Ever get a song stuck in your head and can’t get rid of it? For some folks, it’s Ventura Highway, the 1972 hit from America. The best way to deal with it might just be to succumb to this sublime slice of southern California and go visit.
Aside from surf and sun, there are lots of reasons to venture to Ventura this time of year. You can:
Encounter Eco Fest: April 22 is Earth Day, but Ventura begins the celebration April 16 with Eco Fest. This is a decidedly family-friendly event, designed to get kids thinking about their impact on the environment at an early age. Music, storytelling, and entertainment are all good ways to get the message across, and they’re all at Earth Fest. It will be held at Seaside Promenade Park, at 10 Harbor Boulevard.
Meet the Lonesome Traveler: If you’re a fan of folk music you’ll want to head to Ventura’s Rubicon Theater sometime April 14 through May 8. Tom Dooley, Goodnight Irene, Puff the Magic Dragon, Blowin’ in the Wind, and Woody Guthrie’s classic This Land is Your Land – all are songs that brought together a generation. The world premier production of Lonesome Travelers is a show that puts the music that moved that generation into context. Rubicon Artistic Director James O’Neil directs a six-person cast of singers/instrumentalists. One of them is Tony Award-winner James O’Neil. Cross over to the Rubicon (figuratively, anyway) at 1006 East Main Street in downtown Ventura.
Hear more music: Crave more folk music, perhaps classical and jazz too? Tickets are on sale now for the Ventura Music Festival, an event that runs April 28 through May 7. Pay particular attention to Saturday, April 30. That’s when pianist Roberto Prosseda and the Festival Orchestra conducted by Nuvi Mehta premier a recently discovered Mendelssohn piano work. Something even more soulful? May 8 The Roby Lakatos Ensemble, with gypsy violinist Roby Lakatos, will perform in the Ventura High Auditorium.
Smell the flowers: You’d be hard-pressed to find a place flowers prefer more than southern California. Warm, sunny days combine with cool nights and foggy mornings for the kind of climate flora would die for. April 30 the Ventura Spring Garden Tour opens up meticulously tended gardens around town. Allow four hours to do the tour right, and be sure to wear flat shoes. No smoking, please.
Ventura is located about an hour’s drive north of Hollywood.
The Channel Islands National Park lies just offshore, so too the National Marine Sanctuary. The Los Padres National Forest is nestles amidst Ventura’s foothills.
The closest large commercial airport to the city is Burbank’s Bob Hope Airport. Discount airline Southwest is the major player there, so that will help you save some change. So will the Better Tomorrows Package from Four Points by Sheraton Ventura Harbor. Arrive Thursday-Sunday through December 31, pay the regular rate and get the next night for 40 percent off. Four Points by Sheraton offers weekend rates from $99 through June 1. Blackout dates may apply and the rate does not include taxes or assessments.
Story by Jerry Chandler