From Bakersfield to Sacramento and Oakland, the mighty Amtrak San Joaquin chugs through all of the Central Valley's most memorable sights.
JAMESTOWN - Railtown 1897 State Historic Park in the heart of the Sierra foothills invites visitors to experience the thrill of traveling back in time to the era of steam railroading.
OAKDALE - With its unspoiled scenery, the Sierra Railroad is singled out by movie producers from around the world as a preferred location for filming.
OAKDALE - The Sierra is third the oldest railroad in North America and besides carrying freight and passengers, Sierra became famous as "The Movie Railroad" for making over 300 movies, commercials and television shows. In the 1970s the railroad launched an industry when it operated the nation's first dinner train. In 1995 the railroad was rejuvenated by new ownership and experienced a remarkable decade of growth and expansion.
GROVELAND - Along with Yellowstone and Grand Canyon, Yosemite is one of my favorite national parks. Unfortunately, more than 4 million annual visitors share my sentiments.
The Crossroads of California Street Faire - Manteca's first big outdoor gathering of spring - returns for its 16th run on Saturday, April 14, and Sunday, April 15, in downtown Manteca.
LIVINGSTON - The City of Livingston is inviting Valley residents to go fly a kite - or rather come to the town's first annual Kite Festival and fly one together.
JACKSON - As a five-time Grammy award-winning, singer/songwriting guitar legend, it would be hard to overstate Robert Cray's impact on rock, rhythm & blues. He is considered one of the greatest guitarists of his generation.
MODESTO - The Modesto Garden Club's Annual Spring Tour takes place Saturday, April 21, from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.
LATHROP – At more than 350 miles long, the San Joaquin River, from its source in the Ansel Adams Wilderness to its mouth in the Suisun Bay, covers a large portion of the Central Valley.
GROVELAND - Cherry Valley Reservoir is a gem of a lake that sits at 4,700 feet between Dodge Ridge and Yosemite in the Stanislaus National Forest.
SUTTER CREEK - Tea Eras located at 34 Main Street (Highway 49) in Sutter Creek is an enchanting tea house where lunch is a languorous delight including high tea. Dinners are also available for 10 or more.
GROVELAND - It was summertime and the peak of the tourist season for the Sierra foothills town of Groveland. Two men dressed in shorts and hiking boots, and carrying serious backpacks, entered Dori's Tea Cottage causing co-owner Greg Jones to be a little apprehensive.
It's all about bonnets and boas and strainers and spoons.
I carefully composed the picture I wanted take with my camera. I was not using a tripod. So, to help steady my grip, I leaned heavily against my car from my driver's seat with the window down, and secured a firm foothold for my arms.
Not too long ago, Jason White and Lisa Perez took their road bikes out and took a spin along San Joaquin County's wine country region.
LOCKEFORD – It starts with the meats.
Although a majority of individuals only drive through Hilmar as a means to get to Interstate 5, the small community in Merced County has proven to be much more than a pit stop along the way.
KNIGHTS FERRY - It is a magical time along the Stanislaus River.
It's an eye-opening revelation of what Central Valley vets suffered in their Vietnam service where they felt they were braving their fears in combat for their country as they witnessed many of their comrades dropping to their deaths beside them.
On July 7 1944, Charles "Chuck" Walker vividly remembers being sent on a long-range bomber escort mission over Hungary. Just as the young pilot was focusing on driving off German Messerschmitt 109s, his plane was hit in the left engine. Mistakenly, Walker separated from his squadron, which left him weakly in the midst of a number of German aircrafts.
Private First Class John Burch Mooney, Jr. received a number of decorations during his time serving with the 35th Infantry Regiment during World War II, including an Asiatic Pacific Campaign Medal, a Philippine Liberation Ribbon with one bronze star, a Good Conduct Medal, and a World War II Victory Medal.
Paying it forward.
One of the best decisions Denise Johnson ever made was joining the military.
In the heart of the town that labels itself as the Gateway to Yosemite, aka Groveland, is a quaint cottage where you can relish being pampered by almost everything that is traditional English before you head out to the wilds. That place is Dori's Tea Cottage & Café at 18744 Main Street, which is also Highway 120. The famous
MODESTO – You need your porcelain. You need your finest china. And you absolutely need your tea.
ANGELS CAMP -Three miles north of Arnold off Highway 4, the colossal trees of Calaveras Big Trees State Park stand in quiet testimony to prehistoric times. These massive relics, which can reach a height of 325 feet and a diameter of 33 feet, are descended from trees that were standing when dinosaurs roamed Earth, and birds, mammals and flowering plants began to appear. Some of today's trees are thought to be as old as 2,000 years.
TURLOCK – With the spookiest holiday just around the corner, the city of Turlock has both children and canines covered with events including BARKtoberfest, a downtown trick-or-treating event, and Haunted Housing at California State University, Stanislaus.
LATHROP – Trick-or-treating is so passé.
STOCKTON – Halloween in Stockton has something for folks of all ages.