Gilroy, the Garlic Capital of the World

Gilroy Garlic Festival

Garlic Festival – much missed!

Gilroy is a scenic area well known for wineries, farmland and fruit stands.  More than anything,  it’s most iconic produce is garlic, which used to be celebrated late each July with the annual Garlic Festival, which, sadly, has been discontinued.

In summer days, the scent of garlic fills the early morning air and blows north along the coastal foothills so that those of us in Silicon Valley get a healthy nose full when grabbing our morning paper off the driveway. This has been my experience since I was a small child and I’m happy that all the progress of the last 40 or 50 years hasn’t changed the smell of garlic heralding mid-summer.

If you’re exploring this city, be sure to also check out Morgan Hill and San Martin, the other South County communities, too!

Gilroy: shopping, dining, wine tasting, parks, golf, and more

A nice easy, and fairly fast trip by car will bring you to South County and to this city nestled at the base of the coastal range.  It’s a wonderful day trip to explore the backyard of Silicon Valley, or better, take a whole weekend to get to know the area.  There’s a nice downtown area where you can do some shopping and dining.  Go out a bit and there are a number of fabulous wineries to check out.  And lest we forget, Gilroy is a local epicenter of bargain shopping.

At the intersection of highways 101 and 152, the Gilroy Premium Outlet Mall is found.  Go with the intention of spending money, because resistance is futile once you park your car.  We have shopped there many times and often found some especially good pricing on clothes.

Many will attest that cars are found for a better price there, too.

This area is also home to a charming family amusement park (aimed at younger kids), Gilroy Gardens.  Adults and children alike will appreciate the astounding topiary and twisted special trees which are unlike those you’d find anywhere else.  Even if you don’t have small kids, it’s worthwhile to visit this park just to see the amazing trees at least once.

Gilroy, Morgan Hill, Coyote Valley and nearby areas make up the “south county,” which has a little slower pace of living and quite a bit more affordability in housing. The commute is long.  The summers are hotter. So there are some trade-offs.

Love golf? There are several courses here: Eagle Ridge, Gilroy Golf Course, and Gavilan Golf Course are all in town.

Eagle Ridge Golf Course and neighborhood, Gilroy

 

Gilroy neighborhoods

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Gilroy Garlic Festival

GGF_2015_Flameup_3Greet the morning with the sweet smell of fresh Garlic in the air – the Gilroy Garlic Festival is back!

If you’ve ever caught the vivid aroma of the stinking rose early in the day it’s likely a breeze coming over the southern Santa Clara County city of Gilroy, the Garlic capital of the world. Whether you love or hate the pungent allium, this herb is a favorite for many foodies in Silicon Valley and around the world.

Gilroy celebrates their favorite bulb one weekend of the year during the Gilroy Garlic Festival, the last weekend in July. This year it’s back for the 38th annual event held on July 29, 30, and 31, 2016. So what to should you expect from “summer’s ultimate food fair?” Food, food, food, fun, shopping, music, and more!

Gourmet Alley is “all about the food” – classics like garlic bread, garlic fries, calamari, scampi, and sausage are available at the booths, and at the end aisle, watch the Pyro-Chefs stoke up five foot tall blazes from their frying pans. Weird food lovers will enjoy a plenitude of flavors from other booths around the festival, including free samples of garlic ice-cream, alligator and buffalo meat, or ice cream in a half cantaloupe. There’s also the range of standard festival food stalls, beer, wine, coolers, and non-alcoholic chilled drinks.

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