Between 1769 and 1823, twenty-one missions were built throughout California. Eleven are located in the Central Coast—the largest concentration of California missions—and many are still active churches. Why not take a road trip and see them all? Here is a list of California’s Central Coast missions by region: Continue reading →
Right now is a great time to get outside, get in shape, and have some fun.
Bicycle enthusiasts in Ventura will enjoy the 12-mile-long Omer Rains Trail, a coastal biking and walking route where you can exercise while enjoying breathtaking views. The trail connects to the Ventura River Bike Trail, which climbs gently inland for six miles to Foster Park. From there, you can bicycle nearly 10 miles to Ojai via the Ojai Valley Trail. Both of these trails follow the route of a converted railroad line.
For more information and to see a list of things to do outdoors in Ventura click here.
It’s spring in Santa Barbara, which means the event and festival scene begins to ramp up as the days get longer and warmer! If you’re cruising through California’s Central Coast, plan your trip to coincide with one, or a few, of these classic Santa Barbara happenings:
The 24th Annual Santa Maria Strawberry Festival: April 29 – May 1, 2012
Nothing says summer like strawberry shortcake and no place produces strawberries quite as sweet as Santa Maria Valley. Head to Santa Maria Fairpark April 29th, 30th and May 1st from 11:00am – 11:00pm for some wholesome family fun, including the biggest, juiciest, freshest strawberries Santa Barbara County has to offer. A variety of culinary delights and cooking demonstrations will complement.
Santa Barbara’s Granada Theatre is a gorgeously restored 1924 vintage gem on State Street, in the center of town. The ornate front doors are like portals into a glamorous past; I can imagine hobnobbing with Marion Davies or Buster Keaton at a premiere. I wish I had gone in during my last visit. It’s definitely on the list for next time.
This is the perfect time of year to really get out there and explore all that California’s Central Coast has to offer. A perfect example? Channel Islands National Park.
Comprised of five islands known as “the Galápagos of North America,” Channel Islands National Park is a world apart. Despite the isolation that makes it one of the country’s least-visited national parks and that allows 2,000 plant and animal species to thrive (the cat-sized Island fox is one of 145 Channel Islands species found nowhere else in the world), some areas can be reached in an hour or less from Oxnard and Ventura with Island Packers. You can also travel to Santa Rosa Island on flights with Channel Islands Aviation.
During April, the four regions of California’s Central Coast offer many wonderful events to enjoy. Here are just a few:
The Pebble Beach Food & Wine Festival is an annual culinary celebration of the world’s finest food and wines (4/12 – 4/15). With wine tastings and special dishes prepared by leading chefs, the Santa Barbara County Vintners Festival Weekend is the perfect way to welcome spring (4/20 – 4/23). The contemporary dining scene and area wineries of Pismo Beach take center stage during Taste of Pismo, a great opportunity to sample local wines and discover this city’s restaurants (4/20 – 4/22). The historic Ojai Valley Tennis Tournament is one of the country’s leading amateur events where such legends as Pete Sampras and Billie Jean King once played (4/24 – 4/29). Tip your glass at Paso Robles’ 20th Annual Hospice du Rhône and journey through the largest international collection of Rhône variety wines (4/26 – 4/28). For lovers of all things strawberry, nothing beats the sweet sensations of the Santa Maria Strawberry Festival (4/27 – 4/29).
The fine weather in the Santa Maria Valley is one reason why the region is known as California’s BBQ Capital. After all, you need pretty good weather to barbecue all year round like the locals do, right?
The valley’s moderate coastal climate is also conducive to producing world-class wines, growing some of California’s finest strawberries and…flying kites! And on April 22, in the heart of National Kite Month, the valley’s open skies and cool breezes will abound with color as the Discovery Museum hosts its annual Family Kite Festival from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. at Rotary Centennial Park. Continue reading →