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Pumpkin Patches in Ventura County and Adjacent Areas

The star of the Halloween show is the pumpkin. According to my favorite resource Wikipedia, the name pumpkin originated from the Greek word pepon ("large melon"). The French called it pompom. The British changed it to pumpion. Then American colonists changed it to pumpkin. Why? Heck, I dunno.

Pumpkins are gourd-like squashes and technically are a fruit. They can range in size from 1 lb to 1,000 lbs.

But who cares about all that...what we REALLY want to know is, where are the pumpkin patches in Ventura County and surrounding areas!? Well, here are some choices...but make sure to call before you go for hours, etc.


Big Wave Dave's Pumpkin Patch is located at 4075 Telegraph Road in Ventura (adjacent to Ventura College) with hours from 10am to 9pm in October (starting Oct 3rd). In addition to pumpkins, they offer free games and prizes for the kids. Visit bigwavedaveschristmastrees.com/pumpkin-patch.html or call 805.218.0282.

Boccali Ranch Pumpkin Patch located at 3277 Ojai-Santa Paula Road, Ojai (Highway 150 - at the base of the Dennison grade). Open October 4-31, 7 days a week, 10am to dusk. Extended hours on Fridays/Saturdays starting Oct 10th until 9pm. Daytime hayrides on Sat/Sun 11am to 5pm. Hay maze for the kids. Visit www.boccalis.com/PumpkinPatch.html or call 805.646.6116.

Bennett's Best Pumpkin Patch once again has location at the corner of Kanan and Agoura Road (818.706.0126) and at 28900 Roadside Drive (near Do It Center) in Agoura Hills (818.865.0754) as well as at 24439 Calabasas Road in Calabasas (818.224.4503).

Fillmore & Western Pumpkin Liner Trains weekends in October.

McGrath Street Pumpkin Patch is located at 5156 McGrath Street, Ventura (south of the 101 between Telephone Road and Victoria).  There will be hay rides, pony rides and plenty of pumpkins! Call 805.658.9972 or visit www.mcgrathstreetpumpkinpatch.com.

McGrath Family Farm is located at 1012 W. Ventura Boulevard, Camarillo. Visit their animals, run through their "green" maze and pick your organic pumpkin right out of their fields. 805.485.4210. www.mcgrathfamilyfarm.com

Pete's Pumpkin Patch is located on the north side of the 101 freeway at Central Avenue in Camarillo.  You can't miss it as it goes way up the hill! Admission is free and they generally are open from 9 am to dusk in October.  Hay maze, hay pyramid, hay rides and more! www.petespumpkinpatch.com

McGrath Brothers Great Pacific Pumpkins is located at 5100 Olivas Park Drive in Ventura. Tractor hay rides, hay maze, horse drawn hay rides and farm animals on hand. More information at www.greatpacificpumpkins.com or call 805.644.1235.

Pick Your Own Pumpkin Patch at the Halloween Harvest Festival at Pierce College in Woodland Hills. Visit www.halloweenharvestfestival.com. (Sad news: The Daily News reports that 2014 is the final year of the Pierce College Farm Center.)

Prancer's Pumpkin Village is open the entire month of October from 11am to dusk at 3075 Johnson Drive in Ventura (adjacent to the 101 freeway). In addition to an array of pumpkins, they offer pony rides, bouncers, petting zoo and other activities. Visit prancersvillage.com.

Prancer's Pumpkin Village off the 101 freeway on Johnson Drive

Stu Miller's Pumpkin Patch in October will be located at Simi Valley Town Center on Erringer Road  805.306.5925 and in Thousand Oaks at 450 E. Thousand Oaks Blvd. 805.379.0851. Pumpkins, petting zoo, rides, inflatable attractions and more (no admission cost; activities vary in cost). www.seasonaladventures.com/location.htm

Stu Miller's Pumpkin Patch just east of the Simi Valley Town Center

Underwood Family Farms Fall Harvest Festival in Moorpark opened September 27th and runs the entire month of October with themed events each weekend, pumpkin patch and lots of fun activities.

Note: No more Faulkner Farm Pumpkin Patch in 2014 :(

Bennett's Best Pumpkin Patch on Roadside Drive in Agoura Hills

Peace Pumpkin Patch at Peace Lutheran Church in Camarillo

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Fun Things to Do in Historic Ojai, Ventura County's Smallest City

Ojai, Ventura County's smallest city with under 8,000 residents, is 40 miles from Thousand Oaks, the 2nd largest city in the county. This drive is well worth it if you're looking for a unique old town feeling right here in Ventura County.

Incorporated as a city in 1921, the Ojai valley was once inhabited by the Chumash Indians. The name Ojai is derived from the Chumash word "Awhai," meaning "moon." Glass manufacturer Edward D. Libbey helped create the layout of Ojai. After a fire destroyed much of the town in 1917, the western-style town received a new Spanish Revival look.

View of the arcade and pergola in front of Libbey Park on Ojai AvenueThe Ojai Post Office tower and portico was completed in 1917 and is a focal point for the city at the corner of Ojai Avenue and Signal Street. The tower was modeled after the Christopher Columbus Cathedral in Havana, Cuba, with additional details from Mexico. The tower complements the arcade and pergola along Ojai Avenue. You can't miss the one block arcade with its shops, eateries and art galleries.

Here's a selection of just some of the great things to do in Ojai:

The Ojai Valley Inn and Spa was ranked as the 33rd best hotel in California out of nearly 5,600 hotels by U.S. News & World Report in 2013. The Inn is a great local weekend getaway! Whether you stay there overnight or not, the Ojai Valley Inn's historic 18 hole golf course, 31,000 sq ft spa and fitness facility and four lighted tennis courts are available to local day trippers.

Libbey Bowl and Libbey Park are located in the heart of Ojai next to the downtown arcade area. Libbey Bowl, originally built in 1957 and completely renovated in 2011, is used for the annual Ojai Music Festival, Storytelling Festival, Ojai Day celebration, holiday events and much more. Libbey Park provides plenty of sitting areas, shade trees, a kids' playground in the heart of the city.

Strolling and shopping in the Ojai Arcade

Founded in 1966, the Ojai Valley Museum at 130 West Ojai Avenue maintains an extensive collection of art, Native American baskets, pioneer tools and photographs of early days in Ojai.

The Ojai Valley Trail provides cyclists, equestrians, runners and strollers a nine mile path paralleling Highway 33 from Foster Park on the north end of Ventura to Soule Park on west of downtown Ojai.

The Ojai Playhouse is a single screen theater originally built in 1914 that has been restored to its deco-style look inside and now shows first run movies in a theater that seats over 200 people. The Ojai Film Society hosts eclectic, indepen

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New Farm Motif Playground at Borchard Community Park in Newbury Park

Borchard Community Park is located at Reino Road and Borchard Road in Newbury Park. Recently a new play area was completed in this cool barnyard motif. Based on initial response on the CVG Facebook page, this new playground is already a big hit!

This nicely appointed park and community center also has softball/soccer fields, restrooms, tennis courts, a labyrinth and fitness area, skate park, basketball courts and more. Visit crpd.org for more information.


Halloween Events and Activities In and Around Ventura County!

Once again, we have compiled a list Halloween events, activities and boo-rrific goings on around Ventura County and surrounding areas for the Halloween 2014 season! Spooky houses, pumpkin patches, trick or treating, carnivals, community events, storytelling and more!

Pumpkin Patches in Ventura County and Surrounding Areas

This list will continue to be updated through October.

Dates/times subject to change; contact event organizers to confirm. For calendar view, click here.

Events and Activities

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Farmers' Markets and Farm Fresh Produce Around Ventura County

Looking for fresh produce in Ventura County? "Lettuce" help you! There are nearly 20 farmers' markets in and around Ventura County throughout each week, not to mention another dozen or so stores and Community Supported Agriculture programs that sell organic produce.

Times, dates and places subject to change. Let us know of any updates!

FARMERS' MARKETS (In "day of the week" order)

VENTURA: Wednesdays 9 am to 1 pm at Pacific View Mall in front of Red Robin. Call 805.529.6266. vccfarmersmarkets.com/ventura

CAMARILLO: Wednesday 3-7pm Pleasant Valley Certified Farmers' Market and Crafters' Corner is a partnership between Ventura County Certified Farmers' Markets and the Pleasant Valley Recreation and Park District at the Camarillo Community Center parking lot, 1605 E. Burnley Street. vccfarmersmarkets.com/pleasant-valley-camarillo. One fun aspect to this market is that the PVRPD hosts a fun family event, like movies, concerts and games.

VENTURA: Wednesdays 3pm to 7pm at corner of Kellogg and Ventura Avenue. Visit theharvestgathering.vpweb.com (Closed winter months. Check www.facebook.com/EastandWestVenturaFarmersMarket for updates)

OXNARD: Thursdays 9 am to 2 pm at Plaza Park, 5th and C Streets. Call 805.247.0197. www.oxnardfarmersmarket.com

THOUSAND OAKS: Thursdays 1:30 pm to 6 pm at the Oaks Shopping Center east parking lot. Produce, flowers, food and more! vccfarmersmarkets.com/thousand-oaks

VENTURA: Thursdays 3pm to 7pm at Ventura Community Park, 901 South Kimball Road Visit theharvestgathering.vpweb.com or www.facebook.com/EastandWestVenturaFarmersMarket for more information. Open rain or shine.

MOORPARK: Fridays 2 pm to 7 pm at Miller Parkway and Los Angeles Avenue (Village at Moorpark Shopping Center - Petco and Staples parking lot) (805) 290-5670

SIMI VALLEY: Fridays 11 am to 3 pm at Simi Valley Civic Center Plaza, 2757 Tapo Canyon Rd., next to TGI Friday's. www.coastalpacific.info/simi_valley.php or 805.643.6458 (reconfirmed 3/15/14)

SIMI VALLEY: Fridays 4 pm to 8:30 pm at Simi Valley Town Center Center Court. Features local/organic produce, entertainment, kids' activities and more. www.farmersmx.com

VENTURA: Saturdays 8:30 am to noon at corner of Palm and Santa Clara Streets. Call 805.529.6266 or visit vccfarmersmarkets.com/ventura

VENTURA: Saturdays 1:30pm to 6 pm in the North Bank Plaza parking lot next to the former Century Theatres 16, Johnson Drive and Northbank Road.

 NEWBURY PARK: Saturdays 9 am to 2 pm at the Newbury Park Library parking lot (Borchard Road and Michael Drivewww.facebook.com/newburyparkfarmersmarket

CAMARILLO: Saturdays 8 am to noon 2220 Ventura Boulevard in the County of Ventura Senior Nutrition Center parking lot. Proceeds benefit Camarillo Hospice. Call 805.386.3584.

CALABASAS: Saturdays 8 am to 1 pm in Old Town Calabasas on Calabasas Road west of El Canon Avenue (across from Sagebrush Cantina). Call 818.591.8161.

WESTLAKE VILLAGE: Sundays 10 am to 2 pm at 2797 Agoura Road (Village Glen). Call 818.591.8286. www.ccfm.com/site/locations.php

OJAI: Sundays 9 am to 1 pm at 300 E. Matilija Street year-round, rain or shine. Produce, flowers and gourmet food. Call 805.698.5555.

OXNARD/CHANNEL ISLANDS HARBOR: Sundays 10 am to 2 pm at 2805 South Harbor Boulevard year-round. Call 805.643.6458.

AGOURA HILLS: Sundays 9 am to 2 pm at 5835 Kanan Road (Agoura's Famous Deli parking lot) www.ccfm.com/site/locations.php

MALIBU: Sundays 10 am to 3 pm at Malibu Civic Center, 23519 Civic Center Way. www.malibufarmersmarket.net


Underwood Family Farms Market at 3370 Sunset Valley Road, Moorpark has farm fresh produce, pickled items, honey, nuts, juices, dried beans, farm fresh eggs and fresh cut flowers. Moorpark location is usually closed from late December through February. Open 9am to 6pm March to November and weekends in December (5pm after DST). Call 805.529.3690.

Underwood Family Farms Market at 5696 E. Los Angeles Avenue in Somis is open every day year-round 9am to 6pm (5pm after DST) with the exception of some holidays. Call 805.386.4660.

Underwood Family Farms Market in Moorpark

McGrath Family Farm at 505 North Wood Road, Camarillo is open March through December 9am to pm and offers organic fruits, flowers and vegetables.  Freeway convenient off the Central Avenue offramp of the 101. Call 805.983.0333.

Lassen's Natural Foods, with locations in Thousand Oaks, Oxnard, Camarillo, Ventura and Simi Valley, has offered fresh produce since 1971.

Sprouts Farmers Market (600 W. Hillcrest Drive, Thousand Oaks) is at the

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The Fall Harvest Festival at Underwood Family Farms in Moorpark is Local Must Do!

The Fall Harvest Festival at Underwood Family Farms in Moorpark is a perennial "MUST DO" activity for anyone with kids here in Ventura County. With thousands of pumpkins, weekend themed entertainment during the month of October, tractor rides, a large corn maze, games and fun activities and all of the other great things the farm has to offer, it is hard not to stop by. Admission on weekends is $15 because of all the fun entertainment and only $3 per person Monday through Friday. Kids under age 2 are free. Parking is also free.

Click here for more information about and directions to Underwood Family Farms at 3370 Sunset Valley Road, Moorpark or visit www.underwoodfamilyfarms.com (or call 805.529.3690).

Pumpkin Patches in Ventura County and Surrounding Areas



Camarillo Health Care District Provides Quality Health and Wellness Services

The Camarillo Health Care District ensures quality health and wellness services are available to all District residents. The District is an independent special district and public agency formed in 1969 to provide community-based healthcare services, under the statutes of the State of California Health & Safety Code.

The award-winning District is on the leading edge of community health and wellness by offering innovative programs and services, including:

The District in partnership with Food Share of Ventura County hosts a Free Produce Day on the 2nd Thursday of each month from 11am to 1pm. Open to the general public! Stop by and receive several varieties of seasonal produce each month at this event.

For more information, visit www.camhealth.com, stop by the campus at 3639 E. Las Posas Road, Suite 117, Camarillo, or call (805) 388-1952 ext. 100.


Free Admission Days at Museums in Ventura County and Adjacent Areas

The "Do Something" section of Conejo Valley Guide highlights over 250 things to do throughout Ventura County and surrounding areas, including over four dozen museums. Let's take a closer look at the museums on the list that offer free admission days. The information below of course is subject to change, so be sure to contact the museums first to confirm.

Historic Dudley House Museum in Ventura is open the 1st SUNDAY of the month most of the year and admission is free (donations encouraged).

Robert J. Lagomarsino Visitor Center at Channel Islands National Park is open year-round free of admission.

Admission is free year-round at the Reagan Ranch Center Exhibit Galleries in Santa Barbara on State Street in front of the Amtrak Station.

Ojai Valley Museum offers free admission the 1ST FRIDAY of each month.

Santa Barbara Historical Museum offers free admission year-round; donations are welcomed.\

Santa Barbara Maritime Museum offers free admission the 3RD THURSDAY of each month.

Museum of Ventura County’s Agriculture Museum in Santa Paula offers free admission on the 1ST SUNDAY of the month.

The unique Woolworth Museum in Downtown Oxnard is free to enter year-round.

Channel Islands Maritime Museum offers free admission on the 3RD THURSDAY of each month.

Nethercutt Museum in Sylmar offers free admission year-round to its showcase of vintage cars.

Admission to the Conejo Valley Art Museum is free year-round.

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Hiking and Exploring in Rancho Sierra Vista/Satwiwa in Newbury Park

Located on the western edge of the Santa Monica Mountains National Recreation Area, Rancho Sierra Vista/Satwiwa is accessible in Newbury Park at the intersection of Lynn Road and Via Goleta. This area spans from Potrero Road on the north and connects to Point Mugu State Park on the south.

Ranching in the area dates back to the early 1800s, when Spanish soldiers were granted 48,672 acres of land, "Rancho El Conejo," which through the years was subdivided and sold to other landowners. One of these ranchers was Carl Beal, who in 1937 named the area Rancho Sierra Vista. The last private landowner in the area was Richard Danielson, whose family farmed and ranched the area for 32 years. It was subsequently sold to the National Park Service in 1980.

Sign at Danielson Monument accessible via Danielson Road/Old Boney Trail

The Satwiwa Native American Indian Natural Area is a bike/horse free area within Rancho Sierra Vista/Satwiwa of roughly 60 acres. Located on the northwest corner of this area, just a short walk from visitor parking, is the Satwiwa Native American Culture Center.

The Center is staffed from 9am to 5pm most weekends with a park ranger and sometimes Native American guest hosts. It is a small facility with a variety of educational items covering the Chumash and local ecosystem. There are frequent workshops and programs hosted by the National Park Service at the Center that are highlighted here on CVG and on the NPS Satwiwa website at www.nps.gov/samo/planyourvisit/rsvsatwiwa.htm.

The area is a popular destination for hikers with its variety of well maintained trails. The Satwiwa Loop Trail is an easy, 2 mile trail that starts at the Culture Center through grasslands, past the old windmill and back around, with several extensions for those looking to do a little more.

There's the Lower Loop Trail (sign pictured below) and the Upper Loop Trail that is a bit of a zig-zaggy trail with wooden footings placed by volunteer

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RISE of the Jack O'Lanterns at Descanso Gardens in La Cañada through Nov 2nd

For one of the most unique Halloween experiences in the area, check out the RISE of the Jack O'Lanterns at Descanso Gardens in La Cañada through Sunday, November 2nd.

Over 5,000 hand-carved jack o'lanterns light up a 1/3rd of a mile stroller and wheelchair accessible trail on Wednesday through Sunday nights. It is a pretty amazing sight!

This is the first time the RISE has appeared at Descanso Gardens, located at 1418 Descanso Drive, La Cañada Flintridge, just north of Glendale, about a 50 mile drive from Thousand Oaks. We made the trip out on a Friday night and, while it was a bit of a drive, it was certainly worth it!

There are themed pumpkins of all types on display, including video games, planets, TV shows (e.g. The Walking Dead, Big Bang Theory), Disney themes, movie stars, athletes, celebrities, massive dinosaurs, and so much more. Professional artists and sculptors make these pumpkins come to life.

Learn more and purchase tickets at www.therise.org. You must purchase tickets in advance due to popularity of the event and select a specific time. The self guided tour can take anywhere from 30 minutes to an hour.


Live Music and Other Nightlife Options In and Around Ventura County

Are you a night owl that is looking for something to do around town? Here's a list of places in and around Ventura County that have things to do during nighttime hours, including live music, concerts, dancing, darts, comedy, trivia and other activities scheduled on a regular basis.

This compilation includes restaurants as well as some bars. TVs are great, but don't count as "something to do" for the purposes of this compilation.

Are we missing something? Let us know!

For other nighttime fun, check out these compilations of Ventura County area movie theaters, comedy shows and entertainment venues. Or how about bowling. Or how about these inexpensive local area dating options.

(Information is subject to change at any time, so be sure to contact the business to confirm.) 


Conejo Valley (Thousand Oaks, Newbury Park, Westlake Village)

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St. Mary Magdalen Chapel in Camarillo Captured By Local Artist in Oil Painting

St. Mary Magdalen Catholic Church in Camarillo by Linda DarkLinda Dark of Camarillo has admired the St. Mary Magdalen Chapel for years, so she decided to put oil paint to canvas in this rendition. The cornerstone for the Chapel was laid on July 1, 1913 and the Chapel was dedicated on July 4, 1914. The Chapel is named after Adolfo Camarillo's oldest sister, Magdalena. The church is located in Old Town Camarillo at 2532 Ventura Boulevard.

Learn more about the church at www.smmcam.org.

Also check out this rendition of El Tecolote Cafe in Camarillo by Linda.


The Fillmore State Fish Hatchery Is a Fun Place to Visit With the Kids

The Fillmore Fish Hatchery was dedicated as a state hatchery in 1932. It is one of 21 hatcheries operated by the California Department of Fish and Game (DFG). The Fillmore Hatchery produces about 1 million rainbow trout, or about 400,000 lbs of fish, each year.

Fertile trout eggs are shipped to Fillmore from DFG broodstock hatcheries at Mount Whitney and Hot Creek, located in the eastern High Sierra. The fish are stocked in southern California lakes, reservoirs and streams accessible to the public for fishing. The hatchery operates year-round, 365 days a year. Through selective breeding, DFG has developed strains of rainbow trout that spawn during different months of the year.

There is netting over the pond to keep birds from pilfering the fish (before the netting they nabbed as much as 30% of the fish each year). The hatchery is run using funds raised from fishing licenses and taxes on sporting equipment.

Kids and parents alike will be wowed by the number of fish in the hatchery. They love being fed!

The hatchery is located off Highway 126, about a mile east of downtown Fillmore. It is open 365 days a year, from 7 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. It is quite a fun place to bring the kids for a brief encounter with thousands of hungry fishies. Bring dimes to purchase fish food and watch the action!


Sweeten Your Day with a Visit to Bennett's Honey Tasting Room in Fillmore

We were in the Santa Clarita area ready to head back home to the Conejo Valley, when I decided, how about if we take Highway 126 for once. So we did.

It was a leisurely drive on a late Sunday morning, when we came across a sign that caught my interest.

After passing the sign, I asked my son if he would like to do some honey tasting, to which he replied, "SURE!" So we turned back!

Bennett's Honey Tasting Room is located just north of Highway 126 at 3176 Honey Lane in Fillmore. It feels really off the beaten path, but is just 5 miles east of central Fillmore.

There's a small parking lot in front of the retail store. We walked up the steps, opened the door, and found ourselves in a small, one room shop, where we were greeted by smiling staff and stacks of honey jars and products.

But what really caught our eye, the reason for our stopping by on this mild, Sunday morning, was the honey tasting kiosk in the middle of the room. We treated ourselves to samples of honey derived from orange blossoms, sage, wildflowers, buckwheat, avocado, clover, eucalyptus and cactus. Honey heaven!

How is honey made? Worker bees suck nector from a blossom and carry it back to the hive in its honey sac (i.e. stomach). On its way home, acid secretions start changing the nectar to honey. In the hive, the honey is passed to a receiving bee where it is processed and concentrated for storage in empty honeycomb cells. 70,000 nectar "loads" become one pound of honey. Housekeeping bees "dry" the honey by fanning their wings in unison, then the cells are sealed for beeswax. Honey will keep for years.

My top choice was the cactus flavored honey as well as the "creamed" honey. We inquired about a honey that would be best for combating pollen allergies, and were told the wildflower honey was the best bet. And then we asked about the raw honeycomb shown above.

We were immediately offered a sample of the honeycomb. Heck, why not! Are we supposed to eat the wax comb? Some people do, but most swallow the tasty honey and spit out the wax.  The honeycomb was a delicious treat and we bought one of these too!

Bennett's Honey Farm was founded by Red and Ann Bennett and is currently owned by Chip and Taydee Vannoy. They produce their own honey right here in Ventura County under brands "Topanga Quality Honey" (found at Whole Foods and other specialty markets) and "Piru Canyon Honey" found at farmers' market and fruit stands in local counties.

To learn more, visit www.bennetthoney.com or call 805.521.1375.


Things to Do Around Ventura County When It's Really, Really Hot Outside

It's sure hot out here! What's there to do around town that will cool me off!?Looking for things to do when its really, really HOT outside!? This list of mostly indoor activities is somewhat random in order so take a close look and you'll find something cool to do in and around Ventura County.

Conejo Valley/Agoura Hills/Oak Park


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