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Top Five Destinations of Modesto

I didn’t have a strong prior opinion on Modesto. I’d seen it in things like “American Graffiti” and “maps” and in my gut it felt like a city. With a name like Modesto, it felt like a city probably a little better than the rest of the ones you’d find in the central valley of California near I-5, but that’s maybe because I prize modesty. Anyway, it passed the destination smell test. However, I didn’t expect to find a place that ranked 161 out of 162 in a well-being index or 99th out of a hundred in foreclosures or a top ten worst place to live based on crime.

Then, I discovered it had the nerve to try and get better in my eye with a tourism site. Does it mention on its first page about the crime rate or crippled housing market? No. Modesto acted like it was perfect and deserved my writing to acknowledge it in my list of destinations when it didn’t come close to deserving such a thing. Just because I didn’t bother doing any research or thinking about Modesto prior to writing this, I feel it tried to sway me by looking better than it is. I almost submitted a blank list of zero destinations in order for you, the reader, to know how disappointed I was in Modesto. I almost went on at length about how it had lied to me, my family and all of the children of the United States about what it was like to visit there. It didn’t matter that one year later it ranked 126 out of 190 and that I’d already found number 130, 131, 158 and several more acceptable and about which I had already written glowing lists. I now knew the truth, and Modesto would suffer.

Then I realized I wasn’t an attention seeking member of the BBWAA, I shook my head, came to my senses and found five pretty cool things to do in Modesto and its surrounding environs. (Thanks to Wikipedia for the statistics in the first paragraph regarding Modesto. Thanks to Lynn Hoppes for showing me how not to use Wikipedia.)

Visit the McHenry Museum and Mansion

In order to learn more about this city, it looks like the first stop should be the McHenry Museum and Mansion. Exhibits explore the history of the city and what life in those early times was like. From the pictures on most of the links, I hope there are more of those frontier photographs on display.

Catch a Modesto Nuts baseball game

I hope the opening paragraphs (and my many other writings) let you know that I am a big baseball fan. For that reason, catching a Modesto Nuts baseball game would be high on my list. They are the single-A affiliate of the Rockies, and I’m sure you might have a chance to see a top hitting prospect like Trevor Story play there this year after he played at a low-A club in 2012.

Pick Blackberries at the Turlock Lake State Recreation Area

On one of my favorite road trips, two buddies and I stood by the roadside and picked blackberries to eat on our way back from the beach in Oregon. So, I saw the Tuolomne Trail in the Turlock Lake State Recreation Area and a trail ending in blackberry brambles, and it had to make the list. Though, this location may be prone to bears, as they like berries as much as I do.

Eat at Tresetti’s World Caffe

I clicked on a random menu at Tresetti’s World Caffe and found Lollipop Coconut Prawns with Pineapple Sweet Chile Salsa and that was really all I needed to see. But geez, they also have a Marscapone Amaretto Cannoli that begs to be tried.

Tour the San Joaquin River National Wildlife Refuge

A purpose behind the San Joaquin River National Wildlife Refuge is to recreate the forests that used to be plentiful in the central valley next to all the water that is now used for the huge cities and agriculture. I am more than a little curious to catch a glimpse of the endangered riparian brush rabbit. (Sounds a bit more menacing than a cottontail, right?)

Any suggestions for things that I missed? Any additional recommendations for the area? Just let me know in the comments.

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About Jason McClain Jason is an aspiring novelist, which means there is a lot of time to put off writing and watch baseball or go fly-fishing, hiking and traveling. By "a lot of time", Jason means "procrastination."

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