A new list of the Seven Wonders of the World will be announced
at the conclusion of phone and Internet voting next summer, not too
long after we finish voting on something like the next American
Idol or Dancing With the Stars champion.
A new list of the Seven Wonders of the World will be announced at the conclusion of phone and Internet voting next summer, not too long after we finish voting on something like the next American Idol or Dancing With the Stars champion.

As described by the Associated Press, Swiss adventurer (someday I’d like to be identified as an “adventurer”) Bernard Weber began the “New 7 Wonders of the World” campaign in 1999 to promote cultural diversity and support the restoration of monuments around the globe.

His effort got me thinking about our local points of pride, so here are some suggestions for the Seven Wonders of San Benito County (in no particular order):

Park Hill

This big bump just north of downtown Hollister is more than just trees, water tanks, and cell phone towers. It’s a magnificent vista point from which you can see all of Hollister from a bird’s eye view. It’s also been known as a spot for nefarious or amorous acts, so it’s not an ultra popular spot for families. But if you want a reminder of just how beautiful our town is, a quick trip up the hill to soak in the sights from above is well worth it.

Bolado Park

This throwback venue is the perfect setting for our county fair, which retains the old-time charms for which fairs were once known. Driving down the dusty entrance road, you’re soon parking on the grass and following the scent of corn dogs until the smell of livestock overtakes you. Farm equipment, stilt walkers, rock tribute acts, the demolition derby – it all combines into an experience that lets us celebrate our community’s roots as summer transitions to autumn.

Downtown Hollister

Though businesses seem to come and go along our town’s main thoroughfare, the area is charming. The business hours still don’t suit many commuters, but the lights sprinkled along San Benito Street during the coming holiday season add atmosphere to our town. There’s the Farmer’s Market, the various parades throughout the year, the stately Veteran’s Memorial Building. Did I mention the ample free parking in the expensive parking garage?

Santa Ana Valley Road

When I was in high school, this road and others branching off of it were part of the “country cruise” loop. Now, this rambling stretch of two-lane pavement is good for a family cruise. The mountains of the Diablo Range dwarf the countryside as the road winds along through farmland and scattered home sites. Squirrels play chicken with cars and tarantulas that look as big as chickens as they tiptoe across the road. Disinterested cows occasionally look up from their lunch while hawks and buzzards float silently overhead. The loop along this route from Fairview Road to Tres Pinos is more than worth the cost of gas.

Veterans Memorial Park

It’s not so much the beauty of this complex of softball and baseball fields that earns it a spot on the list, as much as it is the hometown feeling it fosters each spring and summer. From the fireworks and parade of teams at Little League’s opening ceremony to the choreographed cheers echoing from the Hollister Heat dugouts, this former race track is an oasis in this otherwise busy world.

San Juan Bautista

There aren’t too many better ways to spend a Saturday around here than lunch at Orient Express, dessert at San Juan Bakery, and a stroll around the Mission plaza. Dining on the patio of Jardine’s Mexican restaurant on a warm evening as chickens peck at chip crumbs is cool; and battling the crowds at the downtown arts and crafts festivals is hot. We’re lucky to have a place of such history so close by.

I left this week’s final suggestion to my youngest son:


“I like going to Target because it has stuff that I like, like video games and Nerf guns and toys.” Fair enough.

Outsiders may not consider our area home to any of the Seven Wonders of the World (except maybe The Pinnacles, which I left off because it is so obvious), but that’s fine by me.

Let them be fooled by our sewer ponds and earthquakes. Let them scoff at our Haybaler nickname. Let them be scared of our spinach.

Let them wonder why we live here while we wonder why they don’t.

Adam Breen teaches journalism and yearbook at San Benito High School. Have an idea for The Seven Wonders of San Benito County? E-mail him at [email protected].

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