Painting with a Twist Thousand Oaks

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Painting with a Twist Thousand Oaks opened on November 30, 2017 in the Clear Oaks Plaza at 1867 Thousand Oaks Boulevard

Painting with a Twist provides customers with paint, a canvas and brushes that lead to a fun evening with friends and a finished piece of art.  And yes, you receive professional instruction to create your work of art as well as access to wine.

The studio is 3 rooms, consisting of an art bar and private party room (both 21+ only) and a family room that is alcohol-free for kids’ classes, young adult parties and family fun-time events. The studio art bar offers wine, beer, soft drinks and hot beverages for sale.

Private Parties are great for groups of 10 or more; age restrictions apply to each studio room. For private family events, children under the age of 7 must be supervised by an adult family member at all times.

For more information visit www.paintingwithatwist.com/studio/thousand-oaks or call 805.372.7928.

Pleasant Valley Historical Society Museum and Botanical Garden in Camarillo

The Pleasant Valley Historical Society Museum and Botanical Garden at 720 Las Posas Road in Camarillo is dedicated to the preservation of the history of Pleasant Valley, the Oxnard Plain and adjacent areas where many of Camarillo’s pioneers settled before there was a City of Camarillo. Admission is free. Donations are accepted. The Museum and Garden are open from noon to 4:00 p.m. on Saturday and Sunday, except holidays. More information at www.pvhsonline.org.

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The museum is located in a small building on the property which contains a variety of antiques and items of local historical interest. Resident docents are genuinely interested in sharing stories about local history in the facility. I can almost guarantee you will learn something new every time you visit!

 Old items and newspaper clippings from years past on display.

Old items and newspaper clippings from years past on display.

The Charles L. Honn Botanical Garden, associated with the Historical Museum and located behind it, is a beautiful park-like area that features plants and trees indigenous to the Pleasant Valley and the surrounding region. The garden includes a large gazebo that is available as a breathtaking setting for weddings, anniversaries and similar functions. Kitchen facilities are available. Donations are accepted for use of the garden/gazebo.

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Call 805.482.3660 or visit www.pvhsonline.org for more information.

 The Charles L. Honn Botanic Garden starts to brighten up after the winter rains.

The Charles L. Honn Botanic Garden starts to brighten up after the winter rains.

The Commons at Calabasas

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The Commons at Calabasas is an open-air, Mediterranean style shopping center located at 4799 Commons Way. It is an attractive center with nice landscaping and fountains. There are about 35 businesses, including a Ralph's supermarket, the Edwards Grand Palace Stadium movie theater, Barnes and Noble, lululemon athletics, LOFT, Siany, White House Black Market, Williams-Sonoma, Rite Aid, Chico's, Kate Spade and other stores.

Dining options at The Commons includes Marmalade Cafe, Corner Bakery, King's Fish House, Fresh Brothers, Starbucks, Sugarfish by Sushi Nogawa, Toscanova, Menchie's Frozen Yogurt, Pick Up Stix, Greenleaf Gourmet Chopshop, Le Pain Quotidien and SunLife Organics. And soon, Greenleaf Gourmet Chopshop.

The Commons also hosts a weekly Kids Club and numerous other events and entertainment. There's also a nice pond/fountain area on the west end of the center, featuring koi and turtles.

Visit www.shopcommons.com or call 818.637.8922 for more information.

Painting with a Twist in Camarillo

Painting with a Twist opened in October 2015 at 2298 E. Ventura Boulevard in Old Town Camarillo (at the intersection of Arneill), next to the El Rey Cantina.

Painting with a Twist provides customers with paint, a canvas and brushes that lead to a fun evening with friends and a finished piece of art.  And yes, you receive professional instruction to create your work of art as well as access to wine.

For updates, visit paintingwithatwist.com/camarillo.

Getty Villa in Pacific Palisades

The Getty Villa is located at 17985 Pacific Coast Highway in Pacific Palisades, one mile north of Sunset Boulevard, overlooking the Pacific Ocean. It is about 28 miles from the heart of Thousand Oaks. The most direct path is the 101 south to Old Topanga Canyon Road, though you can also take other arteries like Malibu Canyon and Kanan to PCH.

The Getty Villa is one of two locations of the J. Paul Getty Museum, the other being the spectacular Getty Center in Brentwood.

The Getty Villa houses the J. Paul Getty Museum’s extensive collection of over 44,000 Greek, Roman and Etruscan antiquities dating from 6,500 BC to 400 AD, including the Lansdowne Heracles and the Victorious Youth. More than 1,200 of them are on view in 23 galleries devoted to the permanent collection. An additional six galleries present changing exhibitions, often featuring works from other institutions.

 Main museum at the Getty Villa

Main museum at the Getty Villa

The Family Forum features hands-on activities that encourage shared learning and discovery for children, while another interactive installation, the TimeScape Room, helps place the collection in an historical context.

On a personal note, this place is stunning, Pristine, well maintained, peaceful. The grounds take you back to how the Romans may have lived. Although my younger son in 3rd grade was not particular engaged during our first visit, my 6th grader had learned about the Greek and Roman Gods in school and found many of the exhibits quite interesting. There's also a cafe and gift shop.

 Due to the severe drought this was not filled with water, but is beautiful nonetheless

Due to the severe drought this was not filled with water, but is beautiful nonetheless

Located on a pristine 64 acres, the Getty Villa is modeled after the Villa dei Papiri, a first-century Roman country house, the Villa is an airy, sunlit environment, featuring mosaic floors and colorful trompe l’oeil walls and paintings. Its four gardens and grounds are planted with species known from the ancient Mediterranean, creating lush and fragrant places to stroll. There is also a 450 seat outdoor theater at the Villa.

 You'll notice that these many of the antiquities on display have damages incurred for various reasons (they were outdoor displays thousands of years ago).  This adds to their aura.

You'll notice that these many of the antiquities on display have damages incurred for various reasons (they were outdoor displays thousands of years ago).  This adds to their aura.

The UCLA/Getty Master’s Program in Archaological and Ethnographic Conservation is housed on this campus. The collection is documented and presented through the online GettyGuide as well as through audio tours.

Admission to the Getty Villa is free of charge but requires advance reservation with a timed ticket that you can obtain at www.getty.edu, or by calling (310) 440-7300. There is a parking charge of $15 per car; $10 after 5pm for evening events. 

Open Wednesday–Monday, 10:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.  Closed Tuesdays and on major holidays (January 1, July 4, Thanksgiving and Christmas Day).

 Outdoor amphitheater has an authentic feel to it

Outdoor amphitheater has an authentic feel to it

CReATE STUDIO in Westlake Village

CReATE STUDIO at 31840 Village Center Road in Westlake Village is a welcoming, walk-in, help yourself art studio geared toward creative exploration using a varied array of recycled, artistic and crafty materials. All ages can create treasured masterpieces using many interesting and everyday household materials to build, tape, glue, paint and invent! No two creations are alike. Stop in and enjoy the fun! To learn more about CReATE, visit www.createstudiofun.com or call 818.575.9566

The studio is currently open Tuesday through Friday 11am-6pm and Saturday/Sunday from noon to 4pm.

Fees as of May 2018 are: $10 ages 10 and under, $12 kids age 11 to adult. Studio fee includes up to 2 hours of studio time, including all materials used. Credit cards are accepted.

CReATE offers open studio time, Birthday Party Packages, Monthly Parents Night Out Nights, Machine Sewing Classes, Girls Confidence Classes, Messy Toddler Art Classes and special rates for school groups, scouts and homeschoolers.

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Angel Vista Peak in Newbury Park

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The 1,530' elevation Angel Vista Peak in Newbury Park may well have the most spectacular views of the Conejo Valley. You can see the entire Conejo Valley, stretching from the Conejo Grade to central Thousand Oaks, Agoura Hills, Hidden Valley, Boney Mountain and beyond from here!

Angel Vista can most easily be accessed via the Rosewood Trail at the southern terminus of Regal Oak Ct, off of Lynn Road) Or for a much longer hike, take the Los Robles Trail (either the Thousand Oaks side accessible at South Moorpark Road and Greenmeadow Ave or Newbury Park side off of Potrero Road). The Conejo Open Space Foundation provides a useful map at www.cosf.org/website/html/los-robles-angel-vista.html. There's a bench as well as a picnic table up there with wonderful views.

The hike is about 3 1/2 miles round trip.

 You'll eventually see this sign if you make the trek up the Rosewood Trail.

You'll eventually see this sign if you make the trek up the Rosewood Trail.

 The bench is in sight!

The bench is in sight!

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 Fun to see at least a portion of Hidden Valley from up here.

Fun to see at least a portion of Hidden Valley from up here.

Potrero Ridge Trail in Newbury Park

The Potrero Ridge Trail in Newbury Park is an interesting ridgeline trail that runs west/east in three sections over approximately 2 1/2 miles one way. You can access the trail from a number of locations and neighborhood feeder trails, but the main sections are as follows (west to east):

Via Las Brisas in the Dos Vientos tract, just north of Paseo Santa Rosa to Reino Road, just north of Paseo de Leon and Lynn Road, is a little over a mile. This is one of my favorite trails in the area, providing panoramic views of the southern portion of Newbury Park, Boney Mountain and Dos Vientos. There are some switchbacks on the west end near Reino Road but they are not overly strenuous.

 Potrero Ridge Trailhead on Via Las Brisas, just north of Paseo Santa Rosa.

Potrero Ridge Trailhead on Via Las Brisas, just north of Paseo Santa Rosa.

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 Potrero Ridge Trail trailhead (and parking area) off of Reino Road

Potrero Ridge Trail trailhead (and parking area) off of Reino Road

The middle section of the Potrero Ridge Trail runs from Woodland Oak Place off of Reino Road to Wendy Drive between Felton and Peppermint, where there's a convenient dirt parking lot.  Only about a half mile to the top of the trail, where you'll see a water tank. The primary trail is a wide fire road to the water tank from Wendy Drive. There's a secondary single track trail that mostly runs parallel (south) to the main fire road that is accessible from several points. This trail treats you to wonderful, panoramic views of the area.

 Potrero Ridge Trail trailhead off of Wendy Drive.

Potrero Ridge Trail trailhead off of Wendy Drive.

 Views towards the water tank at top of Potrero Ridge Trail (middle section)

Views towards the water tank at top of Potrero Ridge Trail (middle section)

The east section of the trail runs from across the parking lot on Wendy Drive to another peak, then down towards Silas Lane near Grace Bible Church, about half a mile in total. There is no parking available for this section of trail, though you can park in the Wendy lot and find a crosswalk to cross over to the trailhead.

 View from east section of Potrero Ridge Trail.

View from east section of Potrero Ridge Trail.

So basically these 3 segments are split between Via las Brisas and Reino Road, Reino Road and Wendy Drive and Wendy Drive and Silas Lane.

If you'e like to extend your trail trekking on the west side, cross over Via las Brisas and take the Sierra Vista Trail west another mile to Rancho Dos Vientos.

This trail is maintained by the Conejo Open Space Foundation.

 Here's a view of the initial section of the western section of the Potrero Ridge Trail from the Wendy Water Tank section of the trail across Reino Road.

Here's a view of the initial section of the western section of the Potrero Ridge Trail from the Wendy Water Tank section of the trail across Reino Road.

 Views into the Dos Vientos section of Newbury Park

Views into the Dos Vientos section of Newbury Park

 Potrero Ridge Trail bench provide extensive views

Potrero Ridge Trail bench provide extensive views

 Views from the same bench on a cloudy late October day in 2013

Views from the same bench on a cloudy late October day in 2013

Oak Creek Canyon Loop Trail in Thousand Oaks

The Oak Creek Canyon Loop Trail is about a mile hike that is great to do with the kids near the Los Robles Trail in Thousand Oaks.

Get there by taking Moorpark Road south of the 101 until it ends at Greenmeadow Avenue. Turn right and drive about half a mile to the parking lot.

 Signs along the Oak Creek Canyon Whole Access Interpretative Trail are in braille.

Signs along the Oak Creek Canyon Whole Access Interpretative Trail are in braille.

The first .4 mile section of trail is called the Oak Creek Canyon Whole Access Interpretive Trail and is a mostly shaded oak grove area that is accessible by all, including equestrians, bicycles, hikers, wheelchairs, disabled and blind individuals. There is actually a "guide cable" along the fence as well as informational signs in braille.

 One of three picnic benches along the Interpretive Trail.

One of three picnic benches along the Interpretive Trail.

There is a restroom, drinking fountain and picnic bench at the trailhead as well as two other picnic tables and a bench on this portion of the trail. There is also abundant poison oak on the sides of the trails, so be careful to stay on the trail.

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At the end of the Interpretive Trail section of the loop, you reach a well maintained dirt trail through the chaparral that is a bit more challenging and ok for most kids. There's a few moderate hills to be aware of, making it somewhat of a challenge with a stroller but in my opinion, a do-able challenge. And of course, you can always turn around and take the Interpretive Trail back. 

 The loop trail continues on the left.

The loop trail continues on the left.

 One of the moderate hills on the trail.

One of the moderate hills on the trail.

You go about .4 mile back towards Greenmeadow. Before you get to the street you will see a bench on the west side of the trail. Do be aware that there is no sidewalk on this section of Greenmeadow as you walk back towards the parking area. More information and a map available on the Conejo Open Space Foundation website at www.cosf.org/website/html/oak-creek-canyon.html.

Calabasas Trolley

The City of Calabasas offers free trolley service on Saturdays between the hours of 10am and 10pm (with a break from 3-4pm) and Sundays between noon and 4pm (limited stops). 

There are 24 stops over a one hour duration on Saturday at the following locations:

  • Las Virgenes Road at Thousand Oaks Blvd (0:00)
  • Agoura Road at Las Virgenes (Albertson's) (0:03)
  • Agoura Road at Lost Hills Road (Summit) (0:04)
  • Parkville Road at Grape Arbor Park (0:05)
  • Malibu Hills Road at Agoura Road (Community Center (0:08)
  • Lost Hills Road at Las Virgenes (de Anza Park) (0:10)
  • Mureau Road at Las Virgenes Road (0:16)
  • Parkway Calabasas at Calabasas Road (0:22)
  • Parkway Calabasas at Park Granada (0:23)
  • Parkway Calabasas at Camino Portal (0:25)
  • Parkway Calabasas at Paseo Primario (North) (0:26)
  • Park Granada at Park Capri (0:28)
  • Park Sorrento at Avanti (0:29)
  • Calabasas Road at El Canon (Old Town) (0:31)
  • Mulholland at Paul Revere Drive (0:36)
  • Mulholland at Declaration Ave (0:37)
  • Mulholland at Mobil Home Park (0:40)
  • Old Topanga Canyon at Calabasas High School (0:43)
  • Old Topanga Canyon at Wrencrest Drive (0:44)
  • Park Sorrento at Park Ora (0:45)
  • Park Sorrento at Park Mirasol (Tennis & Swim Center) (0:47)
  • Park Sorrento at Park Granada (0:48)
  • Park Sorrento at Civic Center Way (Civic Center) (0:51)
  • Mureau Road at Las Virgenes Road (0:58)

Sunday stops (15 minute frequency)

  • Parkville Road at Grape Arbor Park
  • Malibu Hills Road at Agoura Road (Community Center)
  • Lost Hills Road at Las Virgenes Road (de Anza Park)
  • Agoura Road at Las Virgenes Road (Albertson's)
  • Agoura Road at Lost Hills Road (Summit)

Learn more at www.cityofcalabasas.com/trolley.html.

Backbone Trail Hike From Kanan Road Trailhead to Zuma Ridge Motorway in Malibu

You've driven Kanan Road from Agoura Hills towards PCH for decades and have passed by the Backbone Trail trailhead on Kanan and Newton Canyon Road just before Tunnel "T-1" hundreds of times. But you never stopped there to check it out. Well, it's about time to give it a try!

The Backbone Trail stretches 67 miles through the Santa Monica Mountains, from Will Rogers State Park on the east to the Ray Miller Trailhead on the west. There are 12 "official" Backbone Trail trailheads and the Kanan Road Trailhead is one of them. More information on the National Park Service website at www.nps.gov/samo/planyourvisit/backbonetrail.htm.

There are two trailheads to catch here at what is also referred to as the Newton Canyon Trailhead. The Backbone Trail to the Latigo Canyon Trailhead is 2.5 miles one way headed east. The Backbone Trail to the Zuma Ridge Motorway - the one covered here - is also 2.5 miles one way headed west. 

The Backbone Trail to Zuma Ridge Motorway is a nice, moderate, winding, mostly single track, well-maintained trail. You'll encounter a creek, a view of the Upper Zuma Falls, a short bridge, some tree-lined canopied sections, wildflowers and moderately rocky sections.

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Once you reach Zuma Ridge Motorway, you can continue on the Backbone Trail or turn back for a five mile round trip hike.

Medea Creek Natural Park in Oak Park

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Medea Creek Natural Park has hiking, biking and fitness trails that stretch from Calle Rio Vista and Oaks Hills Drive in Oak Park on the north, then south past Medea Creek Lane and Conifer Street to a cul de sac entrance to the park at the west terminus of Tamarind Street.

 Nicely paved Medea Creek Trail north towards Kanan/Oak Park Library

Nicely paved Medea Creek Trail north towards Kanan/Oak Park Library

The paved Medea Creek Trail, great for walks as well as casual bicycling, has a northern entry point at Kanan Road across from Deerhill Road (adjacent to the Oak Park Library). It crosses Sunnycrest Drive, where there is street parking, so you do need to be careful with kids when you cross.

 Medea Creek runs through suburbia via this wash, where you will see some neat bird activity.

Medea Creek runs through suburbia via this wash, where you will see some neat bird activity.

The nature loop trail is about 1.5 miles. You will likely see ducks and perhaps other birds enjoying the creek as you choose between the paved and dirt paths. There's also a fitness circuit. It is kind of interesting as you'll see multiple layers of trails; some dirt, some paved, some grassy, some in the creek.

 Multiple paths and areas to explore at Medea Creek.

Multiple paths and areas to explore at Medea Creek.

Medea Creek Natural Park is managed by the Rancho Simi Recreation and Park District www.rsrpd.org/oak_park/parks/medea_creek_park.php.

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 Sign at east end terminus of Tamarind StreetFitness course signs along 1.5 mile path.

Sign at east end terminus of Tamarind StreetFitness course signs along 1.5 mile path.

Bike Path in Oxnard at Oxnard Beach Park to Channel Islands Harbor

There's a bike path that starts at the ocean side of Oxnard Beach Park at Mandalay Beach Road at Beach Way and takes you south all the way to Hollywood Beach and Channel Islands Harbor. Alternatively you can just park at the Oxnard Beach Park and go from there. It is roughly 3/4 of a mile one way to Harbor Boulevard.

Cross Harbor Boulevard and make your way into Channel Islands Harbor, where you can ride all the way to the south end of the harbor.

 Entrance to bike path at Mandalay Beach Road and Beach Way

Entrance to bike path at Mandalay Beach Road and Beach Way

 There's a loop you can do around Oxnard Beach Park

There's a loop you can do around Oxnard Beach Park

 The bike path continues south and goes around the Embassy Suites Mandalay Beach Hotel

The bike path continues south and goes around the Embassy Suites Mandalay Beach Hotel

 Soon after passing the hotel, the path swing east towards Harbor Boulevard

Soon after passing the hotel, the path swing east towards Harbor Boulevard

 At Harbor Boulevard, you can cross over to Channel Islands Harbor or veer right (west) on West Channel Islands Boulevard towards Hollywood Beach. 

At Harbor Boulevard, you can cross over to Channel Islands Harbor or veer right (west) on West Channel Islands Boulevard towards Hollywood Beach. 

 plenty of sand at Hollywood Beach. There's a restroom facility here. You can bike along Ocean Drive, which parallels the beach, to an entry point. do note that you are no longer on a bike path. you can continue south on Ocean Drive until its endpoint, where you turn left on South Harbor Boulevard past Channel View Park, where you will soon reach Channel Islands Harbor. 

plenty of sand at Hollywood Beach. There's a restroom facility here. You can bike along Ocean Drive, which parallels the beach, to an entry point. do note that you are no longer on a bike path. you can continue south on Ocean Drive until its endpoint, where you turn left on South Harbor Boulevard past Channel View Park, where you will soon reach Channel Islands Harbor. 

 On S. Harbor Boulevard going north now, you will be able to take a right (east) turn on Albacore Way to get to the nice pedestrian/bike path along Channel Islands Harbor. It will take you past the  Channel Islands Maritime Museum  and marina, where there are restaurants and other things to do.

On S. Harbor Boulevard going north now, you will be able to take a right (east) turn on Albacore Way to get to the nice pedestrian/bike path along Channel Islands Harbor. It will take you past the Channel Islands Maritime Museum and marina, where there are restaurants and other things to do.

 Pretty cool place to ride bikes at the harbor...and rarely crowded in my experience.

Pretty cool place to ride bikes at the harbor...and rarely crowded in my experience.

 If you and the kids are up to it and want a longer ride, after reaching the north side of the Harbor, you can take Harbor Boulevard back over to W. Channel Islands Boulevard over the bridge to the middle of the Harbor. There's a popular Toppers Pizza over there. Or go the east side of the Harbor. 

If you and the kids are up to it and want a longer ride, after reaching the north side of the Harbor, you can take Harbor Boulevard back over to W. Channel Islands Boulevard over the bridge to the middle of the Harbor. There's a popular Toppers Pizza over there. Or go the east side of the Harbor. 

Other options of course include parking at the Channel Islands Harbor somewhere and cycling your way up to the Oxnard Beach Park. And you can also pedal your way over to S. Victoria Avenue and take the bike lane all the way down to Silverstrand Beach (or even park at Silverstrand and ride your way up from there...though do take not that this is not a bike path). Have fun!