Too broke? Why not take a trip to a county near you?
Driving up Pacific Highway 1 is something I have always wanted to do. The deep blue ocean scenery complements the setting sun. It doesn’t get better than this.
I decided to stop by three towns in Ventura County: Oxnard, Ventura and Ojai. None of these destinations are too far away for a weekend trip from Northridge.
My first stop was Oxnard, about two hours from campus. You could get there faster by taking the 101, but driving on highway 1 is a joy that should be experienced by all. I drove down Topanga Canyon and then turned right on highway 1.
Historical places are on the top of my travel itinerary, which is why I decided to spend a few hours in Oxnard to visit Heritage Square in downtown.
Heritage Square features a recreation of 15 houses from 1800 to the early 1900s. In front of every house there is a small poster informing visitors of the house’s history. On the weekends they offer 45 minute guided tours. Inside the McGrath house you will find the restaurant, “La Dolca Vita.”
People with a sweet tooth should try the cupcakes and cookies at the small bakery “A little Piece of Heaven,” hidden on 4th street.
When walking along A Street, make sure you visit Frida’s Treasures and McMullen’s for Japanese art and antiques.
Before heading to Ventura city, watch the sunset at the almost empty Hollywood Beach where “Back to the Future” and “Spartacus” were shot.
Ventura city is the ideal place for water sports. In Ventura Harbor Village you will find shops, galleries and seafood restaurants. It might be a bit touristy, but you can rent kayaks, pedal boat or take sailing lessons.
They also have full day cruises to the Channel Island National Park and whale watching excursions offered on a daily basis. Across the street from the harbor are uncrowded beaches.
Ventura has a nice pier and ocean front walk, perfect for a peaceful stroll while watching the surfers.
Before I headed back to Northridge, I took a few hours in the quiet town of Ojai. At the end of Reeves Road is a place called “Meditation Mount” where they offer meditation classes. Or you can take a stroll through their meditation route; enjoy the magnificent view, the silence and pot rabbits in their natural habitat.
Walking along Ojai Avenue you will find arcade shops, art galleries and boutique clothing stores.
Bring lunch or an ice-cream and head over to Libbey Park in downtown, where you will find wide walkways, children’s playgrounds and tennis courts. In one corner of the park there is an amphitheater.
During the semester, you most likely don’t have time or money to take on a week-long road trip, so why not explore some of our neighboring counties? It’s almost free and a great way to relieve stress.