When you think of Kern County and Bakersfield, does the word “romantic” come to mind? Maybe not, but it depends on what you consider “romantic”.
As Valentine’s Day approaches, Bakersfield Life has gone in search of local romantic ideas to celebrate the day of love.
Valentine’s Day has not always been filled with love. Historians trace its origins from mid-February to the pagan festival of Lupercalia, which celebrated fertility. Men undressed and sacrificed a goat or a dog. Young boys would take strips of animal skins and whip young women with them to promote fertility.
Things are now more docile. And believe me, if a young man wants to charm and impress a woman today, he had better take another approach.
Our first stop in our search for romantic ideas was at Visit Bakersfield, where we found director David Lyman. Accustomed to answering tourist questions, Lyman admitted that the pandemic has closed some sites and threatens others. He advises people to keep their plans flexible. Confirm reservations as Valentine’s Day approaches.
“Do you like to dance?” Lyman requested and suggested the 2022 Valentine’s Day Ball Dinner and Dance presented by Elements Venue & MG Events on Saturday, February 12 at Elements Venue.
“Do you like music?” If the answer is yes, Lyman suggested going to the Bakersfield Music Hall of Fame for Valentine’s Day with the Beatles, with tribute band Abbey Road on February 14.
“Do you like movies? Snuggle up on the balcony of the historic Fox Theater to watch the classic romantic comedy “Pillow Talk” starring Doris Day and Rock Hudson on Valentine’s Day.
“Do you like sunsets? » Watch the changing colors of the sky above the twinkling city lights from any location along Panorama Park’s 1.5 miles.
“Do you like the local beer? Bubble love as you hop (pun intended) along the Bakersfield Brewery Trail to sample local brews.
If you can’t choose just one place to celebrate Valentine’s Day, Lyman suggested weaving your way along the Bakersfield Selfie Trail, taking selfies of you and your love at 20 unique Bakersfield locations.
More information about the Bakersfield Brewery Trail and the Bakersfield Selfie Trail can be found on the Visit Bakersfield website visitbakersfield.com.
Mike Stepanovich, a well-known local wine expert who writes and teaches about viticulture, suggested two local restaurants to celebrate Valentine’s Day.
La Trattoria d’Uricchio – in particular the Wine Room, where he described the food as spectacular.
“If you are skeptical, go to Italy and see for yourself. When I was in Italy, I kept thinking, Wow! It’s good. And I ate just as well and just had to go to the corner of 17th and K. The service is splendid, everything you could hope for on a romantic evening. The wine list is good and the corkage fee reasonable, if you wanted to bring a special bottle. Owner Claire Uricchio is the ultimate hostess.”
Horse in the Alley – which was previously known as TL Maxwell’s and before that as The Office.
“The bar alone is romantic and the history of the place is seductive,” Stepanovich said. “Owners Jason and Beth Browder have created a wonderfully romantic dining venue, with dim lighting, superb cuisine (pretty much the only place in Bakersfield you can get snails) and excellent service. Good wine list. Will help if you have something romantic planned, like flowers at the table or champagne on ice.
Carola Rupert Enriquez and her husband, John Enriquez, prefer to head into the mountains and stop at Ewing’s on the Kern River for their romantic getaways.
“We love the drive, the food, the drinks and the fabulous views! We are going to have lunch to get back before dark,” she said.
Karen Northcutt’s idea for a special Valentine’s Day with her husband Michael Henstra includes an overnight stay at the Padre Hotel on 18th Street.
“If I did that, I would check into the hotel on Sunday evening (February 13) and have dinner in the Belvedere room,” she said. “Get there early and have a cocktail at the lobby bar, then head out for a delicious dinner. This allows for a more leisurely dinner, which certainly won’t be the case on Valentine’s Day proper.
“Spend the night and order room service for at least coffee and breakfast (if they still offer that). I would leave, but I would leave the car with the valet and walk around downtown along 19th,” she said, adding that she would visit downtown shops, restaurants and museums.
“Assuming I was still awake and not totally comatose, I would drop by a restaurant downtown (between Dewar’s and 24th Street Cafe) and pick up something ‘to-go’. I would then go home, settled in for an early dinner and a good movie, and enjoyed being at home, in comfortable clothes, while the rest of the world fought over reservations and waited for a table somewhere.
Retired railroad worker and local historian Stephen Montgomery also put the Padre Hotel and Trattoria in Uricchio at the top of his Valentine’s Day list.
“When we travel, we like to research historical places, including hotels and restaurants,” he said. “So if we do make a stay, the Padre, both in historical provenance and a really classy revamp, makes it a real desirable landing spot.
“Uricchio’s is a converted historic building that was originally a garage. It doesn’t hurt that the food is fabulous and the atmosphere great,” he said.
Katie Kleier and her husband, Kevan Hensman, are reportedly heading to the great outdoors.
“My husband and I enjoy the outdoors, especially the mountains. We enjoy a walk through the Kern Canyon, with a stop at the Johnsondale Bridge or, weather permitting, a hike near Salmon Creek Falls,” Kleier said. “The ride offers great views of the Kern River Valley, a beautiful waterfall, and peace and quiet. Time spent together allows us to reconnect and relax. After some exercise, we head to McNally’s Outpost or Kern River Brewing Co. for a meal and more conversation.
Lisa Kimble and her husband, Craig Edmonton, got engaged on Valentine’s Day 1989.
“He asked the question about sushi and sake. So the day has always been special for us,” she said. “But over the years, the older and wiser we got, the more we realized that dining out on Valentine’s Day is for lovers (say, 1989 lovers).
“If we had to go out, we’d probably go for a drink at Guthrie’s Alley Cat. Not because it’s the most romantic spot in town, but it’s where we met, and we made a lot of memories at this iconic bar through our short courtship and early years of marriage. , before the children arrive.
“This year, like previous years, I’ll probably do my best to cook a romantic, restaurant-worthy candlelight dinner for the two of us, where we can take our time and don’t have to tip the waiter. ”
Leigh Ann Cook and her husband, Robert, find Kernville and the Kern River Valley romantic. This is where they went on their first date.
“We went to a restaurant called Tradewinds and ate a wet burrito. And I spilled red sauce on my white shirt. We spent the afternoon in Riverside Park walking and eventually sitting on a bench watching the river.
“Years later he surprised me with a trip to Kernville and we stayed at a beloved B&B. Over the years we went rafting with good friends and dined at Ewing’s,” a- she said, “I go there now mainly for work, but it reminds me of our first date in February 1989. And we are still together these 32 years later.”
Leigh Ann Cook is the chief of staff for 1st District Supervisor Phillip Peters. She said she could also make a good “romance case” for Ridgecrest, where she and her husband met while working at college, and Tehachapi, where they got married.
Cheryl Scott, executive director of the Bakersfield College Foundation, spent years representing the Kern Economic Development Corp. So she knows Kern County very well.
“My husband Darren (Scott) and I met at Arvin High School over 35 years ago and have always lived in Kern County. We spent at least some time in just about every corner of the region. When I think of special places in the region, maybe they’re not always places that other people would consider romantic,” she said.
“Whether it’s Valentine’s Day or ‘just because’, we always love to take a sunset walk in the countryside, perhaps along Rancheria Road or in the Caliente area (especially in the spring when the hills are green and lush.)
“We really don’t like to wait at restaurants, so stopping for dinner at Tony’s (Firehouse Grill & Pizza) at 178 and Comanche, or another “not typical Valentine’s Day” restaurant is a great way to to crown it all.
“The bottom line, I guess, is that romance is what you do with it, and where you do it, as long as you’re with that special someone!”