Central Coast Swap Meets

Central Coast Swap Meets

Treasure Hunt

By Nicole Leonetti

Nipomo photos by Nicole Leonetti; all others submitted

Confession time: 
I recently attended my first-ever swap meet! I have always been a bit intimidated by this type of event; I wasn’t even certain how a swap meet or flea market worked. Luckily, I found a few experts who filled me in. Swap meets/flea markets — the terms are interchangeable — are places or events where you can buy or sell new and used goods. As it turns out, the Central Coast has several terrific options for these shopping experiences.

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Roadtrip Romance

Roadtrip Romance

Exploring the Central Coast by Camper Van

Photos and story by Tracy Wilson

Cruising northbound on Highway 101, the Pacific Ocean stretches to the horizon where it meets a picture-perfect blue sky. The view is expansive through the windshield of the Winnebago Revel camper van, like the observation car on an Amtrak train.

But this ride has no set schedule and the freedom to stop wherever and whenever we want to eat, sleep, and explore the Central Coast in comfort – and at a reasonable price.

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Pacific Pleasures

Pacific Pleasures

Sea adventures by sailboat and kayak

By Don Sonderling

All photos submitted

Have you ever gazed out at the ocean, the sunshine glittering like diamonds bouncing off the blue water, the Channel Islands beckoning to you as you drive along the 101? Have you wished you could be out there, if only for a couple of hours? It’s easier than you might think! Here are two fun and unique sea adventures awaiting you off California’s Central Coast.

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A different kind of rock show

A different kind of rock show

Rocks, gems, and fossils take over the VC Fairgrounds during Seaside Gems at Ventura

Show May 24 to 26

By Misty Hall
Photos courtesy VGMS

It’s 1944. The U.S. is still very much in the midst of World War II, and a group of Ventura teenagers are looking for something to do. Gas rations restrict them to pedestrian activities, so they walk to the beaches and nearby hills to look for rocks.

They find some pretty cool stuff — turns out, Ventura’s a fascinating place, geologically speaking (check out the photo of brecciated jasper). So they keep it up, growing in numbers and eventually going on field trips, after the war ends.

Thus began the Ventura Gem and Mineral Society. Eight decades after their first meeting in the rumpus room of a friend’s house, the group now has its own clubhouse, as well as monthly meetings and field trips, frequent educational events, annual shows, and members ranging in age from 4 to 90-plus.

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Winter Wings

Winter Wings

By Michele Roest

Winter birdwatching on the Central Coast offers opportunities to see old favorites and spot new ones

When the days grow short and the weather turns cool, bird watchers look for migrating songbirds, shorebirds, and raptors to appear along California’s central and southern regions. Some remain for the winter, while others stay for just a few days before continuing further south to even milder climes. They need safe places to rest and feed while they gain strength for the next stretch of their migration. Some migrations are hundreds of miles in distance, while others may reach thousands of miles.

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Harbor Holidays

Harbor Holidays

Parade of Lights celebrate the season

By Nicole Leonetti Photos courtesy Channel Islands Harbor

I love a parade — especially when boats are involved! I’m in heaven during the holiday season when both the Channel Islands and Ventura Harbors have their annual Parade of Lights events. These parades have become holiday traditions, bringing joy to these communities and to all who join them each holiday season. This year’s fun begins during Halloween (Parade of Frights) then kicks into high gear in December, with back-to-back weekends full of fun and light at these two Ventura County harbors.

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