By VINCE REMBULAT
Occasionally, I’ll have an out-of-town friend drop by my Stockton home.
I live not too far from the University of the Pacific, specifically, in the central location of College View area.
I also live a stone’s throw away from the Calaveras River and within a mile of the Weberstown and Sherwood malls to the north, and the historic Miracle Mile to the south.
Those places are always a starting point for my Stockton excursions to my guests.
Last summer, my college buddy Neal Shearer came by via Amtrak from Fresno. He came by once before and we ended up taking him along the Delta to check out the watercrafts – Neal, by the way, used to sell boats.
This time around, I took him to Nena’s Mexican Restaurant at the Waterfront Warehouse along the Deep Water Channel.
What sets Stockton apart from the other Central Valley cities and towns is the waterfront. I’ll often showcase that feature to my many visitors from over the years.
It doesn’t always work out swimmingly.
Last year, Joseph Cabezas from Baltimore came by part of California for the first time. It was late October and the Port City along with many of its tributaries were blanketed in hyacinth. We might as well have been somewhere in the everglades.
If I had to squeeze in an entire day to showcase my hometown, I would start out with breakfast on the Miracle Mile.
This part of Pacific Avenue has several great options – all locally own – including Sam’s Café, Midtown Creperie & Café, and the Duck Nook.
If it’s just coffee or tea, the Miracle Mile has the Empresso Coffee House formerly the Stockton Royale Theater, House of Shaw Espresso Café and, of course, Starbucks.
A great place for a drive or a morning walk – afternoons and evenings, for that matter – is the University of the Pacific and the nearby Caldwell Village.
This tree-lined neighborhood with the distinct older homes is next door to the picturesque campus.
If it’s too hot, freezing cold or pouring rains, I’d go to the two climate-controlled indoor malls. One has a Barnes & Noble Book Store (Weberstown) while the other has a Best Buy and food court (Sherwood).
For knowledge and culture, I’d take folks to the Haggin Museum.
Founded in 1928, this place offers a large collection of paintings by some reputable artists and is also a showcase for local history. The Haggin Museum is located at Victory Park.
Lunch is always enjoyable along the river. I’ve taken visitors to Bob’s on the Marina located along White Slough in Lincoln Village West.
If it’s a nice, sit-down meal with a cold one or a glass of vino, Garlic Brothers Restaurant (next door to Bob’s) is a nice option.
The Breadfruit Tree is another place on the river. This cozy spot can be found further up White Slough at Paradise Point Marina, 809 N. Rio Blanco Rd.
Oak Grove Regional Park (4520 W. Eight Mile Rd.) is not too far away from the Breadfruit Tree. This 180-acre park has a lake for fishing and paddle boating not to mention a nature trail – what better way soak up a nice day?
As for other activities, Stockton has two bowling alleys (West Lane, Pacific), two multiplex movie theaters (City Centre Stadium 16, Holiday Cinema 8), laser tag (Zaps Zone), trampoline park (Sky Zone), minor league baseball (Stockton Ports), minor league hockey (Stockton Heat) and trap shooting (Stockton Trap & Skeet Club Inc.).
The best place to wind the day down is back on the Miracle Mile.
Whirlow’s (1906 Pacific Ave.), Mile Wine Company (2113 Pacific Ave.) and Whiskey Barrel Tavern (151 W. Alder St.) usually offers live music.
Valley Brew (157 W. Adams St.) is a pub and jazz club with plenty of outdoor patio seating on a nice evening.
For the most part, I’ll keep my options open when it comes to entertaining out-of-town visitors. We’ll usually play it by ear.
The results are always memorable.
To contact reporter Vince Rembulat, e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.