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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Cycling the Central Coast

Cycling the Central Coast

Whether in the mountains along the shore, there’s no better way to experience the Central Coast than on two wheels
By Misty Hall

If you’ve read this magazine before, you’ve probably noticed I’m always harping on you to get off the freeway and explore the amazing communities along the Central Coast. One fabulous way to do that? Rent a bike!

“You get to see more than if you’re walking, but it’s still personal like walking,” said Toby Kaiser-Arnett, owner of Pedego Electric Bikes Pismo Beach. “If things are blooming, you smell them. If you want to stop and take photos, it’s no big deal. You can meander a bit … You’re really able to experience a place.”

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The Piers of the Central Coast

The Piers of the Central Coast

Story and photos by Katherine McMahon

If you visit a beach on the Central Coast this summer, you may find yourself strolling out over the water on a wooden pier. Today, these structures are popular tourist destinations, but most were built for a very different reason. Back in the 1800s — long before Highway 101 was built — ships were the main suppliers of goods to this quickly-growing region. Piers allowed ships to offload their passengers and cargo much faster (and safer) than using the small barges of the past. These piers quite literally helped build the cities they belonged to.

Once the railways and highways were built, the piers weren’t needed like before. Several of them fell into disrepair and were removed, but some were repurposed and have become beloved recreational features in their beach communities.

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Seclusion Near the City

Seclusion Near the City

Western Santa Monica Mountains

Story and photos by Adam Nuñez

The entire Santa Monica Mountain range stretches east to west about 40 miles starting in West Los Angeles all the way to Camarillo in Ventura County. The elevation begins at sea level and reaches upwards to 3,100 feet. The Ventura County portion of the range sees less foot traffic than the busier regions closer to Los Angeles. This allows for more tranquility, and I daresay even solitude, especially on weekdays. Springtime is the ideal season to explore since the winter’s rains have led to bursting hues of green grasses and a rainbow of wildflower colors. And, waterfalls like Sycamore Canyon Falls near Newbury Park are more likely to be gushing with water.

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