Saturday, March 3, 2012

Frazier Park-A stand-in for the Swiss Alps or the Old South

Dear Reader,

In 1988 on my way back from San Francisco I discovered an alpine town off of Interstate 5 on top of what is called the Grape Vine. A winding pass that snacks north into the San Joaquin Valley; at times a treacherous road because of ice and snow in the winter and extreme heat in the summer.  Take the Frazier Park exit and head west past the Flying J, and the assortment of gas stations and fast food restaurants.  There is a flashing red light, turn right and you are now in the town of Frazier Park, a city that was incorporated in 1925.  The current population is 2,691; in the early morning commuters travel down Frazier Park Road either north to Bakersfield less than an hour or an hour and a half to two hours to Los Angeles.

Many of us who grew up in the 1970’s knowing Frazier Mountain as “Walton’s Mountain” in the TV show of the same name “The Walton’s”.  This was a fact I learned researching for this blog.  Frazier Park has not changed much since the 1920’s, the population is bigger, yet main street is the same, two lumber yards, a couple of thrift stores, Caveman Pizza 661.245.1474 (my favorite pizza place), two insurance companies, a bank, Sheriff sub-station, Kern County Fire Department, a market, gas station & mini-mart and other businesses.  A short ten minute walk and one can cover downtown Frazier Park.

What makes FP, the perfect place for a shoot is because it could stand in for a southern town, in winter an alpine village, it is non-descriptive place which is added bonus, it is not an over used location.  A park with a pond with resident ducks and geese, across the street is a new library.  There is a new Holiday Inn Express (661.248.1600) ten minutes away in Lebec, a Flying J for fuel with a dump station and a mini-mart, with a Denny’s and a Motel 6. 

When winter storms blow through the area, which happens sporadically, FP turns white, kids play in the snow and even the young at heart join in a snow fight.  The diversity of Frazier Park makes it an ideal place to film, if one continues to travel west on Frazier Park Road, the trees become denser, the elevation gets higher and soon you arrive in Pine Mountain Club the Beverly Hills of the area.  There is a small golf course, a pond and lots of high-end cabin type homes, a grocery mart and numerous real estate offices.  Pine Mountain usually gets more snow than FP because of the elevation and the way storms pass through.  PM is more rustic; it has a larger population and a different look than Frazier Park.  I like PMC because it is off the radar screen for most location managers, most have never heard of it, it has a lot more vegetation than Frazier Park, more homes and it can stand in for places like Virginia or the Rockies or an Alpine Village in the Swiss Alps.

FP is about an hour and half from greater Los Angeles in Kern County, as I indicated there are many lodging options including the Ramada Limited at the bottom of the Grape Vine in Lebec (661.248.1530).  There are also a Bread and Breakfast lodge called the Old Bear Bed & Breakfast (661.242.1622) if you want a down home type of experience.  Big Johns (661.245.2292) is my favorite place for an old fashion country meal.  With that said the food and the lodging in Frazier Park is something that you would fine in the South or the Mid-West, this is what makes this place so special.  If you have any questions about Frazier Park or the Mountain Community or if you need a motor home call me Mike Green at 818 317 7099, I will be glad to help you.

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