It's a city with a small-town charm. And that's just scratching the surface when it comes to the mining of all the visual and historical – among many other things – attractions that draw visitors in droves to the city of Jackson nestled in the heart of the Mother Lode. The proof is in the numbers. While this quaint and quiet city in Amador County is home to just 4,300 residents, the number swells up to more than 15,000 on the weekends when the tourist traffic is at its busiest.
Columbia State Park just outside of Sonora is a gem of a tourist attraction with its stage plays in the Fallon House Theatre in addition to its Main Street "City Hotel" and restaurant, gold panning and an occasional stage coach ride.
The cruising excitement of past years continues to be an integral part of Manteca's history as three longtime members of the community recalled where they were in the 1940s to the 1960s and what they were doing.
MODESTO - The spirit of vintage cars and cruising is eternally captured in Modesto: the hometown of George Lucas and location where famous film American Graffitti was shot just over 40 years ago. While Lucas' famed film may not be in theaters anymore, locals keep the spirit of American Graffiti alive through the annual summertime American Graffiti Festival presented by the North Modesto Kiwanis Club.
If you squint your eyes you can see a little bit of Al Nunes in Paul Le Mat's character from American Graffiti.
RIPON – Commander Ernie Tyhurst of the Clinton McCausland Post 190 of the American Legion has a history of service to his community and to his country during his colorful lifetime. He joined the Legion four years ago and is in his second year in its leadership. He is now a life member.
RIPON – Commander of the Veterans of Foreign Wars' Post 1051 in Ripon, John Franscella, has served three tours aboard the U.S.S. Hancock assigned to the F-8 Fighter Squadron in the Gulf of Tonkin between 1968 and 1970.
While Memorial Day allows locals to take a moment to thank veterans for their service and sacrifice, several veteran organizations continue to contribute year-round to the community. From supporting sober graduate nights to hosting flag retirement ceremonies, veteran societies such as the American Legion support and further the goals of the community through their financial contributions.
LATHROP – Charles McGonegal is looking to boost membership at the Sharpe General Depot American Legion Post 632.
MANTECA – The briefcase sits on a ledge near the front window of the Village Sandwich Shoppe, open and overflowing with folders and paperwork.
The impact the American Legion has had on the lives of veterans – even those who don't know that the organization exists – is unquestioned.
When you visit the famous wine-growing region of Napa, perhaps there is no local attraction that captures the spirit of your journey better than a ride on the Napa Valley Wine Train. Hop on board this historic train and you'll chug your way through scenic vineyards to wine-lover's heaven.
Zombies are on the horizon for the Sierra Dinner train chugging out of its Oakdale station this summer. Also new to the long established attraction that featured a Murder Mystery and a Christmas Train is a Beer Train that is coming in mid-August.
The last time I rode aboard the ACE train was five years ago.
Kick your seat back, look out of the window and witness the hills and mountains of the Central Valley unfolding around you - this is the experience of riding the San Joaquin Amtrak Train.
It sounds like a restaurant.
Recessions have come and gone, and still Oscar Sarkes is sewing away.
For over 25 years, Oakdale resident Bruce Johnson has been working with custom made leatherwork and tools. Even though he recently made the decision to no longer focus on custom leather goods, his business, Bruce Johnson Leather Tools, still offers a wide array of modern and antique leather tools for experienced leatherworkers and novices alike.
Chimneysweepers aren't like Bert from Mary Poppins.
The world's largest "rock" isn't the Hope Diamond.
Ernie's Food & Spirits has built a reputation as one of the finest dining experiences in all the Central Valley, but the best seat in the house may not be in the building at all.
MODESTO – You don't have to be Abe Froman to get a table at Concetta.
Who says dining alfresco has to be pricey?
BIG OAK FLAT – There's no pot of gold at the end of the climb up winding Old Priest Grade in Tuolumne County.
RIPON – Every inch of the Canal Street Grille is spiced with its own charm and elegance, from the wine cellar to its formal dining room to the frosted glass.
Since 1980, El Jardin has been a favorite destination for patio dining and great Mexican cuisine in Turlock. Although diners can opt to eat inside, it is what is on the outside that attracts customers to El Jardin time and time again.