Hank Vander Veen
Welcome to our second annual Best of 209 issue. In this issue we have the results from your votes. This year we nearly doubled our votes. We also had many new nominations and winners from all corners of the 209 region. We hope you enjoy the section and find new places to try as we support local businesses in our region.

Some other features in this issue include the Gold Festival in Sonora. The Delta Gold Diggers will be hosting the Gold and Outdoor Festival at the Mother Lode Fairgrounds on Aug. 20 and 21. This event will have several hands-on activities for both kids and adults. One of the popular attractions is panning for real gold. Kids and adults will have the opportunity to pan for genuine gold, just like the miners did in the 1800s. We also feature five must-visit eateries across the 209 including Modesto’s Urbano Bistro, Redwood Cafe and The Fruit Yard, fē•nix in the heart of Lodi and Bella Luna Cafe in Merced.

In Navigator I wrote a story about a great way to beat the heat when the temperature here crosses the century mark. Just a short two hour drive to the west is Carmel and the Monterey Peninsula. I highlight a few of the places we stayed and visited with temperatures nearly 50 degrees cooler than the valley heat. We all love where we live but sometimes you just have to get away from the heat.

In charity corner we highlight a ranch tucked away near the end of Combs Road, off Sutliff Avenue in Escalon. Healing Arenas, Inc. offers a number of programs designed to provide solutions for humans and horses, working primarily with veterans. The ranch works in cooperation with the Modesto Vet Center to provide a free of charge program for veterans, Stable Survivors, that utilizes equine assisted psychotherapy and learning experiences that help with post-traumatic stress disorder, grief, anxiety, fear, life transitions and more.

So I hope you enjoy reading this issue of 209 Magazine and continue to support all the local businesses, attractions, charities and people that make our region what it is. We continue to strive to be the most relevant magazine in your home, a place called 209.

Hank Vander Veen
Publisher, 209 Magazine
[email protected]