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Where to enjoy seasons colors in Tree City USA
fall pix
The rustle of the wind on the trees and the rhythmic sighs of the water fountain in front AMC Theater and Bass Pro Shops at the Promenade Shops at Orchard Valley in Manteca are not-so-quiet companions to this visitor. - photo by ROSE ALBANO RISSO/The Bulletin

There was a time in the not-so-distant past when you could count by the fingers of one hand the stand-out places where you could take your family on a windshield tour of colorful fall foliage in and around Manteca.

If you had the luxury of time and a vehicle with great gas mileage, you could bundle up the kids and head over to the foothills or the Sierra where you can feast your eyes to your heart’s content at the magnificent colors of autumn blanketing the rolling hills and mountains.

While there’s no comparing the majestic colors in the Sierra to that of Manteca, the Family City has since come a long way in the autumn-viewing department. We can thank the city’s aggressive and enthusiastic tree program in part for that which has earned Manteca Tree City USA status every year for the last two decades. As of 2013, the Family City is home to approximately 17,000 trees – and counting. Last year, five new trees were added to the collection when the Manteca Garden Club planted 15-gallon trees on the west wall of the Manteca Public Library downtown in memory of its members who had recently passed away – Gussie Cabral, Russ Jones, and Ginger Admire. The club are also donated some of the trees along Center Street in front of the library. The group donates trees to the city as part of its annual beautification project.

Careful selection of tree varieties has also contributed to the foliage landscape of the city. Along major thoroughfares around the city are trees that wear their best leaf and blossom arrays through all the year’s four seasons. Mission Ridge, for example, from South Main Street to Union Road, lend themselves to colorful windshield viewing in the fall, thanks to ginkgo and maple tree varieties along the curbsides. Where once there were maple trees along the North Street and Powers Avenue sides of St. Paul’s United Methodist Church that delighted many a fall motorist and pedestrian, now there are just as colorful Chinese pistachios with less invasive roots in their place.

But as far as the golden colors of fall are concerned, nothing comes close to the majesty of two giant ginkgo trees in Manteca – the one next to Wilson Park behind the Post Office in downtown Manteca, and the other in front of a residential property on Lincoln Street between Center Street and Yosemite Avenue. The tree by Wilson park is starting to turn golden; if you miss that, you can wait for the one on Lincoln Street to explode into a golden vision made even more picturesque by being located next to a photogenic white house that is one of the oldest homes in Manteca.

If you want a place where you can quietly sit on a bench while enjoying the fall foliage around, head out to the Promenade Shops at Orchard Valley where several of these photos were taken.