• Caitlin McAninch

Escape to Bridgeport, CA 2016

Updated: Feb 16, 2019

About two hours south of Reno down U.S. Route 395 stands a small town of Bridgeport, CA. With a population of 601, it’s no surprise that the town stays quiet through most of the year. But, every 4th of July weekend the crowds flood in for the small town, old-fashioned 4th of July celebration.

Dylan’s family is one of the groups that go every year. 2016 marked Dylan’s fourteenth year spending the holiday weekend in Bridgeport. His family that goes includes roughly around 25 people, give or take a few each year. They all stay at this adorable place called the Virginia Creek Settlement. They call it camping, if anything, it’s glamping. Everyone has their own cabin that sits along the Virginia Creek. If you take away the mosquitos, the place is perfect. It’s a no wifi, no air-conditioning zone, just a full weekend of relaxation, great food, and cold drinks.

This was my fourth year with Dylan’s family in Bridgeport and Bruce’s second. The weekend is normally broken out as follows: the 4th is spent on Main Street in Brideport, watching the parade and shopping at the Arts & Crafts Fair with lunch from the Indian Taco Stand. One day spent at this hidden oasis the family calls The Elbow, which is tucked about 15 miles off State Route 152. One evening squished around a fire, with an Easter egg hunt for Hershey’s chocolate for smores. There are also many, MANY drives into town to visit the Jolly Kone, an ice cream stand that serves the best soft serve ice cream cones. I had one a day, except for the 4th, I had two. And all other times are free game.

This year we went exploring in Bodie, a ghost town just outside Bridgeport. We went to the Bridgeport Hot Springs, a natural hot springs filled with nude hippies. And we spent a lot of time playing corn hole.

Bruce had a blast. If he wasn’t guarding our door, he was swimming in the creek, relaxing in his cooling jacket, or stealing food from family. His birthday is July 3rd, so we brought him a doggy cake, and everyone sang to him. It was precious.

Big excitement surrounded the family’s newest edition, Dominic. It was his first year at Bridgeport, and he loved it. Dylan's grandma Sherry pointed out that him coming makes it four generations visiting Bridgeport, which makes her incredibly proud. Everyone loves to play with the baby, so he gets passed along and stolen frequently. The cutest moment was at the parade, where he tried his first sucker. That boy is going to love sweets!

Every year there is always one perfect hot storm. The rain swoops in and thunder bellows overhead. We all crowd under the long porch and watch the rain. It never lasts long, but it’s always my favorite.

Even though it's always a simple trip, with no glitz or glamour, it's become one of my favorite annual vacations. Enjoying the time spent with friends and family with no true responsibilities for just a few days is perfect.

Bridgeport, CA

Distance: 118 miles

Driving Time: 2 hours & 13 minutes

#WeekendGetaway #California