Diving Ventura County

Diving Ventura County

Story and photos

by Zach Rosen

Cheap drinks, no frills: Exploring the Central Coast’s favorite dive bars

There’s a certain comfort about the simplicity of a dive bar. The “specials” are usually just on the price; it’s not some blend of locally-sourced ingredients or exotic spirits. Not that those bars don’t have their place. There’s just something soothing about ordering a Jack & Coke or any of the drinks that simply equal liquor plus mixer. There are no tapas on the menus — just bags of chips and other anonymous bar snacks reminiscent of an unprepared picnic.

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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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Edible and Medicinal Herbs of the Southern California Coast

Edible and Medicinal Herbs of the Southern California Coast

by Lanny Kaufer

The Southern California Coast stretches from the Santa Maria River in the north to the U.S.-Mexico border. This fertile region is home to countless edible and medicinal herbs prized by foragers and herbalists. Both native and non-native species can be found in Southern California’s springtime mountains, canyons, valleys, yards, and gardens.

 

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Cruising the Central Coast be the Pacific Surfliner and Coast Starlight

Cruising the Central Coast be the Pacific Surfliner and Coast Starlight

Amtrak’s historic railway offers an alternative to Highway 101

Story and photos By Katherine McMahon

 

Concerned about rising gas prices and wasting time sitting in traffic? There is an alternative way to explore the Central Coast: Amtrak’s Pacific Surfliner and Coast Starlight!

Long before U.S. Route 101 was commissioned as a highway in 1926, the region was connected to the rest of California by the Southern Pacific railway. When the road through the Gaviota Pass was still just a narrow dirt track, Southern Pacific had established a train route from Los Angeles through Ventura and Santa Barbara, to San Luis Obispo, Paso Robles, and beyond.

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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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