Mariposa County





Mariposa County, Calif.--Within five minutes of arrival at Wawona Hotel in Yosemite National Park, I received three book recommendations. Who says newspapers and books are going out of style? Relaxed guests at the historic hotel sit next to a cozy fire, reading all sorts of literature during what would be a morning rush hour in San Francisco or Los Angeles. Just think--you could be in your car, foot jumping back & forth between the gas pedal & break, cars veering dangerously close, billboards grabbing your attention, and the sun blinding your vision.


I opted for a mountain top and walked into a time warp with eggs sunny-side up, a steaming cup of coffee, crackling fire, and intellectualism everywhere I looked. Now this is my kind of place!


Built in 1879, the National Historic Landmark, Wawona Hotel, sits near a majestic grove of giant sequoias. 104 guestrooms spread throughout eight buildings open onto signature verandas overlooking verdant meadows, spring through fall, or a blanket of snow in the winter.


With approx. half the rooms featuring private baths, the rest share toilets and showers. There are no telephones, no televisions, no air conditioning and the rooms are decorated with antique furnishings reflecting the era in which the hotel was established.


One lady sitting next to the baby grand piano in a room off the main lobby looked up from her book on psychology. She told me she and her husband came from La Habra in Southern California. "Throughout our younger years we wanted to stay here but never could afford it," she said. "This is great-- it's my perfect vacation!"


Wawona Hotel with its tall ceilings, rich crown moldings, antique furnishings, and interesting guests, seems like a place you could get inspiration for a book, or sit down and write one. Guests are respectful and quiet, but when nightfall edges closer, the baby grand in the main building begins to sing and dance. Tickling the ivory is a SoCal transplant, Tom Bopp. He regularly performs on the Kanabe grand, weaving songs and stories about Yosemite and Wawona history, and taking requests.


The stately piano was built for use in Camp Curry but made its way over to Wawona Hotel, where guests wander by and enjoy its sound as they wait for a dinner reservation, or drop in after dining. Bopp performs several songs written for the place, the Wawona Waltz and Wawona Moon. Created for the Wawona Hotel dance band by Kenneth Hall in 1925, Wawona Moon never fails to light up a crowd that gathers. 


Wawona Hotel is so old-fashioned, even the meals prepared in the kitchen come from the property-owned ranch! Fresh produce, just-picked herbs, and colorful eggs are a few of the ingredients that go into recipes from top chefs focused on health and sustainable living. Like the other Delaware North Corp.-run properties in and around the park, the cuisine is top notch.


For a full list of accommodations, get the Yosemite/Mariposa County Tourism Bureau free guide at, or call and request your guide at Mariposa County Visitors Center: (866) 425-3366. Open 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Mon-Sat during the winter months, beginning in mid-May the Center stays open every day from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m. through November. Location: 5158 Highway 140, Mariposa, CA.