[Best of the Santa Clara Valley 1997]

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Best of San Martin

Antique Aircraft Museum
Time Flies: Visitors to the Antique Aircraft Museum in San Martin can take in a century of aviation evolution.

Best Sight for Soaring Eyes
The modest but well-maintained California Antique Aircraft Museum is composed of two display hangars packed with full-sized replicas and scale models of unusual planes and related aviation goodies. A self-guided tour offers details and history on all of the pieces, but even those ignorant of the significance of being in the same room with an actual 1913 Austrian Taube will enjoy being up-close and personal with planes of the past. One of the most interesting pieces is a replica of the forefather of all planes, the "Wright Flyer." Some planning ahead is required; the museum is only open Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays, 10am-3pm.
12777 Murphy Ave., San Martin (408/683-2290)

Best Casa de Surrealism
Though technically not in the county, Casa de Fruta is such a self-contained empire of unassuming weirdness that it simply demands inclusion in any compendium of Santa Clara Valley's agricultural southern end. Lunch, produce and wine tasting are available at the original fruit stand and the accompanying Casa de Deli, Casa de Sweets and Casa de Country Store. From Casa de Choo-Choo, a miniature train winds its way through the surprisingly green grounds strewn with antique farm equipment, past wilted-looking peacocks and swampy ponds.

The oddness accelerates with an assortment of albino peacocks, buffaloes, goats and one sweltering Vietnamese potbellied pig over at the Zoo (not Casa de Zoo, just the Zoo). Children can try their hand at sluicing (panning for gem stones) in the Zoo gift shop. There is ample parking in Casa de Parking Lot, near the full-service Casa de Chevron. Overnight adventures into this alternative universe are made possible by accommodations at Casa de Motel or Casa de RV Park. Entrance is free; the Zoo and Choo-Choo are $2 each.
11031 Pacheco Pass Highway, Hollister (408/637-0051)

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

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