Day Tripping through Simi Valley
By Don Sonderling
Since its incorporation in 1969, Simi Valley has acquired a well-earned reputation as a suburban community offering a relaxed lifestyle and inviting place to raise a family. Located in the southeastern portion of Ventura County, it is probably best known as home to the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library. However, Simi Valley has many charms, making this a fun, interesting day trip destination. If you are looking for culture, history, something quirky, and wide-open spaces away from the hustle and bustle of city crowds, you’ll want to visit Simi Valley. It’s full of best-kept secrets for a wide range of interests and ages.
UCSB basketball offers a very different — and very exciting —
way to experience the Central Coast
By Mike Miller
Photos by Jeff Liang
If you live, work, or play along the Central Coast and you are looking for something fun and different to do this winter, look no further than University of California, Santa Barbara men’s and women’s basketball. Situated on one of the most beautiful locations in Santa Barbara County, UCSB is a gem both athletically and academically. In fact, UCSB was recently ranked the No. 7 public university in the country by U.S. News and World Report. Especially if you have kids into basketball, or who are looking at colleges, UCSB is a must-see.
Lompoc: The Central Coast’s Best-Kept Wine Tasting Secret
Story and photos by Katherine McMahon
Heading north just after the Gaviota Pass, State Route 1 splits from the California 101 to curve west, passing through serene valleys in the Santa Ynez Mountains and along Salsipuedes Creek to the City of Lompoc. Lompoc sits in its own valley surrounded on the north and west by Vandenberg Air Force Base. On the east side of the city is the Santa Rita Hills which contain some of the best grape growing conditions in the region. Yet when Lompoc was founded 150 years ago, it was established as a temperance colony where the manufacture, sale, and consumption of liquor was prohibited. Fortunately, that stage in Lompoc’s history didn’t last long and today there is a rich local wine culture. Part of what makes the area special for winemaking is the significant presence of diatomaceous earth, which is a white, rocky soil formed from ancient deposits of sea life, much the same way that Paso Robles is known for its calcareous soils. But what stood out for me on my visit to Lompoc was the devotion and passion of the artisans making wine.
Winter Adventures with Island Packers
By Nicole Leonetti
You can binge-watch all the high-definition 4K nature documentaries you want, but nothing comes close to seeing whales in the wild. No television can give you a true appreciation for the majesty of a breaching humpback, or the sheer mass of a 90,000-pound gray whale. No photo or YouTube clip can put you on the bow of a boat as hundreds of dolphins frolic in the waves under your feet.
Sightseeing by Saddle
Get off the beaten path with these horseback riding companies
By Marlowe Hast
If you’re yearning to get away from it all, there’s just nothing like putting on a brimmed hat, swinging your leg over a horse, and getting out into the wilderness. It compels you slow down and find a new perspective, as the rhythm of the trail sets the pace.
Horses are a part of life for many along the Central Coast, and visitors — both experienced riders and beginners — have several options to experience that lifestyle by trekking out into wild places. Here are three from each county to get you started on your outdoor adventures.