[Best of the Santa Clara Valley 1997]

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Best of Morgan Hill

Best Dam Area
Uvas, Calero and Chesbro dams are within 10 miles of each other, each offering opportunities for a variety of water sports: fishing, sailing and, at Calero, jet skis and powerboating. All three contain large-mouth bass, catfish, crappie and other sunfish. Calero is the most popular, meaning there are always about half a dozen four-runners in the parking lot, and twice as many jet skis and powerboats zipping about the water. Chesbro is quiet and scenic, with multicolored reeds and half-submerged tree stumps in the shallows. At Uvas Reservoir, the water level is currently so low that even sailboats are temporarily not allowed, but the fish are still there. The reservoirs are open from 8am until sunset, but all boats must be off the water half an hour before sundown. Calero Reservoir charges for parking and use of the boat launch.
Follow the signs from Monterey Highway in Gilroy to Uvas Road

Best Road to Nowhere
When Croy Road first appears off of Uvas Road, the city of Gilroy has already been left far behind. Large, ranch-style homes, many of them with names instead of street numbers, dot the landscape. As the road wends its way into the foothills, big leafy trees intermixed with redwoods begin to form a canopy high above the pavement. "Road Narrows" signs suggest that the way might simply narrow itself out of existence.

And suddenly it does. The county-maintained road ends at a tall wooden gate. A large sign declaring the estate beyond property of the "Swedish American Patriotic League" is magnified by a number of "Private Property/Members Only" warnings. Only a tiny arrow-shaped sign marked "Uvas" reassures drivers that they have not wandered into a foreign land. Once past the gantlet of the Swedes, the road ends for real--in the parking lot of tranquil Uvas County Park.

Best Dam View
The view from the top of Anderson Dam is well worth the steep, twisting drive up from Highway 101. From the parking area, visitors have a choice of vistas. They can gaze out over the valley, taking in the rolling foothills of the Santa Cruz Mountains, the geometric patterns of orchards and fields, and, of course, the thick layer of smog smudging the sky to the north. Or they can turn around and concentrate on Anderson Reservoir itself. Caught between golden dry hills, the deep blue water looks decidedly unnatural, lacking any sort of shoreline or beach. Jet skis and powerboats zip back and forth while picnickers drink beer and munch sandwiches by the boat launch.
Top of Cochrane Road, off Highway 101

Best Blocks to Beat the Heat
The sidewalks in Morgan Hill (Monterey Road between Third and Main streets) are broad and clean, the shade cool and plentiful, and the shops open for business. The combination of quaint-by-design and authentic small-town appeal makes time slow down just a bit--at least enough for antiquing, window-shopping and maybe indulging in an ice-cream cone. Strange but soothing Muzak issues from small speakers on each lamppost. The laid-back atmosphere invites dallying on park benches.

Best Days to Go to Morgan Hill
This year's Taste of Morgan Hill (Sept. 27-28) promises more than 100 booths featuring arts and crafts, beer and wine tasting, and specialties from local restaurants and shops. The traditional pie-eating contest and grape stomps will be supplemented by a classic car show and a mini-Grand Prix, an expanded kids' fun zone and three stages of live entertainment. According to local Ann Hantelman, volunteers are out at 3am the morning before the event, setting up booths and readying the stage area. "It's really a great small-town sort of event," Hantelman says.
Between Main Street and Dunne Avenue

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From the Sept. 18-24, 1997 issue of Metro.

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