Cal­i­for­nia’s agri­cul­tural heart­land

Travel Guide to California - - CONTENTS - BY JILL K. ROBIN­SON


Modesto, Fresno, Bak­ers­field, Davis, Stock­ton, Fair­field, Merced, Visalia, Madera, Va­cav­ille, Man­teca, Lodi


Sacra­mento In­ter­na­tional Air­port (SMF), 80 miles (129 km) from Modesto, 172 miles (277 km) from Fresno

San Fran­cisco In­ter­na­tional Air­port (SFO), 94 miles (151 km) from Modesto, 186 miles (299 km) from Fresno

Los An­ge­les In­ter­na­tional Air­port (LAX), 118 miles (190 km) from Bak­ers­field

TOURISM WEB­SITE vis­it­cen­tral­val­ley.com

The rich green strip wedged be­tween the Sierra Ne­vada Range and the coastal moun­tains in the cen­ter of Cal­i­for­nia is con­sid­ered by many to be the great­est gar­den in the world. The Cen­tral Val­ley, which runs 400 miles north to south, is filled with farms, or­chards and vine­yards grow­ing ev­ery­thing from al­monds to cher­ries to peaches to grapes, and sup­plies as much as 45 per­cent of the food eaten in the United States. See and taste the state’s bounty when you travel here to dis­cover the soul of these vi­brant com­mu­ni­ties.

Cal­i­for­nia’s Cen­tral Val­ley con­tains thou­sands of acres of land un­der cul­ti­va­tion and small farm­ing com­mu­ni­ties that seem to have been frozen in time. The larger cities here (Modesto, Fresno and Bak­ers­field) still have a small-town friend­li­ness that en­cour­ages vis­i­tors to slow down and find out that there’s more go­ing on be­yond the farm­land. From the quiet, north­ern­most towns of Or­land, Yuba City and Davis to Visalia, Tu­lare and Mari­copa at the south­ern end, it’s easy to feel at home and see what some call “the Other Cal­i­for­nia.”

Trav­el­ers us­ing In­ter­state 5 to get through the Cen­tral Val­ley may be­lieve the agri­cul­tural re­gion is noth­ing more than a sleepy lit­tle farm­ing area, but don’t speed by and dis­count the wealth of spec­tac­u­lar scenery, op­por­tu­ni­ties for out­door recre­ation, high­lights of Cal­i­for­nia his­tory and funky road­side din­ers. The best way to dis­cover the area on a leisurely itin­er­ary is by tak­ing High­way 99, which feels more like a back road. Cities and towns are clus­tered along the route, giv­ing you a chance to pull off and ex­plore any time you want.

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