Morgan Hill Offers Warm Welcome to Tourists
Imagine spending a few days in the San Francisco Bay Area amid rolling hills dotted with vineyards and wineries, world class golf courses, and miles of trails for hiking and biking. Now instead of crowds and traffic-choked roads filled with caravans of tour buses, imagine a relaxed pace and wide-open country lanes. Such a place exists, and it is much closer to Silicon Valley, the Peninsula and the East Bay than many people realize. It’s Morgan Hill.
“We’ve got a lot of what everybody else wants. We look around and we see the open space. We see the parks, the wineries, the fine dining,” said Morgan Hill City Council Member John McKay. “We’re like what Napa was 30, 40 years ago.”
There are almost 40 wineries in the Morgan Hill area and wine has been produced in the region since the Spanish Mission-era in the 18th Century.
“We’re really known for our reds: Zinfandel, Cabernet Sauvignon, Syrah,” winemaker Frank Leal of Leal Vineyards said.
The wineries in Morgan Hill and the surrounding area remains informal and welcoming, in contrast to much of modern Napa and Sonoma.
“There are families making wine and it’s small and quaint, and you can usually talk to the winemaker personally,” Leal said.
The Santa Clara Valley Wine Trail has wineries along its well-marked 30-mile route that runs through the heart of Morgan Hill. More than a dozen more are located off of the main trail but still within an easy drive.
Morgan Hill also has numerous outdoor recreation options in addition to its wineries, including world class golf. The U.S. Women’s Open was held at Rosewood CordeValle in 2016 and won by American Brittany Lang. The Robert Trent Jones II-designed course also hosted the best men’s golfers in the world at the annual Frys.com Open from 2010-2013, including Tiger Woods in 2011.
“We get golfers from all over the world that come out and play the course. We have an amazing golf experience. We offer caddies for all of our golfers who go out and we have a golf butler program too,” Rosewood CordeValle Director of Sales and Marketing Marline Avelar said.
We’ve got a lot of what everybody else wants. We look around and we see the open space. We see the parks, the wineries, the fine dining. We’re like what Napa was 30, 40 years ago.
In addition to CordeValle, the Morgan Hill area has two Jack Nicklaus-designed courses at Coyote Creek, Eagle Ridge, which was co-designed by Johnny Miller, and San Juan Oaks, co-designed by Masters champion Fred Couples. Morgan Hill also makes an affordable base for golfers who want to play the famous courses of the Monterey Peninsula, including Pebble Beach, which are an easy 40-minute drive away.
Tiger Woods and the rest of the PGA Tour are not the only world class athletes who have found something they like in Morgan Hill. For the past two years, the world’s best cyclists have come through town as part of the Amgen Tour of California.
“A lot of the regular, weekly rides from our shop are on the Amgen time trial course from 2018 because it’s a great loop that everybody can do. It’s beautiful and you get to ride the same roads the pros do,” said Doug Hall, co-owner of Bike Therapy in Downtown Morgan Hill.
The Morgan Hill area also has great mountain biking trails.
“We are overwhelmed with great mountain biking in Morgan Hill. Pretty much any direction you go you can be on trails within 15 minutes in oak-strewn hills. It’s amazing,” Hall said.
Morgan Hill also has miles of hiking trails in more than 20 nearby parks, including Henry W. Coe State Park, Anderson Lake, Coyote Lake and Chesbro Reservoir.
Downtown Morgan Hill has undergone a renaissance. It remains easily walkable but now has restaurants that are attracting diners from as far away as the Peninsula and Monterey, and in 2021 the new Granada Boutique Hotel will open in the heart of downtown.
No bridges, no tolls, that’s our tagline.
Even before the Granada Hotel opens, the city has numerous lodging options for travelers, from the world-class luxury of Rosewood CordeValle to a wide range of upscale and midscale national chain hotels and local family-owned inns and bed-and-breakfasts.
The City of Morgan Hill is fully committed to expanding tourism in the region. They have just created a Tourism Business Improvement District and hired a new executive director. Prime development opportunities exist for a full-service hotel with conference facilities, and a fully entitled development opportunity for a fine art gallery and restaurant with rooftop lounge is now available for purchase, all within an easy drive of much of the Bay Area.
“No bridges, no tolls, that’s our tagline,” McKay said. “We’ve got a million people just 20 minutes away. Quite frankly, once they come here we know they’ll come back.”
For more information on visiting Morgan Hill, click here.