CHANCES TO GO BELOW GROUND... don't occur all that often in this world. Sure, you can enter a parking garage, or a basement, but you're likely there to A) park or pick up your vehicle, in the case of the first and B) stow an item, look for an item, play Ping-Pong, or do some laundry in the case of the second. To have a subterranean adventure, though, is quite a different thing, though such adventures usually only occur in rollicking adventure tales, the kind that take three or four books to fully come to a conclusion. However, there is a spot right here in the Golden State that is flush with back-story, and beauty, and mystery, and all of the qualities we want from a below-ground space but don't often get. It's the Forestiere Underground Gardens we quite blithely refer to here, and equally blithely we report that weekend guided tours have resumed, along with the warmer weather.
MAKE FOR FRESNO... to spy Baldassare Forestiere's "...hand-built network of rooms," a true catacomb-like labyrinth that took the imaginative man years and years (and loads of dedication, clearly). Mr. Forestiere, who hailed from Sicily, had intended to grow citrus, but his amazing legacy turned out to be something else that sprung from the ground, and not orange trees (though those, too, figure in the wondrous, wind-your-way-through destination, as well as other fruit trees). Is it cooler down below? You bet. Are there spaces where the sun reaches in? Beautifully so. It's one of our state's most magnificent dreams made real, a fantastical project that shows what one can do if they dedicate over four decades, and a good amount of can-do and passion, to a goal. And once April arrives? The Forestiere Underground Gardens will be open Wednesday through Sunday, right through to November. Visit at the height of summer, on one of the toastiest of days, and admire how much cooler it is when you head under the earth's surface.