Being that I’m a serial blogger, this piece is from a travel blog I wrote a while back. I re-worked it but I wanted to share it with you all.
Sometimes when I describe where I’m from it sounds more like a fairy tale or something out of an antique novel. While I may make fun of the confederate flags, poor fashion sense and the radio station that plays the same music it was playing when I was in high school, it is, very much, like a fairy tale.
The trees are always green there, rain, snow or shine. I still have yet to find brighter stars to look at. The consolations are hard to find only because they get lost amongst a galaxy of treasures presented to you by the night sky. I'm so use to living in the city that I get scared by how dark it is when I drive at night. Out of all of the planetariums I have visited (I’m up to five now, it’s a thing) they never quite give the milky way the same kind of justice that the old abandoned airport outside of Nevada City does.
I grew up in a town named Grass Valley. An uncle of an ex-boyfriend once told me, “I know of Grass Valley, back in my day, you went to Grass Valley to cut the grass, then you smoked it.” That may or may not still be true today. The town is in Northern California nestled in the Sierra Nevada Mountains and is a 5 min drive to the aforementioned Nevada City. They are small mining towns. The mine itself is less than a mile away from my parents house. Most of the local girls get married at Empire Mine in the vast gardens that sit in front of the Mine Owner’s Mansion. All of the downtown areas are protected by the state as historical monuments. While its rich history is small in comparison to Pittsburgh's past. I know that strong sense of blue collar pride in Pittsburgh is something that reminds me of home.
In the winter time my hometown looks like the insides of a snow globe. You can even find a horse and buggy trotting up the streets giving tourists romantic winter rides. The old Victorian homes look as good as new. In Grass Valley, they close the main streets for Cornish Christmas, a small street festival. The local merchants set up outside. The Historical Society dresses up in old Victorian dresses and Cornish suits to sing your favorite Christmas carols. One shop owner will be roasting chestnuts on an open fire while another serves you hot cocoa.
There isn't a grocery store I can step into without seeing someone I know or grew up with. I’ve been going to the same dentist office since I was five. When I lived at home, before moving to Pittsburgh, my 8th grade history teacher and I would exchange smiles at the gym once a week. The nearest mall is an hour away. Having grown up on farmers markets and street fairs, I always prefer to buy local. The beauty of this small town is something to marvel at.
Once you have visited the quaint downtown areas, you should meander to the Yuba River and drink up the mountainous nature. It is gold country. To this day, modern miners can be spotted hunting for gold dust in the water. There are waterfall and bridges all across the county.
Rock climbing and jumping is a right of passage in the summertime among teenagers. With hikes that go for miles it is not hard find private beaches for topless tanning. And when those teenagers become adults they are bonded. My high school friends are like siblings. Most of us have known each other since kindergarten. I will love them unconditionally even if some of us don't keep in touch. There will always be an open couch to sleep on. We are forever bonded by our youth and love for the community we grew up in. We carry a fondness and acceptance of one another that was sealed by endless summers spent camping on riverbanks. That community, my hometown, saved my life, giving me the future I have now. It will always have a piece of my heart.