Gotta love Gilroy

It took nearly three years, but my mother and step-father
finally made the trip across the country to Gilroy.
It took nearly three years, but my mother and step-father finally made the trip across the country to Gilroy. Nonetheless, just in time for the final day of the 25th Anniversary of the Garlic Festival.

Although I had just been on vacation – after a year’s absence – to my home state of New York, I was silently giddy that my mother was here to see the town I’ve adopted as my second home.

It comes as no surprise that my mother fell in love with our quaint, little community from the moment she smelled the fresh aroma of garlic that I had been telling her about for so long.

Our first stop was the Garlic Festival. There was no better time for her to come down to appreciate the place I have grown to love over the years. The scent of fresh garlic was stronger than ever – and my mother loves that ingredient in all she eats.

To be honest, I was a little nervous about what she would think of Gilroy – but her love affair with the garlic capital of the world began shortly after her arrival.

Walking through the festival, she was overwhelmed by the size and effort put into it – as I was for the first of my three garlic feast tours. Even though we’re from the Big Apple, there is nothing comparable to the annual event in Gilroy. While my mom and I enjoyed the combination plate – which was delicious as always – my stepfather wolfed down on the scrumptious pepper steak sandwich.

Over three hours of garlic and some wine tasting was more than enough to give these first-time visitors the true essence of the best town – in my eyes – in the county. The spirit, the camaraderie, the pride in one’s home was alive and glowing – and just at the right time.

When garlic-time was over though, I wondered what else was there Gilroy had to offer a Long Islander. That’s when I got a special tour guide to take my parents through the other wonders of Gilroy. A ride down historic Fifth Street – which I even did not know about – added to the small town ambiance. Then, a sweep through some of the wineries was the clincher.

My mom felt the same as I. Years of wondering why her some moved more than 3,000 miles away – never to return – finally had an answer. Gilroy, California has as much, if not more, character than any big city or small hamlet within the state of New York.

We wined and dined for her short, but sweet visit. And she loved every minute of it. Now she can go home and tell first-hand stories about what her son is doing and where he dwells.

Truthfully, that’s all I wanted. My mother’s opinion means the world to me, so I hope when she returns from her trip down the coast of California – ending in San Diego – she can say, “That Gilroy was awesome. I’m glad my son landed in such a place with caring people, strong community spirit, and the strongest smell of garlic my nose will ever inhale.”

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