By JASON CAMPBELL
“So what is there to do in Manteca now that there are no more waterslides?”
If I had a dollar for every single time somebody who isn’t from here asked me that question after Oakwood Lake decided to shuts it doors because of high operation costs and even higher land value amounts, I’d probably have enough for a nice dinner.
Let’s be honest – I don’t know that many people.
But it’s frustrating to think that in a town that sits just over an hour from San Francisco, two hours from Yosemite National Park and less than three hours from Lake Tahoe, we don’t have anything to do except for spend our time at the waterslides that have now been gone for going on two decades.
So here’s the short list of things that I do manage to show people who visit this area from out of town – some for the very first time – hoping to give them a slice of what life is like in good ol’ Manteca.
*Bass Pro Shops – Whether we like it or not, out biggest initial attraction to those who might not be from the area or anyplace that has one will be the massive retail store that pays tribute to all things outdoors. And that’s not necessarily a bad thing. The building itself is quite majestic, and there’s really no better representation of Manteca’s position in the Central Valley that to see all of the things that await you if you pick up a hiking stick, fishing pole or hunting rifle and drive in any one direction. It’s kind a tourist trap in some respects, but it’s a mesmerizing experience to see the dioramas and the detail that goes into the building, and while some of the luster may be lost now that Northern California has two other locations, it’ll still a must see.
*Downtown Manteca/Library Park – I know that this seems almost laughable on the surface – especially with how much Downtown Manteca has deteriorated with the influx of the homeless who have trashed buildings and businesses and turned into a general eyesore. But that doesn’t mean Manteca’s downtown district is without its charms, and a quick trip around showing off all of the murals that talented residents and established artists have painted to honor Manteca’s history and its position in The Golden State is a reminder of how lucky we are. While Library Park was at one time overrun by homeless, an overhaul by the City Council that included the installation of lights, new pathways, and a handful of murals changed the dynamic drastically and it’s now something you can’t leave off the list.
*The Country – It’s been idealized in postcards and paintings for those who long to relish in its beauty, but all around Manteca in every direction are orchards and fields and magnificent agricultural landscapes that are a sight to behold. In February we have the beauty of the almond blossoms blooming throughout the county, and even open fields in certain regions have a rustic charm that can’t be rivaled – especially in South Manteca when the Coastal Range provides a picture perfect backdrop to that magnificent sunset photo that you’ve been hoping to frame up. It gets even better when the wind blows and the hills seem so close that you can actually touch them. If you’re lucky enough, maybe one day a year you’re able to see snow on the Altamont pass, and that’s always something that brings a smile to my face.
To contact reporter Jason Campbell email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 209.249.3544.