Holiday Shopping Can Include Time Traveling to a Simpler, More Peaceful Conejo Valley

By Nancy Needham (

Enter the Stagecoach Inn Museum, say hello to the innkeeper in the lobby patiently knitting while she waits for guests and go to the right. That is where toys, candy and a variety of other items--some handmade by docents--are sold inside a country store called the Emporium.

It feels like stepping inside a mercantile in a story book written by Laura Ingalls Wilder. Little girls with pigtails should be inside buying penny candies from Mr. Olsen. But, candies at the museum's gift shop cost more than 1 cent. The good news is every dime goes to the Stagecoach Inn for the charming mansion's upkeep. The Inn is a replica of one that was built in the Conejo Valley in 1876 for stagecoach travelers.

The inside of the Newbury Pioneer House is decorated with Jacob's Ladder. Sometimes pioneers used a ladder as decoration instead of a Christmas tree. For a docent-led tour there is an admission charge--$5 for adults, $4 for seniors over age 62 and those from ages 13 to 21, $2 for those 5 to 12 and free for children under age 5. Those who just come to shop do not have to pay that fee.

Also on the grounds is a replica of Conejo Valley's original Timber School, a coach house, the Newbury Pioneer House, a Spanish Adobe and a Chumash shelter called an Ap. In the springtime there are roses in a memorial garden. But right now almost every square inch of the museum is decorated for the holidays thanks to volunteers.

When shopping at the Emporium, one should also treat themself to a tour. It's a lovely way to spend the afternoon. An antidote to holiday madness. The country store is open at the same time the museum is: Wednesday-Sunday from 1-4 p.m.