Bakersfield Life

Kern County adventures

Lupine and California poppies are in full bloom in the fields off of Highway 223 near Arvin.

They’re the hidden gems of Kern County. Skip the long hours traveling on the road and be a tourist in these quaint local towns.

Arvin

In 1907, people began buying property in the area that is now known as Arvin. It was named after Arvin Richardson, a merchant. In 1960, Arvin was incorporated into its city. Today, Arvin still holds onto its small-town atmosphere with about 20,000 residents calling the city their home. Crops such as grapes, cotton, potatoes, oranges and others complement the city’s agricultural character.

Marco’s Mexican

A combine unloads harvested wheat into a bankout wagon in Shafter.

Tools of the trade

As the 90-degree weather crept over Shafter before 10 a.m. on a recent summer day, Eli Espericueta wiped sweat off his forehead as he looked out into 160 acres of wheat. The smell of fresh-cut wheat drifted through the air as the combine transferred wheat to the bankout wagon. For any city person,

From left: LaMeka Ross, Amber Chiang, owner Jae Shin, Dianne Hoover and Jessica Matthews at La Forêt.

Dining Divas: La Foret Fine Dining & Lounge

If you fancy a bit of Bakersfield fling with some fine dining food, look no further than the new La Forêt Fine Dining & Lounge at Sundale Country Club. Jae Shin, the owner, changed the name of the old Tavern by the Green and gave the space a whole new look and a fresh start. Shin is known

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  • The Last Word: Beauty abounds in Kern County

    The first time I heard someone brag about the beauty of Kern County’s landscape, I was a 15-year-old high school sophomore. I listened politely to the stranger from out of town, but I didn’t quite share his appreciation. Not yet anyway. The year was 1982 and three of us, all students at Arvin High

  • Concept art for the residential community to be placed in the heart of downtown Bakersfield

    Urban living

    Have you ever gone to San Francisco, New York or Washington D.C. and come back craving that urban lifestyle that isn’t available in Bakersfield? You’re probably not alone. Many Bakersfield residents also desire a contemporary urban living style and they will be happy to know of local plans that

  • Donna Anderson

    Salt of the earth

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  • Kern County Supervisor Mick Gleason and his wife Robynn

    Power Couple: Mick and Robynn Gleason

    Thirty-eight years ago, Mick and Robynn Gleason met at an Irish restaurant – a classic story of being at the right place at the right time. Mick was enjoying a meal with his sister Mary when Robynn stepped in, brushing off the snow from the blizzard happening outside. That’s when she noticed Mick.

  • DeAnn Straub

    A lifetime of service

    When DeAnn Straub took a job as a teller at Kern Federal Credit Union in 1972, she was one of 13 employees. She was a 20-year-old student at Cal State Bakersfield and didn’t think she’d be working at the small financial institution for long. But 43 years later, she sits in a corner office on the

  • A pair of ATV riders race along a path at Hungry Valley State Vehicular Recreation Area.

    The thrill of the ride

    Drew Birchford once got stuck in a snowstorm for 12 hours while off-roading with a friend. They had nothing to do but huddle up, eat what little food they had and wait for the sheriff’s department to unlock a nearby gate. A cautionary tale, but the adventure is the allure of off-roading. If you

  • Engineers Jim Varley, left, and Randy Grueber pose for a portrait outside of the main train entrance.

    Children’s railroad at CALM fueled by volunteers

    The train at the California Living Museum steams through a mountain landscape at 6 miles per hour overlooking a unique view of the Kern River. It holds 50 passengers and takes them on an unforgettable western ride. Randy Grueber and the other retired volunteers who manage the Central California

  • The 2015 Santa Fe has plenty of power and a firm, solid feel on the road.

    On the Road: 2015 Hyundai Santa Fe GLS

    If I could turn back the clock 15-20 years, when our kids were involved in countless club sports and after-school activities and we always had some additional payload in the form of teammates and gear, the 2015 Hyundai Santa Fe would be the perfect tool for the job. Not that our Plymouth Voyager

  • The sleek, redesigned 2015 Ford Edge is 4 inches longer and nearly 2 inches taller than its predecessor.

    On the Road: 2015 Ford Edge Titanium

    “SUV” (sports utility vehicle) and “crossover” are terms that are loosely tossed around, and often used interchangeably, when describing a vehicle these days. Technically, an SUV is built on a truck chassis, while a crossover is based on a passenger car. The original SUV, the military jeep of WWII,

  • The spacious GMC Yukon Denali is great for shopping as editor Olivia Garcia discovered.

    On the Road: 2015 GMC Yukon Denali

    Test-driving the 2015 GMC Yukon Denali made me realize how much I still love SUVs. When my two oldest were just babies, my husband and I made to switch over to a SUV, and there it became an extension of our family life as we loaded the car with school supplies, sports gear or travel items and