Tuesday, December 23, 2008

"Gilroy is the Perfect Destination Right in Your Backyard"

By: Kevin L. Nichols

The economy is in the toilet. Disposable cash is a figment of the imagination. How does a hardworking Bay Area family plan a vacation while processing how to pay their rising mortgages, utilities, and gas in their oversized SUV or minivan? Take a mini-destination vacation to Gilroy.

Gilroy is the perfect place to take an overnight mini-vacation, without getting on a plane and/or driving 5 hours or more to get there. In about an hour and a half's time, you can still absorb the sunny and warm temperatures that foster wholesome family fun at a reasonably low cost.

The must see attraction outside the annual Gilroy Garlic Festival in July, is Gilroy Gardens, formerly known as Bonfante Gardens. Gilroy Gardens was founded by Michael and Claudia Bonfante for the purposes of educating guests and galvanizing a spirit of horticulture. It is committed to promoting environmental stewardship amongst K-12 schools, colleges, and universities. Gilroy Gardens has over 40 attractions, rides, educational exhibits, and magnificent gardens.

The rides are designed for all ages, however, the little tikes will be most excited because there are few rides that they cannot get on. Not only does Gilroy Gardens have an estuary for monarch butterflies, but it also has
Michael Bonfante's signature "Circus Trees." In 1985, Bonfante rescued the surviving 29 Circus Trees originally created by Axel Erlandson in the early 1920's, which consisted of mysterious tree trunks engineered to grow in unique ways.

With roller coasters, a train, carousels, a water park, a lake, paddle boats, and other attractions, Gilroy is the best place to go for all ages. It even has the Musical Market Show that educates viewers about the importance of vegetables and agriculture in the surrounding area, as well as spectacular sites such as Bonfante Falls and rare gardens/botanicals. Please visit http://www.gilroygardens.org/ for their park hours, admission prices, more historical background, and information on their Holiday Lights celebration.

Although Gilroy is not too far to travel, it is always nice to find affordable and comfortable accommodations so that you do not have to make the trek back to the Bay Area right away. If you choose to stay in Gilroy, you cannot beat the Hilton Garden Inn http://www.hiltongardeninn.com/. It has a wonderful decorum and splendid ambiance for a romantic getaway and enough space to bring the entire family. Their rooms feature small refrigerators, microwaves, hair dryers, 27" televisions, and coffeemakers. They also have a wonderful staff and management team.

If you do not mind driving about 10-15 minutes away, I highly recommend staying in Morgan Hill. The Courtyard Marriott www.marriott.com/hotels/travel/sjcmh-courtyard-san-jose-south-morgan-hill is quaint hotel with that has an affordable breakfast buffet, wine, beer, and cocktails served Monday through Saturday. The rooms are spacious along with a decent amount of amenities and is most convenient for couples and those in the area for business with its furniture and free high speed wireless internet access.

The best bang for your buck, however, is the Residence Inn http://www.marriott.com/hotels/travel/sjcmo-residence-inn-san-jose-south-morgan-hill. Not only is it affordable, but a hot breakfast buffet is including in your room rate. The rooms are like a "residence" in the sense that you have a hard tile floor, kitchen equipped with a refrigerator, microwave, dishwasher, silverware, pots and pans, a conventional oven, and a stove, coupled with a pull out sofa/bed and two televisions (one for the parents to watch the Sex and the City Marathon's and one for the children to watch the Disney Channel and Nickelodeon). Free high speed wireless internet access and business furniture is also included in the room. The hotel even has an indoor pool. After staying at a Residence Inn, it is the only way to travel with the family.

Although there are lots of eateries to choose from, Gilroy has a signature premier restaurant, known as the West Side Grill http://www.thewestsidegrill.com/. Breakfast, lunch, and dinner are available, but dinner is by far the reason to partake. They offer a seafood and meat menu to die for. Some of the notable items are pasta with clams, jumbo prawns, or crab; filet mignon, prime rib, New York steak, and much more. The West Side Grill provides a unique ambiance of elegance, however, is friendly enough to have a family dinner with a wholesome children's menu. Ultimately, you need to stop by and try a meal there, and cap it off with one of their signature desserts, such as the decadent chocolate cake.

Gilroy is an awesome place that is often overlooked. After all of the fun that you can have at Gilroy Garden's, resting in a nice hotel, and eating a delectable meal, why not shop at the Gilroy Premium Outlets http://www.premiumoutlets.com/outlets/outlet.asp?id=23. This will be a mini-vacation that you will not forget.

Kevin L. Nichols is an author, President and CEO of KLN Publishing. LLC located in San Francisco, California. For more information, please visit http://klnpublishingllc.blogspot.com.

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