Hillside Letters "SP" on South Mountain in Santa Paula

Santa Paula SP 1.JPG

When driving southbound in Santa Paula, look up towards the mountain south of the city (aptly named South Mountain) and you’ll see the letters SP boldly emblazoned high up on the hill that overlooks the Santa Paula Airport.

According to the Santa Paula Times, the letters are 125 feet long and 25 feet wide and originated in the 1922 time frame when a group of high schooler made the trek up the mountain.. The letter

The brush was cleared annually over the years until the 1970s; for decades thereafter, the brush overgrew the letters and made them difficult to see.

Then, as part of the city’s centennial celebration in 2002, the Times noted that Limoneira Co. and other volunteers and donors worked to clean up the letters for all to see.

Santa Paula SP 2.JPG

Santa Paula is not alone in its mountain monogram. Other local area cities with monograms include Agoura Hills (there’s a letter A in the hill north of Agoura High School), the letters CLU emblazoned on the hill overlooking Cal Lutheran University, the letter F in the hills east of Fillmore, the letter V in the hills above Ventura High School and the letters VC in the hills above Ventura College.

Of course, the most prominent icon landscaped into a hill in Ventura County is Happy Face Hill seen by westbound drivers on the 118 near Kuehner Drive.

Happy Face Hill in Simi Valley - sure to bring a smile to your face.

Happy Face Hill in Simi Valley - sure to bring a smile to your face.

Birthday Party Places In and Around Ventura County

Trying to figure out what to do for your kids' birthday parties in and around Ventura County? We've got you covered with this compilation of over 150 birthday party options in and around Ventura County, spanning from Ventura to Camarillo, Thousand Oaks, Moorpark, Simi Valley, Westlake Village, Newbury Park and surrounding areas. We have categorized venue by "type" as best we can.  Contact us if you have something to add!

Powerline Trail to Edison Road to Conejo Mountain Peak in Newbury Park

View of Boney Mountain range from midway up the Powerline Trail in Newbury Park.

View of Boney Mountain range from midway up the Powerline Trail in Newbury Park.

While you're driving down the Conejo Grade from the Conejo Valley towards Camarillo, you may wonder what that mountain is south of the 101.  This would be the 1,814 foot tall Conejo Mountain.

So how do you get up there? 

There are no "official" marked trails to the peak of Conejo Mountain, but there are unofficial ways to get up there. One way that I'm aware of us via the Powerline Trail to Edison Road Trail in the Dos Vientos section of Newbury Park. 

Get to the Powerline Trail trailhead located on Via Ricardo, west of Via Pisa. Park on the street. Or for added trail mileage, park at Dos Vientos Community Park and take the short (1/2 mile) Park View Trail until it ends at Via Ricardo, where you'll see a crosswalk to the Powerline Trail on the other side.

Follow the Powerline Trail on a single to double tract trail until it reaches the much wider Edison Conejo Mountain Road, marked by sets of power line transmission towers.

It is amazing how quiet it can get back here. This trail is a bit on the long, steep side and the mountain can get quite brown and barren. But the rock formations are pretty cool, and get more interesting the higher you climb. And the views are outstanding, from Boney Mountain to the south to the Channel Islands and Oxnard Plain to the west and Thousand Oaks to the east.

You will be passing by this anxiety-causing sign on the way up. Not to worry. Just a warning.

You will be passing by this anxiety-causing sign on the way up. Not to worry. Just a warning.

Now, pay attention, To find the path to the top of Conejo Mountain, count the pairs of transmission towers that you pass. The unmarked path is just above the 4th set of transmission towers, which is roughly two miles from the trailhead.

When I went, there was fairly large arrow formed with rocks that pointed in the direction of the path. Although it is not an official trail, you can kind of make out the path that has been cleared by hikers over the years. And there are some sections where it appears the path has been aligned by rocks.

In any case, although it looks difficult, it actually isn't that bad, as long as you take your time and watch your step. When you reach the top, you will have a clear birds eye view of the 101 on the other side.of the mountain.

When it greens up after the winter storms, it sure looks a lot prettier up here.

When it greens up after the winter storms, it sure looks a lot prettier up here.

A clear view of Highway 101 from the peak of Conejo Mountain.

A clear view of Highway 101 from the peak of Conejo Mountain.

Clear, unimpeded views of Anacapa and Santa Cruz Islands from up here.

Clear, unimpeded views of Anacapa and Santa Cruz Islands from up here.

Wedding Reception Venues In Ventura County and Surrounding Areas

iStock_wedding.jpg

Conejo Valley Guide focuses primarily on events, activities and things to do in the Conejo Valley, Ventura County and surrounding areas.

Since we're out and about so much, we thought it might be helpful to have a comprehensive list of over 170 local wedding, wedding reception and meeting venues.

(Contact us for additions/edits to this list.)

Simi Valley Wedding Reception Venues

Moorpark, Somis Wedding Reception Venues

Ojai, Santa Paula, Fillmore, Piru Wedding Reception Venues

Santa Barbara, Carpinteria, Goleta

Wine Tasting Options in Ventura County and Adjacent Areas

According to the Wine Institute, a public policy advocacy association of over 1,000 wineries, wine consumption in the United States has grown from about quarter of a gallon per person, per year in 1934 to 2.94 gallons per year in 2016. That's nearly one trillion gallons of wine!

So where can we imbibe right here in Ventura County and adjacent areas (roughly within a 40 minute radius)? Here's a compilation for your tasting pleasure.

(Note: Contact us for changes/additions. We have attempted to include only those places that currently offer wine tasting to the general public.)

Alma Sol Winery wines are poured at Sunland Vintage Tasting Room, 1321 E. Thousand Oaks Blvd, #108, Thousand Oaks www.almasolwinery.com Tasting room hours Sat 2-6pm, Sun 2-5pm. (Tasting room closed 12/22/18 to 1/27/19.)

Beckmen Vineyards is at 2670 Ontiveros Road, Los Olivos www.beckmenvineyards.com. Wine tasting daily 11am to 5pm (closed New Year’s Day, Thanksgiving, Christmas Day). Dog-friendly! 805.688.8664

Boar Dough Tasting Room at 5015 Cornell Road, Agoura Hills www.boardoughtastingroom.com Open Wed through Sun at 5pm. 818.889.2387

Boccali Vineyards and Winery at 3277 E. Ojai Avenue in Ojai www.boccalivineyards.com Open for wine tasting Sat/Sun 11am to 4pm. 805.669.8688.

Buttonwood Farm Winery and Vineyard at 1500 Alamo Pintado Road in Solvang www.buttonwoodwinery.com open daily 11am to 5pm. Children welcome, as are well-behaved, leashed dogs. 805.688.3032

Cafe Firenze at 563 W. Los Angeles Ave in Moorpark offers Wednesday night wine tasting from 5:30-8:30pm featuring local wineries www.cafefirenze.net/special-events.html 805.532.0048

Camarillo Custom Crush Winery at 300 S Lewis Rd, Camarillo www.camarillocustomcrush.com is open on weekends from noon to 5pm. 805.484.0597

Cantara Cellars has a tasting room at 126 Wood Road, Suite 104 in Camarillo that is open Thursdays 2-8pm, Fridays 2-9pm, Saturdays 1-9pm and Sundays 1-6pm. www.cantaracellars.com 805.484.9600

Casa Barranca Organic Winery is located at 208 East Ojai Avenue in Ojai www.casabarranca.com 805.640.1255. Tasting room hours are 1-6pm Sunday through Thursday, 1-7pm Friday/Saturday.

Cornell Winery and Tasting Room is located at 29975 Mulholland Highway in Agoura www.cornellwinery.com. Its tasting room is open noon to 7pm Thursday through Sunday. 818.735.3542

DeLiese Cellars opened a tasting room at 1850 E. Thousand Oaks Boulevard, Thousand Oaks in late December 2016. dlcwines.com 805.500.2225

Fess Parker Winery and Vineyard at 6200 Foxen Canyon Road in Santa Ynez www.fessparkerwines.com 805-688-1545

Firestone Vineyard, 5017 Zaca Station Road in Santa Ynez www.firestonewine.com Open daily 10am to 5pm. Closed major holidays. 805.688.3940.

Four Brix Winery is a craft winery open Thursday noon to 5pm, Friday noon to 8pm and Saturday/Sunday noon 5pm at 2290 Eastman Avenue, Suite 101, Ventura www.fourbrixwine.com 805-256-6006

Gainey Vineyard at 3950 East Highway 246, Santa Ynez www.gaineyvineyard.com Open daily 10am to 5pm. 805.688.0558

Giessinger Winery & Tasting Room in Fillmore (365 Santa Clara Street - right next to Fillmore & Western Railway (open Wed through Sunday; closed Tuesday; hours vary) 805.524.5000 and 3059 Willow Lane, Westlake Village (open Thursday through Sunday, 2-7pm) (805.405.5557) giessingerwinery.com

Herzog Wine Cellars at 3201 Camino Del Sol in Oxnard offers tastings daily, except Saturday, www.herzogwinecellars.com. 805.983.1560

Labyrinth Winery and Tasting Room is located at 607 East Main Street in Ventura www.LabyrinthWinery.com Open Wednesday through Sunday; hours vary. 805.585.2238

Lester Family Cellars Winery and Tasting Room opened in September 2018 at 6650 Crescent Street, #8, Ventura. Open weekends from 11am to around 5:30pm or by appointment. lesterfc.com 310.498.8346

Magnavino Cellars is located at 961 N. Rice Avenue, Suite 5, Oxnard and its tasting room is open Friday through Sunday. Visit www.magnavino.com or call 805.983.2500.

Malibu Family Wines tasting rooms at 71740 Mulholland Highway, Malibu (open 7 days a week) (818.865.0605) and at the Four Seasons Westlake Village Friday through Sunday (818.575.3000). Visit www.malibuwines.com.  Also offering the popular Malibu Wine Safaris www.lasafaris.com, Malibu Wine Hikes www.malibuwinehikes.com and Malibu Wine Sailing www.malibusailing.com. Not to mention, Saddlerock Gardens.

Millesime Cellars is open Friday-Sunday and Thursdays (by appointment) at 425 Constitution Avenue, Suite H, Camarillo. Visit www.millesimecellars.com or call 805.484.1482.

NABU Wines offers tastings at 2649 Townsgate Road, Suite 200, Westlake Village on Saturdays and Saturdays. Visit nabuwines.com or call 818.835.3704.

Oak Creek Ranch Winery will be re-opening after closing for three years for renovations on Saturday, April 7, 2018. Located at 10024 Old Creek Road, Ventura. Located on an 850 acre cattle ranch in the Ojai Valley. oldcreekranch.com 805-649-4132

The Ojai Vineyard Tasting Room is located at 109 S. Montgomery Street, Ojai and is open 7 days a week. Visit ojaivineyard.com or call 805.798.3947.

Panaro Brothers Winery and Tasting Room is located at 4517 Market St #7, Ventura Thursday through Sunday. Visit www.panarobrotherswinery.com or call 805.654.1577.

Plan B Wine Cellars is a working winery located at 3520 Arundell Circle, #107, Ventura planbwinecellars.com or 805-233-1453 or 805-218-9932. Open for tastings on weekends from noon to 5pm.

Rancho Ventano Cellars is at 741 South A Street in Downtown Oxnard www.rvcellars.com or 805.483.8084

Roblar Winery is at 3010 Roblar Avenue in Santa Ynez www.roblarwinery.com 805.686.2603

Rosenthal Winery and Tasting Room is located at 18741 Pacific Coast Highway in Malibu www.rosenthalestatewines.com Open 7 days a week; hours vary. 310.456.1392

San Vicente Cellars Tasting Room is located at 537 Constitution Avenue, Suite D, Camarillo www.sanvicentecellars.com. Tasting Room is open on weekends. 805.388.3279

The Stonehaus at 32039 Agoura Road, Westlake Village is open 7 days a week (hours vary) for wine tasting. the-stonehaus.com/wine 818.483.1152

Strey Cellars is located at 951 N. Rice Avenue, Oxnard and is open Friday-Sunday (weekdays by appointment). Visit www.StreyCellars.com or call 805.988.1087.

Sunland Vintage Winery and Tasting Room in Thousand Oaks www.SunlandVintageWinery.com

Sunstone Winery at 125 North Refugio Road, Santa Ynez www.sunstonewinery.com

The Tasting Room at Four Seasons Westlake Village www.fourseasons.com/westlakevillage/dining/signature_experiences/the_tasting_room

Topa Mountain Winery at 821 W. Ojai Avenue is open for wine tasting Thursday to Sunday from noon to 7pm. www.topamountainwinery.com

Ventura Wine Co. "The Cave" wine tasting at 4435 McGrath St #301, Ventura venturawineco.com/the-cave 

Wades Wines Wine Tasting at 30961 Agoura Road, Ste 321 Westlake Village www.wadeswines.com open Thursday to Sunday.

VinTura Tasting Room & Wine Rack at 14 S. California Street in Ventura vinturatastingroom.com

Wine Tours

Roadrunner Shuttle Wine Tours 

Malibu Wine Safari www.lasafaris.com

Art and Wine Sipping Options

The Painted Cabernet in Oxnard

Color Mi Vino in Simi Valley

Painting With a Twist in Camarillo

Spirits

Ventura Spirits at 3891 N. Ventura Ave, #B2A, Ventura has a tasting room that is open Fridays 1-5PM and Sat/Sun from noon to 5pm. venturaspirits.com 805.232.4313

HOW ABOUT A BEER!? LOCAL AREA FRESH BREWED BEERS

Wine No More

Gone West Cellars at 5963 Olivas Park Drive, Ste A, Ventura closed in December 2016.

We Olive & Wine Bar Tasting at The Oaks Mall closed permanently in August 2018.

The Tasting Room at River Ridge at River Ridge Golf Club (closed 10/6/17)

SIP Malibu Grapes in Agoura Hills www.sipmalibugrapes.com (SIP was destroyed by the Woolsey Fire of November 2018; but stay tuned at their website for possible rebuilding plans)

Free Admission Days at Museums in Ventura County and Adjacent Areas

iStock_FreeAdmission.jpg

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.

Conejo Valley, Simi Valley, Moorpark

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

There is no admission charge at the Skateboarding Hall of Fame and Museum that opened at the Simi Valley Town Center in December 2018 (massive collection of vintage skateboards and skating artifacts). Open (as of January 2019) Thursday/Friday 2-9PM, Saturday 10AM-9PM and Sunday 11AM-7PM.

The Santa Susana Depot and Museum in Simi Valley is open to the public on weekends, free of charge.

Ventura, Camarillo, Oxnard, Port Hueneme

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 located at the Ventura Harbor is open year-round free of admission.

Channel Islands Maritime Museum offers free admission on the 3rd Thursday of each month.

U.S. Navy Seabee Museum in Port Hueneme offers year-round free admission.

Free admission at the Museum of Ventura County in Downtown Ventura the 1st Sunday of the month.

Free First Saturdays from 11am to 4pm at Studio Channel Islands Art Center in Old Town Camarillo.

There is no admission charge at the Pleasant Valley Historical Museum and Botanical Garden in Camarillo. Open weekends.

There is no charge for looking through the windows into the A.J. Comstock Fire Museum in the Figueroa Street Mall in Downtown Ventura.

Ojai, Santa Paula, Fillmore

Ojai Valley Museum currently offers free admission the 3rd Friday of each month from 5:30-7:30pm.

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

Santa Paula Art Museum offers free admission on the 1st Sunday of the month.

Aviation Museum of Santa Paula is open the 1st Sunday of each month with no admission charge.

California Oil Museum in Fillmore is free admission year-round, though there is a suggested donation of $4.

Santa Barbara

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

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

Free Family Days at the Santa Barbara Museum of Natural History on the third Sunday of January, February, March, April, September, October, November, and December. 

Other Areas

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

Griffith Observatory in Los Angeles offers free year-round admission.

Kidspace Kids Museum in Pasadena offers Free Family Night from 4pm to 8pm the 1st Tuesday of each month, except September.

The Getty Villa in Pacific Palisades is free of charge year-round.

California ScienCenter in Exposition Park is free admission year-round.

Bank of America offers free admission to over 150 museums around the country the first full weekend of each month.

1956 Rolls Royce Phantom Saloon at Nethercutt Automotive Museum.

1956 Rolls Royce Phantom Saloon at Nethercutt Automotive Museum.

You like FREE!? Click here for hundreds of other free activities and things in and around Ventura County!

Compilation of Great Trails and Hikes In and Around Ventura County

FIRE DAMAGE: Note that numerous trails and open space areas were severely damaged by the Woolsey and Hill Fires of November 2018 and the Thomas Fire of December 2017. Update 1/30/19: All trails on this list have been reopened as of today, with the exception of Charmlee Wilderness Park, Oakbrook Regional Park, Conejo Canyons Bridge, Hawk Canyon Trail, Bark Park Trail in Calabasas.

TrailSign1.JPG

Looking for a good hike around Ventura County and nearby areas? We've highlighted a number of our favorite hikes in the Do Something section of Conejo Valley Guide.

HIKE TO A CONEJO VALLEY BENCH WITH A VIEW

HIKE TO AUTOMOTIVE RELICS IN THE CONEJO VALLEY OPEN SPACE

SEVEN FLAT, STROLLER FRIENDLY TRAILS IN THE CONEJO VALLEY

DOG-FRIENDLY TRAILS IN THE SANTA MONICA MOUNTAINS

Reminder: Please refrain from using the trails during rain events and afterwards, until they have dried. Doing otherwise causes damage to the trails.

Lone Oak at Rancho Sierra Vista/Satwiwa

Lone Oak at Rancho Sierra Vista/Satwiwa

Lynnmere Open Space views to the west.

Lynnmere Open Space views to the west.

Views from the Ray Miller Trail in Malibu.

Danielson Road trail in the Boney Mountain Wilderness.

Danielson Road trail in the Boney Mountain Wilderness.

Views of Simi Valley from the peak of Mt. McCoy in Simi Valley.

Views of Simi Valley from the peak of Mt. McCoy in Simi Valley.

Sunset Hills Trail in Thousand Oaks.

Sunset Hills Trail in Thousand Oaks.

Tree encampment along Los Padres Trail in Thousand Oaks.

Tree encampment along Los Padres Trail in Thousand Oaks.