Hidden gems of the South Valley
By Michael Stevens
Hollister Free Lance News, Lifestyles — Limelight, July 21, 2005
Given Hollister's strong agricultural roots and open-country feel, it's no surprise that some of the best activities in town, for young and old alike, take advantage of Mother Nature's bounty.
One of the most popular activities for teens is spending the day at Hollister Hills, an off-road wonderland for motorcyclists and four-wheelers. Open every day from dawn to dusk, Hollister Hills is located in the Gabilan Mountains and offers miles of dirt trails, ranging in elevation from 660 feet to 2,425 feet and hundreds of acres of open space. For more information, call (831) 637-3874.
Several times a year, teens can head to Bolado Park, seven miles south of Hollister, for the annual San Benito County Saddle Horse Show and Rodeo, held at the end of June. Also a draw is the San Benito County Fair, which takes place in late September or early October. For about the price of a movie, visitors can enjoy some fantastic live entertainment at the horse show and rodeo.
Many teens, through their involvement in Future Farmers of America and 4-H, participate in the Junior Livestock Auction, one of the highlights of the county fair. Mark your calendar: This year the auction is scheduled for Saturday, October 1.
In recent years, Swank Farms' Great Corn Maze, Pumpkin Patch and Haunted Ranch have become a teen hot spot in San Benito County. From the end of September through Halloween, teens flock to enjoy the challenge of navigating their way through a complicated maze that has been created out of acres of 10-foot stalks of corn. Located within the maze is the Conover Mystery Ranch. This is a haunted house experience like none other. Many teens enjoy the maze so much, they return again and again.
Eating always ranks high on any teen's list of favorite activities. One of Hollister's culinary gems is Progresso Tamale Parlor and Factory, 230 Third St. Progresso serves traditional Mexican fare, using old family recipes, with an emphasis on fresh ingredients. Teens can appreciate the reasonable prices and generous portions, but it's Progresso's great food that keeps them coming back.
Although Hollister may lack the hustle and bustle of a big city, small-town traditions and local flavor provide unique experiences for teens and their families.
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