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July 19, 2014
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What was it that brought you to western Nevada County?

This week, on the advice of reader Lily Resch, we asked what it was that brought you to call western Nevada County your home. Here are some of the responses shared by our readers, via email and on Facebook:

John Bohnert

I picked Grass Valley due to the kindness of a stranger. It was 1993 and I was taking a California history class from Fresno Pacific College. The course work required me to visit two sites in Grass Valley.

When I was ready to head back to San Leandro, I noticed I was nearly out of gas.

I was driving around near Condon Park looking for a gas station. I decided to stop at a fire station to ask directions. However, no one seemed to be there.

A man was across the street watering his lawn. I told him that I was from the Bay Area and needed gas for my car. He carefully explained twice how to get to a gas station.

I must have looked very confused because he said, “Follow me”. The man got in his car and I followed in mine. When we reached the gas station, he waved to me and drove off.

In 1997, I was considering places in California to retire to after 27 years of teaching.

The Bay Area was now too crowded and hectic. I wanted someplace that was quieter and much smaller.

I recalled that kind man in Grass Valley who helped me out.

So, I wrote to Grass Valley apartment places looking for a one-bedroom apartment. I moved to Berryhill Apartments in June 1997.

I love Grass Valley and owe it all to the kindness of a stranger. His kindness changed my life.

Wanda Way

In the 1960s I escaped cold and foggy summers in Vallejo to a church camp called Pinecroft located off Milk Ranch Road in Colfax.

Starting at age 9, I saved my money all year, every year to attend Pinecroft. When I was eligible for a work permit I spent two summers on staff at Pinecroft.

On our days off, we took off up Hwy. 174 to Rollins Lake and into Grass Valley for a movie at the Del Oro. I thought Grass Valley would be a wonderful place to live someday.

Nearly 10 years after my last summer at Pinecroft, I was a Texas divorcee with 2 small children living in Sacramento.

On a July 4 weekend the kids and I were camping at Greenhorn Access at Rollins Lake when I met Frank and his five children.

We struck up a conversation and I learned that Frank had made his first visits to Grass Valley as a boy with his father, a mining engineer.

Frank dreamed of living in Grass Valley and in 1974 took the opportunity to take an engineering job at the Grass Valley Group and moved from Reno. He was also a single parent.

We hit it off pretty well, but he said, “No one will marry me because I have five children.” I responded, “What’s wrong with five children?”

One year later we were married at Emmanuel Episcopal Church on May 5, 1979. On July 1 of every year we like to celebrate our meeting by making a trip to Greenhorn Access.

Paul Graham

My parents moved there when I was 4, my family had an off-and-on history with Nevada County since the depression.

My grandparents came there during the Dust Bowl Migration (eventually moved to Sacramento for work reasons). Prior to my birth, mom and dad lived up there once or twice, before relocating off Rattlesnake Road. In the early ’70s, they thought it was a good place to raise kids.

Most of my family is still up there. I moved for education reasons.

David Nelson

My wife grew up in Grass Valley (her parents moved here after World War II. Her dad had been stationed at Beale and visited the town ... Her father was Dr. Ross, optometrist in GV from the late 1940s to early 1990s on Mill St ... big round window).

Met my wife in Sacto at a church, we got married, had two kids ... then sold our home in mid ’90s and moved to Sacto, while I commuted to Sacto (state job).

Love the peace and quiet of the country ... we are blessed over and over!

Stu Chuang Matthews

My wife and I looked literally from coast to coast to find where we wanted to live. The main draws for why we picked Nevada City were:

— to live in Nevada City Cohousing, in our opinion the best-designed cohousing community in the country,

— Nevada City is the size town we were looking for and very walkable to boot,

— Nevada County has great support for sustainable and organic agriculture, which is the career I am getting started in,

— We are surrounded by beautiful nature, with hiking and swimming opportunities abound.

We moved into Nevada City Cohousing last February, and we’re staying because we still love this cohousing community and the county at large!

Cindy Breninger

My dad, David Breninger, was Grass Valley’s first city manager. That is still something I brag about to friends all these years later. I ended up moving away after I graduated, but I still think of Grass Valley as home.

My kids and I go to the Yuba quite often, and Marshall’s is still the best place on earth for pasties.

Lisa Jarvis

Our (Grass Valley Charter School) expedition last year was ‘What Makes Grass Valley Special?’ and the kickoff was for each student to interview the first family member to move to Grass Valley and why. It was so interesting to hear the stories and see where they came from.

A lot of people moved here because of the small town atmosphere, beauty, family, jobs. ... Quite a few were from California (Southern).

One as far away as Germany and a couple from Midwest/East Coast.

Debbie Prisk Olsen

I pinch myself everyday that I’m able to live in the same town I grew up in.

My great-great grandparents came here from Cornwall in 1896 and some of us just never left!

I’m also fortunate that my kids are able to live and work in Grass Valley as well. I love visiting places but there’s nothing quite as good as coming “home”!

Ginny Trapani

I thought it would be a great place to raise a family. I was right.

Joyce Stogner

My grandma was born and raised here, my dad was born and raised here, I was born and raised here, my kids were born and raised here and my grandsons were born and are being raised here.

Why leave? It’s beautiful, I love it here.

Giovanni Paredes

That’s an easy answer. Quality of life, outdoor activities, slow pace, climate, architecture, schools, charming atmosphere, the fairgrounds, open space, friendly locals, awesome wine and the abundant Big Foot sightings have made Nevada County the perfect place to call home.

Mick Collins

My wife was a California native (Trinity County) and almost from the day we met, she kept saying she’d get me to California.

She did it in steps, first a job transfer to Chicago, then, one year later she somehow got a transfer here to Grass Valley (we had talked about the Sacramento area being a perfect spot, still close to her family and close enough to a city).

I love Grass Valley, took a few months acclimating, but I can’t think of another place I’d rather live (well, maybe NYC, but the weather sucks there lol)!

Lori Webster Davis

We came here to get out of the big city (L.A.). We wanted a quiet little town to raise our baby boy in. We were lucky enough to have my grandparents’ house waiting for us and we are still here.

Megan Ross

In 1989, my dad retired from the Air Force. My parents were Bay Area natives and knew they wanted to get back to California.

My grandparents were living in Newcastle at the time and when my parents found the great schools in Nevada County, they decided to make this home.

They commuted to work in Sacramento for the next 20-plus years before retiring for good.

After college I ended up in the Bay Area and couldn’t wait to get back. I wanted to raise my kids here too.


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The Union Updated Jul 19, 2014 01:01AM Published Jul 25, 2014 01:52PM Copyright 2014 The Union. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.