Written from Linda’s perspective:
We were up at 7 this morning and had toast, oatmeal, banana and coffee at the Motel. We then headed for the Forestiere Underground Gardens. When we arrived we were uncertain about the location. There was a large unkept looking field that really looked a lot like a dump. But there was a sign there, and we were an hour early so the gate was still locked. While waiting we had coffee at McDonalds.
Tim had on a pair of Hawaiian looking shorts and a striped shirt. We took a picture and posted it on FB and it is getting a lot of “interesting” comments which are making him feel bad. I sure wouldn’t wear that combination but I look past it to see the unique guy that I love 😉
At about 10 minutes before 10, we went back down the street and parked. Agroup was forming and they let us all in. After purchasing our tickets we went down under ground where we sat in a large “ballroom” carved out of the ground under the California hardpan. There we were told the story behind the place and the man who built it. It may have been unimpressive above ground but it was extremely impressive below.
The tunnels and rooms underground were carved out by one man over a period of 40 years. They cover an area of about 5 acres but many of his tunnels and rooms have been lost after a lot of the original 80 acres was sold and roads and building have destroyed them.
He lived and entertained in his underground homes, planting citrus trees and herbs and grape vines in areas where skylights allowed light to come in.
Forestiere was from Sicily and wanted to go into the family citrus business but because he was not the oldest son, his father refused. So he came to New York but it wasn’t good for citrus because of the climate. There was no land available in Florida so he came to California and worked until he had enough money to purchase a piece of land. Because opf the heat, he decided to dig himself an underground chamber to stay cool. Once he started, he kept going and found he could grow trees underground as well.
We were very impressed and it was a very interesting tour.
After the underground gardens we returned to Clovis where we did some more antique shops. We had lunch at the “On the Edge Coffee Shop” with good food and Christian music.
We are back in the room now and Tim is working on Jewelry while I read a book.
Tomorrow we head for Bakersfield for two days.