On the Saturday of my visit with Carol, we set out for Exeter, a lovely little town, not far from where she lives in the San Joaquin Valley. Do you know the old country song: "Down in the Orange Grove?" Well, there are orange groves everywhere here and it's gorgeous country. As we drove through the groves, I could just imagine the smell of the blossoms on a warm summer night.A nice woman in an art gallery gave us some information from the Exeter Chamber of Commerce, so I can describe the murals and name the artists. The sheet I got lists 26 outdoor murals and three indoor ones in various businesses in town. I also learned that Exeter boasts the sweetest and most delicious naval oranges in the world. I can attest to this since I have personally picked and eaten many naval oranges from Carol's tree. I get bags full of them to take with me home when I visit and they really are the best tasting oranges ever.
Orange Harvest: Features a scene of orange pickers in the 1930s.
Artists: Colleen Mitchell-Veyna, Visalia, CA & Morgan McCall, Farmersville, CA
Packing Ladies: I fell in love with this one that features the Exeter Citrus Packing House, circa 1950. Notice how the ladies pack and grade the oranges, while the foreman sort of sits above them and keeps a watchful eye. Those were the days!
Artist: Colleen Mitchell-Veyna, Visalia, CA
The mural reminded me of the silk/tissue-papers that oranges came wrapped in when I was a kid. Imagine that, oranges came individually wrapped in tissue paper!! The papers were gorgeous, with colorful, pictures of faraway places. In Sweden, the oranges usually came from Spain, with names like Seville, Valencia, and so on. I used to collect these wrappers and dream of places where oranges actually grew on trees.
Poppies and Lupine: The hand-out we got says that this field of California poppies and lupine is located on the road to Sequoia & Kings Canyon National Parks, not far from Exeter
Artist: Varian Mace, Visalia, CA
Mineral King "In Our Backyard": This was Carol's favorite mural and it's gorgeous. It features the Mineral King area with Sawtooth, Farewell Gap, and Timber Gap.
Artist: Jana Botkin, Three Rivers, CA.
Hometown News: The Exeter Sun Newsroom in the 1920s. This was located across the alley from Mineral King and showed a newspaper office of long ago. I really enjoy seeing how people lived and worked in the early to mid-20th century. So this was another treat for me.
Artist: Gary Kerby, Wilsall, MT.
Yokuts Harvest: I was impressed by both the Yokuts skill in basket weaving and the artist's skill in painting the baskets you see below, thus honoring the skills of the original basket weavers.Artist: Ben Barker, Susanville, CA
Exeter Road Race Circa 1916: One of my favorites (I have a weakness for old roadsters) it depicts race cars getting ready for a road race through Exeter. As I'm reading this hand-out, I see that all the murals have hidden objects in them. I have to go back someday and look for them. Hidden objects here: A polar bear, numbers, a child holding a bear, all symbols from the "Lost" TV program.Artist: Colleen Mitchell-Veyna, Visalia, CA
Timber Trail: Oh, I spotted some long-ears! Mules, not donkeys, but still, what a beautiful painting. Look at the use of light and color. The mule train and wagons transported logs to Atwell Mill, which is now a part of Sequoia National Park (I'm quoting the hand-out here).
Artist: Martin Weekly, El Dorado Hills and Exeter, CA
This is the mural of the orange pickers from a distance.
And this is a cat, crossing the street like he owns the place…which of course, being a cat, he does.
Thanks for coming with me on this visit to Exeter, California. If you are ever in Sequoia National Park or anywhere in Tulare County, I would recommend a stop-over in this little town. There are many art galleries, coffee shops, quaint places all over, and the antique stores I blogged about earlier.