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18 Tehachapi charms to experience in 2018

Grassroots Tehachapi


Adorable Alpacas

Adorable Alpacas, located in Cummings Valley, lives up to their name. As you can see, some alpacas have more 'tude than the others. Say hello to Valentine and Bo Peep.

A new year is just another day on the calendar, but the symbolic switch holds so much hope and opportunity.

Although Tehachapi is my hometown, I feel there are many experiences and examples of small town charm that I never take advantage of. This year, I want to participate in more of them.

Keeping with the theme of this column, here's a list of 18 activities you can do in Tehachapi this year that promote and embrace the small town charm we know and love.

1. Adorable Alpacas: Who can resist cute alpaca faces? Adorable Alpacas on Cummings Valley Road is an eco-conscious boutique that focuses on growing their alpaca herd for the fibers used in knitting and spinning. They have a store and give tours. I haven't visited yet, but can't wait to be face-to-face with these cuties.

2. Tehachapi Museum and Errea House: I've been to both the museum and the Errea house many times, but I know there is so much more to gain and learn from visiting both locations. Both are rich in Tehachapi history. Don't miss my personal favorite exhibit - the Milano Gallery, which showcases the rich history of the Kawaiisu Indians.

3. Parks: Tehachapi is home to so many parks, small and large. I definitely don't make enough time for the relaxation and playtime they provide. This year will be different. Especially, with the fun new playground equipment at Philip Marx Central Park. My kids can't get enough.

4. Wineries: Tehachapi didn't have wineries when I was a kid, but I'm so glad they have them now. You can't go wrong with an afternoon at either Souza or Triassic. It's also a great way to get your friends from the city to come for a visit.

5. Wine walks: Let's just keep talking about wine for a bit. My husband and I have participated in a couple of the themed Tehachapi wine walks and they are always great fun.

6. Farmers Market: The Tehachapi Farmers Market runs roughly from May to August. I'm terrible at remembering to go every Thursday during those months, but this year it is a must for me every week. It's charming and always has amazing products. It's also a great place to hear some live music.

7. Hiking: There are hiking trails throughout Tehachapi. My favorites hiking spots as a kid were in our backyard in Bear Valley. This year, I want to explore Tehachapi Mountain Park. You can't beat the views and cooler temps up in the mountains.

8. Camping at Brite Lake: This is something I've never done, but can't wait to try. There are a variety of prices for different kinds of camping, but good 'ol fashion tent camping is only $20. It's a beautiful spot for a night under the stars.

9. Trunk-or-Treat: We decided to do good 'ol fashion door-to-door trick-or-treating last year, but my daughter missed the Trunk-or-Treat. This year, we'll go back to the convenient downtown event. You get tons of candy and it's a nice way to meet new people and see some familiar, yet spooky decked out faces.

10. Live music: I love live music and experiencing new genres and sounds. Fiddlers Crossing is a great place for this. Between their weekly open mic nights and special concerts, there's always something new to discover.

11. Mountain Festival: For us locals, this event doesn't need much description. It perfectly demonstrates the charming small town feel that drew me back to Tehachapi. Live music, local performers, in-town cuisine and beautifully crafted art. It's a yearly must.

12. Skylark North: Whether you want to take a ride in a glider (list of experience packages are online) or just sit and watch the sleek planes in action from the Raven's Nest Sandwich Shop, Tehachapi's Skylark North is an awesome place.

13. Exotic Feline Breeding Compound and Windswept Ranch: Okay, these experiences aren't in Tehachapi city limits, but they are incredibly cool outings that almost sit in Tehachapi's backyard. The Exotic Feline Breeding Compound in Rosamond is home to a variety of wild cats. This isn't a zoo, but rather a center dedicated to the preservation and protection of endangered species. General admission is $10. It's pretty amazing to know we're only about 20-miles from seeing tigers up-close. Windswept Ranch is on the way to the breeding compound when you take the Tehachapi/Willow Springs path toward Rosamond. They offer a variety of experiences for various prices, and are home to zebra, emu,reindeer and yes, camel kisses. I haven't been yet, but I know my kids will love it.

14. Stargazing: Now this obviously is something that can be done anywhere, but the clear and open skies of Tehachapi are more ideal than most. Meteor showers are a beautiful show in Tehachapi. I have several city-born friends who have visited and said they've never seen the stars as clear or more brilliant than in a Tehachapi sky.

15. Murals: Almost daily we drive past the many murals of Tehachapi, but I've never taken the time to learn the importance behind each one. My plan is to do a little research, then take my kids on a history scavenger hunt, using the stories behind the murals as a guide. They are beautifully crafted and I'm sure the meaning behind each will make them even more breathtaking.

16. Family Fun Day at the Hitching Post: After living in Orange County for about a decade, I got used to a night out at the movies costing far more than I anticipated. Movies in this small town of ours are not only less expensive all around (no tickets above $10), but they offer Family Fun Day - all shows, all seats are just $4. My husband and daughter started taking advantage of this event a few months ago and it's been a perfect experience for them.

17. Live theater: The beautiful Beekay Theater operated by the Tehachapi Community Theater organization offers a variety of talented acts and entertaining shows for a great price. Take a look at their website and plan your year of theatrical entertainment.

the Tehachapi Tourism Commission

A local family enjoys Mountain Park.

18. The Tehachapi Loop: Finally, the Tehachapi Loop is a must see and a must revisit. Even if you're not a train enthusiast, it's a pretty gorgeous view of the Tehachapi Pass. I brought my daughter to see the Loop years ago, but she was too young to understand how cool it is. And for my 2-year-old, who gets excited just hearing a train horn, this is definitely a stop in our year of small town explorations.

Do you know an inspirational group, individual or program that should be featured in an upcoming Grassroots Tehachapi? Email me at [email protected]

See you next time and Happy New Year!


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