
perennial numero uno in Three Rivers. Cider
Mill, on the strength of its breakfast burritos,
and Gateway, with its killer brunch, finished
in a dead heat for second best among all the
We Three took another first in this category
thanks to old favorites like their famous tofu
scramble. Both Serrano’s and Sierra Subs
received plenty of votes and kudos from the
A couple of wishful thinkers could
only pine for a bona fide vegetarian restaurant
when pondering this specific category that is
more often than not left blank. “I have
a dream,” wrote one voter.
There are three very good Mexican restaurants
in Kaweah Country and their menu selections
are as diverse as the states of old Mexico.
Serrano’s, with a bigger and better menu,
scored an impressive win this year with Cider
Mill and Super Taco (Woodlake) dividing the
“We made a point to get back to the favorites
that made our Fresno restaurants so popular,”
said Aurelia, Serrano’s co-owner. “We
even had Hector’s father, one of the founders
of Toledo’s, come in and cook recently
just to remind our staff the right way to do
things. It has made a very noticeable difference
and really spiced up our presentation.”
For more than a decade, and a certainty in every
poll of Commonwealth readers, the beat just
goes on for Todd Tashiro’s Pizza Factory.
They toss ‘em and they are consistently
awesome, according to voters.
Everybody loves pizza, and residents
and visitors alike can also get a great pie
at this years’ runner-up River View. For
the take-and-bake variety, there’s this
year’s third-place finisher, Sierra Subs.
Take away all the rest because neck-and-neck
for the very best are Sierra Subs and Anne Lang’s
Emporium. It’s incredible to believe,
but out of the hundreds of votes cast, Sierra
Subs won out by just two votes!
What’s so special about a
sandwich? It’s the bread and everything
in between. Whether it’s Laura’s
place or Annie’s, each creation is a real
piece of work with lots of good, fresh taste.
Pizza Factory gets an honorable
mention for their hot subs on fresh-baked bread.
There’s a reason trans fats are going
to soon be banned in California eateries. Healthy
is in, so what better way to get all the food
groups with a reduced calorie count and fresh
presentation than a scrumptious salad? Around
this town, Sierra Subs does it best with varieties
like Chinese chicken and a big fat Greek.
Wuksachi in Sequoia National Park
is the runner-up with Gateway coming in third.
Both of these fine restaurants make their salads
with a flair and are proof positive that there
is so much more to a good salad than iceberg
DESSERT / BAKED GOODS / ICE CREAM
These categories are no brainers but tough to
call because there are so many sweet treats
and so little time. Reimer’s Candies is
the overall winner, making world famous sweet
treats for more than 50 years. Their ice cream
is as homemade as it gets and has been a local
favorite for three generations.
For baked goods, We Three has no
peer, but upstart Buckaroo is mounting a serious
alternative with its piping hot cinnamon rolls.
For pies baked fresh daily, the
trip up to Silver City Mountain Resort is well
worth the effort. The fresh fruit pies are made
from scratch. Silver City serves only Maverick’s
finest roasted coffee to wash that pie down.
“We’re trying to buy local products
like Bravo cheese and Village Market beef. We
prefer to serve local foods whenever we can,”
said Forrest Jones, Silver City’s general
In the past few years, this critical category
has alternated between the River View and Gateway
restaurants, who finished second and third,
respectively, in 2008. There’s a new burger
on the block and it resides at The Buckaroo.
The overwhelming choice for BEST
burger is really not much of a surprise because
it’s the creation of Dan Bullene, a fixture
on the local cuisine scene for three decades.
The $6.95 Angus Burger, grilled slow with a
slice of onion and served with all the trimmings
on a home-baked Kaiser roll is as good as it
The grill acumen of Forrest Jones
at Silver City gets an honorable mention as
does the Cider Mill’s burger offering.
Efrain Ponce at the Cider Mill cooks his grilled
entrees over olive and orange wood and slow
cooking imparts some very distinct grilled flavor.
Gateway wins this BEST man food category. Rib
eye, New York, top sirloin or filet mignon;
it’s beef at its best and it’s what’s
Wuksachi in Sequoia and Orange Blossom Junction
at Merryman Station finished second and third,
respectively. The flat iron sirloin at the Orange
Blossom is a real crowd pleaser.
Sierra Subs is the clear winner in this category
because they do it BEST by making the feast
more movable. What’s the most popular
item on the menu?
“I think it’s a toss up between
the Black Bear [roast beef with Ortega chiles]
and the Cherry Falls [chicken, ham, and Swiss
cheese with a honey mustard vinaigrette],”
said Holly Snarr, a Sierra sub maker.
Pizza Factory and Anne Lang’s
finished second and third, respectively.
Kudos to Gateway for offering green
to-go containers for a slight charge. Leave
the Styrofoam behind, folks, because it’s
better for you and the environment, too!
For the very best ribs, chicken, links, and
tri-tip voters, recommend heading to Village
Market. These BBQ chefs grill over mountain
oak and finish first annually in this category
because nobody makes it tastier or easier to
add a scrumptious meat to your next dinner or
picnic in the park.
The Buckaroo finished second because
in addition to their BEST burgers they barbecue
a veggie burger and buffalo burger, too! Rack
‘Em Out in Lemon Cove finished third on
the strength of their great tri-tip and chicken
Locally-brewed java is BEST when sipping The
Buckaroo’s “Uncommon Grounds.”
They brew it fresh and keep the latte and espresso
crowd buzzing. They also have gourmet teas,
chai, and decaf with homemade breakfast treats,
Silver City finished number two
with its brew supplied by Maverick’s Roasting
Company in Visalia; customers can buy whole
beans and ground coffee for their mountain experience,
too. Cider Mill finished third with a Douwe
When you have that special day, event, or affair,
who are you going to call? The best in Kaweah
Country of the commercial caterers is Sierra
Subs. Their freshly-prepared feasts can satisfy
any occasion from fancy to casual.
Maria Avila Reimer of Three Rivers,
whose vegetarian and Mexican specialties are
always in demand, finished with an astounding
number of votes as runner-up.
Gateway and the White Horse Inn,
who can also set a classy table for any affair
finished in a dead heat for third place.
Souvenirs are the all-important possession that
grace every home and serve as a reminder of
and talking point for every vacation. When a
store contains “Souvenir” in its
name, it’s safe to say that just the right
memory will be found there.
Sequoia Gifts & Souvenirs is
definitely the BEST bet, as folks overwhelmingly
voted for this three-year-old Three Rivers shop.
Three Rivers Drug came in second; Silver City
was third (they’ve got stuffed marmot
toys, for goodness sake). Other places to pick
up a keepsake are Lodgepole Market and other
Sequoia National Park outlets, Heart’s
Desire, and Reimer’s Candies.
By an overwhelming margin of votes, Three Rivers
Mercantile corners the market on where to stock
up to play outside. A smattering of votes was
also received for Lodgepole Market, Three Rivers
Market, Kaweah General Store, and Rack ‘Em
Out (Lemon Cove).
Three Rivers Mercantile also won this category,
but had some competition. Rack ‘Em Out
and Kaweah General Store came in second and
third, respectively, as good stops for anglers
heading for the river or lake. Voters recommend
also bait-buying at the Kaweah Marina at Lake
Everybody loves a good deal. Here’s where
to find them in Three Rivers.
The Thingerie, the thrift shop
that earns funds for the Three Rivers Woman’s
Club, takes first place in this category every
year and 2008 is no exception. Tied for second
place, find some bang for your buck at Three
Rivers Mercantile and My Sister’s Closet.
And we love it when voters come up with something
new like these suggestions: Local yard sales,
local fruit stands, and Jerky This.
Heart’s Desire won this category and is
obviously becoming the favorite shopping destination
of many. Sequoia Gifts and the once-a-year Redbud
Festival took second and third, respectively.
Voters say that other places to
find handcrafted quality include: Rio Canyon
Rugs, Senior League Bazaar, and Kaweah Artisans
Whether for someone right next door or on the
other side of the world, the BEST place to buy
them a gift is at Sequoia Gifts & Souvenirs.
And since they are an authorized UPS shipping
outlet; they can get it where it needs to go
Second place goes to Heart’s
Desire. Votes were also received for: St. Anthony
Retreat gift shop, Three Rivers Drug, Three
Rivers Mercantile, Rosemary’s Remembrances,
Redbud Festival, Rio Canyon Rugs, Chump’s
Videos & DVDs, My Sister’s Closet,
Anne Lang’s Emporium.
Poll respondents like to check what’s
new with the old at Rosemary’s Remembrances.
Barby’s and the Lemon Cove Antique Shops
tied for second place as the places to find
an heirloom treasure.
Nobody goes home from vacation without at least
one new T-shirt proclaiming where they’ve
been or what they’ve done. The place to
buy shirts that BEST describe the trip is Sequoia
Gifts & Souvenirs. Coming in a very close
second is Three Rivers Drug, followed by Three
Rivers Market, Heart’s Desire, Lodgepole
Market, and Silver City.
Locals won out on this competitive category
in which everyone has an opinion. The Ladybug
Trail, this year’s BEST hike, begins at
the end of South Fork Drive, 13 miles from Highway
The foothills zone of Sequoia National Park
offers hiking opportunities in winter and spring,
before the oppressive heat of summer arrives.
Although clear, sunny days lift the spirits
and offer incomparable vistas, anytime in these
seasons is a good time to hit the low-elevation
The hike from South Fork Campground
to Ladybug Camp is less than two miles and is
rewarding for so little effort. The elevation
gain is less than 1,000 feet.
Here are some other hikes that
pollsters recommend: BLM-Skyline Drive, Middle
Fork Trail, Marble Falls, Eagle Lake, Congress
Trail, Farewell Gap, Moro Rock, Crystal Cave,
Franklin Lakes, White Chief, Tokopah Falls,
Crescent Meadow, Sawtooth Peak, Pear Lake, Azalea,
Two challenging bike rides tied for the most
votes, showing the mettle of the pedal pushers
around here. Take your two wheels and head for
the Bureau of Land Management’s property
at the end of Skyline Drive and head out toward
Salt Creek and Case Mountain for some dirt road
For an on-road challenge, voters
picked the Mineral King Road. One intelligent
voter added “down” to this preference,
which definitely has its perks, such as faster
and much less effort than the 25 miles and 6,700
feet vertical elevation gain on the up-route.
Other favorite bike rides are: Kaweah River
Drive, North Fork Drive, Yokohl Valley, South
Fork Drive, Generals Highway, and Three Rivers
And every year, a renegade or two
votes for the Colony Mill Road. Since that route
is within the boundaries of Sequoia National
Park and the “road” is now technically
a trail, it’s closed to bikes (which is
a travesty for local riders who definitely need
more off-road routes).
It’s another tie, this time between Sequoia
National Park (which we assume means the main
part of the park) and Mineral King (part of
Sequoia, but off the beaten path).
Pack the picnic basket and head
out to these specific locations as selected
by this year’s voters: Hospital Rock,
Lake Kaweah, Crescent Meadow, Potwisha, Pinewood
Picnic Area, Slick Rock, Giant Forest, Zumwalt
Pitch the tent at Cold Spring Campground in
Mineral King, voters say. If the area’s
bruins tend to make you wary, rangers report
that bear activity in the campground for the
past two years has been almost nonexistent.
Campers seem to be finally getting the message
that it’s just not acceptable to feed
Other favorite spots to sleep under
the stars and make s’mores by firelight
are: Buckeye Flat, Atwell Mill, Kaweah Park
Resort, Cedar Grove, Grant Grove/Azalea, Potwisha,
Dorst, Three Rivers Hideaway, Lodgepole, Hume
PLACE TO TAKE THE KIDS
The National Park Service has been concerned
recently that not enough children are visiting
national parks. Obviously, that’s not
a problem in Three Rivers.
The BEST place to take the kids
is Sequoia National Park, so voted by an overwhelming
landslide. Other places that are recommended
by voters for a kids’ outing are: Mineral
King/Silver City, Edison swimming hole, Slicky,
Chump’s Videos & DVDs, houseboating,
My Place playground, Ladybug meadow, Lake Kaweah,
Three Rivers Library, Wildcat Haven (Squaw Valley),
Crystal Cave, Slick Rock, Pizza Factory, Vacation
LOCAL HERO /
This is a new category this year
and we originally intended to not declare a
winner, but instead to just list everyone, since
being of service to the community is not a contest.
But the winner of this category is so deserving,
has been serving Three Rivers for decades longer
than anyone else listed, and received more than
two times the votes of anyone else that he just
has to be singled out.
Pat O’Connell, Three Rivers’s
one-man emergency road crew, who just recently
retired from his 44-year career as a local tow-truck
operator, is this year’s BEST local hero.
Here are the other selfless citizens
who work daily to make Three Rivers a better
place: Volunteer Ambulance Crew and Firefighters,
Sue Sherwood, Tom Sparks, Estelle Christensen,
Pastor Warren L. Campbell (1926-2008; he passed
away after the votes were tallied), Alexandra
Picavet, Gary Cort, Louise Jackson, Margie Ewen,
Scott Mullikin, Bill Haxton/Ken Elias (“for
Concert on the Grass”), TCCRG (Tulare
County Citizens for Responsible Growth), Johanna
Kamansky, Dennis Villavicencio, Jim Fansett,
Glenn McIntyre, Sandy Owen, Jack and Joyce Nielsen,
“Our Place” moms, and Melanie Keeley.
We had all intentions that this new category
be for local businesses who return a portion
of their profits to the community. But a few
nonprofits slipped in and they, too, are deserving
of mention for the dollars they contribute to
advance the quality of life here. The Thingerie,
the Three Rivers Woman’s Club’s
thrift shop received the most votes. Also garnering
votes are these fine businesses: Sequoia Gifts
& Souvenirs, Pat O’Connell’s
Towing, Flora Bella Farm, Cort Gallery, Rio
Canyon Rug, Chump’s Videos and DVDs, 3
Rivers Cyber Café, Gateway Restaurant
and Lodge, and The Kaweah Commonwealth.
Other nonprofits that received
consideration are: Three Rivers Ambulance, Three
Rivers Lions Club, Three Rivers Historical Society,
Tulare County Fire Department / Cal Fire, St.
Anthony Retreat, and Three Rivers Bread Basket.
This is a category that is destined to grow
in size as the years go by. More and more local
businesses will be discovering that an important
ingredient in the recipe for success is conservation.
One Earth Solar came out on top, which makes
sense, as owner John Sturdevant is taking Three
Rivers off the electrical grid one customer
at a time.
Silver City received second place.
Think about it: the resort consists of cabins,
chalets, a store, restaurant, hot showers, fresh-from-the-oven
pies and ice-cold drinks, all without the benefit
of electricity. Ingenuity abounds here.
Voters also gave credit to these
others who are doing their part for the planet:
Sierra Home Performance, Sierra Garden Center,
Bank of the Sierra, National Park Service-Sequoia,
Sequoia Gifts & Souvenirs, Cort Gallery,
California Native Plant Society-Alta Peak Chapter,
Kaweah White Water Adventures, Heart’s
Desire, Ramon’s Recycling, Three Rivers
Construction, Three Rivers Mercantile.
HOTEL / MOTEL
This category proves more challenging for the
locals to vote upon as they don’t tend
to stay in the hotels. But there is a lot of
input from out-of-town participants.
This year, Buckeye Tree Lodge won
this honor as they did in 2006. It’s easy
to imagine why: it’s a riverfront property
with swimming pool, within easy walking distance
to a restaurant, is the motel nearest to the
Sequoia Park entrance, and the meticulous owners
have upgraded the property and care about their
Comfort Inn & Suites came in
second and Lazy J, last year’s winner
took a close third. Others worthy of mention
that received votes are: River Inn & Cabins,
Western Holiday Lodge, Sequoia Motel, Sequoia
Village Inn, Wuksachi Lodge, and Gateway.
BED & BREAKFAST
Every year, this category is competitive as
local B&B owners distribute polls to their
clientele who, in such an intimate setting,
become friends by the end of their stay.
Almost too close to call, Three
Rivers Bed & Breakfast eked out the lead
in what was a neck-in-neck-in-neck race between
Sequoia River Dance Bed & Breakfast (second
place) and Plantation Bed & Breakfast in
Lemon Cove (third place).
Others receiving votes are Rio
Sierra Riverhouse*, Younger Mountain House Lodge*,
Wicky-Up Ranch (Woodlake), Log House Lodge*,
Cort Cottage, Organic Gardens, River Oak Haven*.
(*Newcomers in 2008 to the local B&B scene.)
This is such an important consideration when
trying to plan a vacation with kids in tow.
The right accommodations can make all the difference
between the perfect getaway and the vacation
Buckeye Tree Lodge snuck off with
this category this year, dethroning perennial
winner Comfort Inn & Suites (previously
Holiday Inn Express), which came in second.
Wuksachi Lodge pulled off third place, which
is well-deserved as there is no better place
to take the entire family for a vacation than
Sequoia National Park, where all-inclusive means
mountains, rivers, meadows, wildlife, and plenty
of room to roam.
Other vote-getters are: River Inn
& Cabins, Lazy J Ranch Motel, Silver City
Mountain Resort, Sequoia Motel, Kaweah Park
Resort, Western Holiday Lodge, Sequoia River
Dance B&B, Three Rivers B&B, and River
Voters like the rustic elegance, the luxurious
wildness, the mountain splendor of Silver City
Mountain Resort. Celebrating 80 years next season
(2009) of accommodating mountain travelers in
the Mineral King area, the resort is under new
ownership this year.
Connie Pillsbury, who has had a
hand in running the place since 1981, sold the
resort last winter. The new owners — High
Sierra Conservation Resorts Inc. — found
the most knowledgeable general manager in Connie’s
son, Forrest Jones, who was practically raised
at the resort and is now a fixture there.
Coming in second is Lake Elowin
Resort on Dinely Drive, and third place goes
to Kaweah Park Resort. Other area cabins receiving
acknowledgment from voters are: River Inn &
Cabins, Bearpaw High Sierra Camp, Hill Haven,
Sequoia Village Inn, Grant Grove, Paradise Cabins
(Mineral King Road), and Kaweah Park Resort.
ROOM WITH A VIEW
Everybody who lives in Three Rivers has this
quirky preference of wanting rooms with views.
This is because we live in one of the most view-worthy
places in the entire Sierra Nevada Mountains.
It’s important to us that our visitors
receive this same amenity.
So where can you best soak in the
sights without leaving the bed?
Newcomer Rio Sierra Riverhouse on the Middle
Fork of the Kaweah River won out. Their newly-renovated
lodging facility, just upriver from the popular
Slicky swimming hole, has spectacular views
of the river and surrounding foothills from
nearly every angle.
Also receiving votes are: Silver
City, with some respondents making a point to
mention the Paradise Ridge Chalet and the Shooting
Star Chalet, St. Anthony Retreat, Younger Mountain
House Lodge, Bearpaw High Sierra Camp, Western
Holiday Lodge, Buckeye Tree Lodge, Sequoia River
Dance B&B, Three Rivers B&B, Sierra
Lodge, and Sequoia Motel.
PLACE TO MEET PEOPLE
River View Restaurant & Lounge wins this
category hands down for the fifth consecutive
year. They’ve got the riverside patio
to hang out on and live entertainment almost
nonstop in the summertime. They’re known
far and wide, so visitors meet locals, patrons
meet musicians, males meet females… you
get the picture.
The Gateway Restaurant, always
a strong competitor in this category, actually
was the reason the River View didn’t win
back in ‘03. Gateway came in second in
‘08. Other places to make new friends,
according to voters, are: The Buckaroo, Three
Rivers Memorial Building/Town Hall Meeting,
Jazzaffair, hiking, Silver City Mountain Resort,
Three Rivers Mercantile, Sequoia Gifts, Sequoia
National Park, Three Rivers Post Office, Kaweah
River Drum Circle, Chump’s Videos &
DVDs, the river, church, and Dr. Mosley’s
office, which is definitely new to this category,
but we can understand because people do love
to chat it up while in the dentist’s chair
with a drill hovering (actually, there is an
extremely comfortable waiting room with a river
Three Rivers is home base for quite a few bands,
but the breakout band that is known ‘round
the world, but also remains the hometown favorite
is the High Sierra Jazz Band.
Here are voters’ other favorites
that everyone should take the time to hear while
they’re still playing the small venues:
Mankin Creek, Huddleston Brothers, Wadaba and
the West African Drum Ensemble, Still Water,
Blue Lightning, Faena Brava, and Buckeye Flatts.
Because of that nonstop live entertainment mentioned
in the “place to meet people” category,
River View was voted the BEST entertainment
venue. There are bands every Friday and Saturday
night, Sunday afternoons on the river, and the
popular Monday Night Jam, which is improv for
Second place is the Orange Blossom
Junction in the flatland near the Exeter turnoff.
They have some impressive contacts and have
been pulling in some well-known guitar-playing
Other local favorites to keep boredom
at bay are: Lions Arena, Chump’s Videos
& DVDs, Serrano’s, The Buckaroo, Three
Rivers Memorial Building, St. Anthony Retreat,
and The Gateway.
The name of this category was changed this year
from “Annual Event” to “Local.”
That was so it would open up the field to include
something that had been held during the past
year that was not necessarily a yearly occurrence.
It didn’t matter because
the Big Three still stayed at the fore: Jazzaffair
(first place), Redbud Festival (second place),
and Roping (third place).
But because of the new wording
of this category, there are also these BEST
events that received votes: Monday Night Jam,
Artists’ Studio Tour, Three Rivers Environmental
Weekend, and Kaweah River Drum Circle.
Other annual events garnering votes
are: Three Rivers Carnival, Concert on the Grass,
and the Fourth of July Talent Show at Silver
The place to be happiest for an hour or so is
Gateway. Battling it out for second place is
River View. Rounding out the field are: Wuksachi
and Orange Blossom Junction.
OUT & ABOUT
PLACE TO TAKE
I think we all know the answer to this one.
Even though your houseguests may tell you they
are coming to Three Rivers just to visit you,
the real reason they are coming is to see Sequoia
National Park (first place).
People also voted for certain places
within Sequoia: Mineral King/Silver City, Kings
Canyon Highway, Wuksachi Lodge, Crystal Cave,
and Moro Rock.
Other vote-getters are: Swimming
holes/the river, Reimer’s Candies, and
Discoveries West Gallery & Archives.
Generals Highway won this category in 2003,
2004, 2005, and 2007. The Mineral King Road
stole it away in 2006. And this year’s
Mineral King Road by a nose. The
Generals Highway came in second. And because
we are blessed with so many scenic drives, here
are the other vote-getters: Kings Canyon Highway,
Dinely Drive, South Fork Drive, Highway 198
from Lake Kaweah to Sequoia (which has an application
pending for an official designation as a “Scenic
Highway”), North Fork Drive, and Dry Creek
So much to see, so little time. Here’s
how voters rank what to visit from number one
through four: Moro Rock, General Sherman Tree,
Crystal Cave, and Mineral King.
If there’s still time, here are some other
recommendations: “All the Big Trees,”
Mount Whitney, Tokopah Falls, General Grant
Tree, wilderness/backcountry, Hospital Rock,
Crescent Meadow, Kings Canyon, Giant Forest,
snow, hiking trails, and Heather Lake.
Kaweah Country may not be home to a Civil War
battlefield, a meeting place of the Founding
Fathers, or one of America’s earliest
settlements, but we’ve got some fascinating
history, too. For instance, the Kaweah Post
Office (first place) is a lasting vestige of
the Kaweah Co-Operative Colony, studied by historians
There’s also the General Sherman Tree
(second place), which is not only a natural
resource, but a cultural one as well. The Mineral
King cabins (third place) have their roots in
the mining era of the 19th century and have
many stories of close calls that threatened
to end the community’s very existence.
Other votes for BEST visible history went to:
Tharp’s Log, Hospital Rock, Paul Bunyan
statue, Three Rivers Cemetery, Three Rivers
Historical Museum, and Discoveries West Gallery.
WAY TO TOUR WITHOUT USING YOUR CAR
With rising gasoline prices and the threat posed
by climate change, anyone with a driver’s
license is trying to adapt to driving less.
Locals obviously dominated this category because
bicycle came out ahead.
It’s true, the side roads
of Three Rivers are beautiful from the seat
of a bike and the bike lane through the center
of town assists if making daily errands. But
there’s so much more that could be done
to make the area more bike-friendly: open the
Old Colony Mill Road for use as a day-ride destination
and thru-bikers from Three Rivers to the Giant
Forest; protect the old Visalia Electric Railroad
right-of-way for future conversion into a bike
path from Terminus Dam to Visalia; build a trail/bike
path around Lake Kaweah; and continue widening
Highway 198 through town with bike lanes.
Second place went to the Sequoia
Shuttle, which originates from Visalia; and
third place goes to locally-owned and operated
Sequoia Sightseeing Tours, which not only provides
transportation, but information about the area
from professional guides.
Other ideas for leaving the gas-guzzler
behind are: rafting, hiking, walking, and running.
One respondent said “helicopter”
while another gave us an entire roundtrip itinerary:
train - bus - shuttle - bike - hike - reverse.
PLACE TO BE ON A
As you finish reading this 10th annual BEST
of Kaweah Country readers’ poll, our wish
to you is simple, yet refreshing: May you soon
be in the river, as this is where the large
majority of participants advise as the place
to be from June to September. Also hang out
at Mineral King (second place) or Lake Kaweah
(third place). Other voters said: Three Rivers
Golf Course, a High Sierra lake, Reimer’s
(ice cream), Crystal Cave (guaranteed to be
40 degrees), anywhere in Sequoia, home, backyard,