STOCKTON - The Port City gets a bad rap, no doubt.
But don’t tell the folks who showed up for the Stockton Concerts in Victory Park this past summer. An estimated 12,500 attended the 12 free shows capped off by the Abba tribute band, Waterloo.
The previous week, the Nick Isaak Band performed some traditional country sets. A surprise treat was Chris Isaak sitting in during the entire two-hour performance. “I’m Chris’ roadie tonight,” said older brother Nick Isaak, who confirmed the identity of the famous crooner.
Victory Park has been a longtime jewel of Stockton. Runners and walkers join picnickers at this park consisting of 22 acres of green grass, palm and shade trees, two duck ponds, a rose garden and Haggin Museum.
Directions: from Interstate 5, take the North Pershing Avenue exit and go two blocks north. For more information on Victory Park, log on to www.stocktongov.com.
The park is adjacent to surrounding tree-lined neighborhoods that feature some unique and historic homes, making it a popular spot for walking.
East of the Victory Park along Acacia Street is the quaint Yosemite Street Village, consisting of Acacia Café, China Village, and The Blackwater Café.
Acacia Street Café feature oven-baked pizzas, sandwiches including tri-tip served on Genoa bread, a variety of brewed ice teas, and a full bar. China Village is always good for take-out. The Blackwater Café will take care of that java fix and often with live music.
From East Acacia Street, turn right on to North Yosemite Street. Continue on to West Fremont Street and travel east about five blocks to the Banner Island Ballpark – home of the MLB Oakland Athletics’ Class-A affiliation, the Stockton Ports – and the Stockton Arena nestled along the Deep Water Channel and McLeod Lake.
Head north, taking North Madison Street, and go seven blocks and, as a side trip, make a quick right on to West Rose Street, where, about two blocks over is the Cathedral of the Annunciation. Stop in and take a look inside this often described “breath-taking” church.
Return to Madison Street and continue on until the road links up to North Pacific Avenue, home of Miracle Mile (See: www.stocktonmiraclemile.com).
This was Stockton’s first shopping district outside of downtown and was conceived by developer Joe Plecarpo, who was influenced by Los Angeles’ Wilshire Boulevard some 90 years ago.
The Miracle Mile is anchored by a pair of coffee houses – namely, the Empire Theatre in the Promenade Building and a Starbucks on the other end. In between are a variety of shops and restaurants worth meandering through on foot.
A few blocks up the road is the picturesque University of the Pacific campus (See: www.pacific.edu).
Pacific was founded in 1851 and is the oldest chartered university in California. The Stockton campus with a generous number of trees also features a tower, and brick buildings. Along with the architectural columns, UOP can easily pass for an East Coast Ivy League school. Many motion pictures have been filmed there over the years.
Lodi Wine Country is a hidden jewel in California.
From Highway 99, take Turner Road and travel west a few blocks to Church Street, turn left (south) to the quaint downtown, and stroll over to Estate Crush (2 W. Lockeford St.), Fields Family Wines (20 N. School St.), Jessie’s Grove (27 E. Locust St.), Jeremy Wine Co. (6 W. Pine St.), Cellardoor (21 N. School St.), Lodi Wine Co. (112 W. Pine St.) and Dancing Fox (203 S. School St.).
Return to Turner Road and stop over at the Lodi Wine and Visitor Center (2545 W. Turner Road), an interactive experience on learning about the local wine grapes, growing, and wine making.
A few feet away is the Wine & Roses Hotel (See: www.winerose.com). Stop in and get a taste or feel of Tuscany or get pampered at the luxurious spa facilities.
Continue along Turner Road while enjoying a drive along the vineyards. Signs are posted throughout the countryside, providing motorists with directions to such places as Spenker Winery (17303 N. DeVries Road), Ripken Vineyards and Winery (2472 W. Sargent Road), Van Ruiten Family Winery (340 W. Highway 12), and Michael David Winery (4580 W. Highway 12), to name a few.
For more information, log on to www.lodiwine.com.
— VINCE REMBULAT
209 staff reporter