New-found love for Claremont from old-timer

I once called Claremont Boresville, USA, but not anymore. Growing up in the City of Trees and PhDs, I used to say that you’d have to venture outside of town to find anything fun and interesting to do, especially during my teens and early 20s.

I would only get dinner in town for special occasions, meet my fellow Claremont friends for ice cream, or buy a break-up dress at Amelie.

As a “townie,” I thought I knew everything about Claremont and it wasn’t until I moved hundreds of miles away for several years in college, that I realized how little I knew about this gem I call home.  

After moving back in 2010, my love affair with Claremont began as I quickly realized my hometown had gone from what I thought of as uninspiring, to a local destination city.

After years of thinking that I needed to make the quick trip to Los Angeles to have any kind of life experience, I saw the incredible value in everything Claremont has to offer our community and anyone who discovers this “Secret Garden” in the east Los Angeles County suburbs. For residents, visitors, college students and folks working in Claremont, the ability to make that quick trip to L.A. is the icing on the cake.

I love to brag about Claremont to anyone and everyone who will listen. It may not be a big city with 24-hour everything, fast food drive-thrus and huge chain stores, but if we need them, it sure is a short reach. Claremont will always be a haven I return to, no matter where I may travel. A huge perk to the physical location of Claremont, is that it’s centrally located and within a one-hour drive from the foothills, mountains, desert, beach, DTLA, Hollywood and Disneyland.

The things that make Claremont special go well beyond our proximity to what we lack. The incredibly rich history, lifestyle, art, architecture and culture that this town offers is easy to take for granted. Claremont is an experience, especially when you’re tired of the mass-produced world we live in.

The unique, independent and small businesses that fill this town are part of why folks want to visit and live in Claremont. Galleries and shops selling local artisans’ goods can be found all over, as well as free and public art. If you’ve never seen an outdoor Claremont “Little Free Library,” find the list of locations in this special. When you leave a book and take a book, the Little Free Library thrives.

When it comes to the outdoors and nature, Claremont is once again a destination city. In addition to the Rancho Santa Ana Botanic Garden, residents and visitors alike enjoy our walking paths, trails and 23 public parks. Visitors make the trip from all over San Bernardino, Riverside, Orange and Los Angeles counties. Simply peruse social media in Claremont locations to view thousands of pictures visitors have posted, admiring and loving on our town.

By reading the COURIER 9-Day Calendar and Our Towns every week, it’s easy to keep up-to-date on what’s happening in Claremont. Every week there are lectures listed at the colleges and around town, often with famous and influential speakers. Free, live music, concerts and community events all contribute to the unique culture in Claremont.

Events such as the First Saturday Claremont Art Walk, Monday night concerts in the park and pancake breakfasts with the Kiwanis Club, Fourth of July celebrations, Village Venture, Friday Nights Live, Halloween festivals, Sunrise Rotary’s Turkey Trot, the tree lighting ceremony and holiday promenade, spring celebrations, CHS homecoming parades and fundraising events for well-loved local non-profits.

When it comes to our architectural history, homes and businesses in Claremont have stories to tell. In this town, you’ll find less structures that look alike and more unique architectural works of art, some well over 100 years old. Whether they are personal residences or office buildings, many famous artists and architects have designed and left their unique footprint all over the city.

Many residents have never known that Claremont was hugely influential in certain art and architectural time periods, becoming somewhat of a Mecca in mid-century modern design. The art and architectural history of Claremont lives on as we move further away from the citrus groves and strawberry fields.

There isn’t one thing that makes Claremont a place I want to call home until my old age. Everything and everyone here contributes to the incredible community that residents, including myself, are proud to be part of. Sometimes it takes traveling and living elsewhere to appreciate where you came from.

—Rachel Fagg


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