We're coming up on the most patriotic day of the year and it's not too late to make plans for a very special Fourth of July. Certain towns and places in California have better patriotic vibes than others and, if you're interested in a Mayberry USA Fourth of July – or some time paying homage to one of our nation's great military generals – we have some suggestions for you. First a couple of patriotic towns:
JAMESTOWN - The 4th of July extended holiday is a perfect time to visit and support Railtown 1897 State Historic Park (SHP)! Special rides behind Sierra No. 3 -- widely known as the "Movie Star Locomotive" -- and aboard the prized Caboose No. 7 are available on the weekend leading up to the holiday (June 30 & July 1) and on Wednesday, July 4, as well. Plus, entertaining and festive live old-time music performed by the local band "Sequoia" will be provided on Wednesday, July 4.
Boom. Crackle. Whistle. Sparkle. Poof.
Looking to a quick getaway for the Fourth of July?
STOCKTON - Banner Island may be the inspiration of Ernest Lawrence Thayer's famous poem "Casey at the Bat."
Saturday, June 30
The Tracy Chamber of Commerce calls the Fourth of July "A Hometown Celebration."
ESCALON – Dennis Borba is a busy man.
Hidden in a rural corner of Turlock, champion horses and riders are being groomed at the Maxfield Riding Center. Every year for the past 16 years Maxfield has boasted amateur and professional level state, national or reserve champions in dressage and three-day eventing.
HUGHSON - Local wildlife orphaned or injured have a second chance at survival thanks to the efforts of dedicated staff and volunteers at the Stanislaus Wildlife Care Center.
LODI – Ever see a Chilean pudu?
The Micke Grove Zoo gives folks and opportunity to adopt their favorite animal.
Driving through California's Central Valley it's easy to speed right on by Bakersfield, the southernmost of the Valley's good-sized cities and the last one you'll pass before you head up the Grapevine toward Los Angeles. But next time, consider this: You're passing through Music History and it just might be worth your while to stop.
MERCED - The Merced National Wildlife Refuge encompasses 10,258 acres of wetlands, native grasslands, vernal pools, and riparian areas. It was established in 1951 under the Lea Act to attract wintering waterfowl away from adjacent farmland where foraging ducks and geese were causing extensive damage to crops.
For over a year, Green Grub in Turlock has been satisfying the appetites of vegetarians by providing delicious and healthy options for their sandwiches, salads, and drinks.
"Eat your vegetables!" This is the message that greets diners at the door to the GK Mongolian Barbecue on South Main Street in Manteca.
MODESTO – Alright. We get it. You don't want a steak and you don't want chicken and fresh salmon – covered in lemon and butter and roasted over an open flame in foil – is out as well.
Greek cuisine is ideally suited to vegetarians and vegans.
The Canal Street Grille in Ripon is not without sumptuous non-meat, vegetarian selections in its lengthy menu of more than 60 items including steaks and prime rib.
LOS ANGELES (AP) - Onetime 007 Pierce Brosnan embraces a darker take on spycraft in Roger Donaldson's "The November Man," playing a former CIA agent whose autumnal nickname acknowledges his tendency to leave few alive when he passes through a town. A familiar string of dark secrets, shifting allegiances and (wo)man-who-knew-too-much pursuit propels the storyline (adapted from one in a series of Bill Granger novels), giving Brosnan the opportunity to prove his cool remains intact, sans tux and gadgets. "November Man" won't do anything like Bond's box office, but will satisfy the actor's fans and moviegoers ...
LOS ANGELES (AP) - "Abandon all hope, ye who enter here," is the inscription uncovered by a gang of 20-something treasure hunters in the catacomb-hopping horror flick, "As Above, So Below." But the warning could easily apply to viewers checking out this rather hopeless mash-up of "The Descent" and "(Rec)," not to mention a dozen other found-footage movies that have clogged the screens over the last five years.
One of the most magical rides in California can be taken on the 206-mile long Highway 120 that runs from Manteca in the west to Benton in the east.
LOS ANGELES (AP) - A gay couple who have been together for almost four decades are separated - at least physically - by factors beyond their control in "Love Is Strange," the latest tender and meandering exploration of human relationships from indie darling Ira Sachs ("Keep the Lights On," ''Forty Shades of Blue").
After being clonked over the head in 1944's "Murder, My Sweet," Raymond Chandler's immortal private eye Philip Marlowe wryly narrated the experience of being knocked out: "A black pool opened up at my feet. I jumped in."
In its third incarnation, "The Expendables" has become, well, expendable.
'Tis clearly the season for exceedingly attractive young adults in mortal peril.
Manuel Laguna shared his ideal day in downtown Stockton.
Occasionally, folks of visitstockton.org will take the guise of tourists.
Stockton has warts and so does Modesto.