Monday, January 15, 2007

Downtown Ventura

I have lived in Ventura County almost 20 years and I am still discovering new things everyday. I didn't want to sit around all day and the wife was busy with school work so I went solo and headed to downtown Ventura to explore and take some pictures.

After eating lunch I started exploring. Ventura has an attractive downtown area. The Main Street is lined with restaurants, high end shops, and pawn/thrift/antique/junk shops full of treasures. It is amazing all the junk ( err ... Treasures?) that people have bought at one time or other that eventually end up in the antique-junk stores. The staggering number of tacky chachkies is overwhelming - this doesn't stop me from walking through a store or two. I usually do my downtown walk before Christmas while I shop for the wife but this year I didn't make it. Today was a wonderful day to walk the town. It has been chilly here in southern California but the sun was warm and the breeze light enough that I eventually had to take my jacket off.

I headed up to the San Buenaventura City Hall. The building recently went through a thorough cleaning and renovation and was shining in the brilliant sunshine. The building is adorned with monk heads - each different from the other. The view from the City Hall steps down California Street to the Pacific is awesome.

I continued down to the San Buenaventura Mission. It is kind of ironic that after visiting 7 missions all over central and southern California, I had never visited the mission in my own backyard. I always included it when I counted missions visited but I was not totally honest - now I'm on the up and up. It only took me 19 1/2 years to do it. The mission is not impressive from the outside but the gardens are well kept and I was pleasantly surprised.

Across Main Street from the mission is a park with fountains and a mural dedicated to the Chinese laborers that used to live in the area. China Alley eventually emptied out as the Chinese looked for jobs in nearby Oxnard and fled the hostile treatment they were subject to.

After the park and Mission I had worked up a need for sweets so I stopped by Palermo Coffee and bought two double-chocolate truffles (Double Yum!).

I finished the afternoon with a drive up to Grant Park where the original Mission cross stood and admired the views of Ventura, the Channel Islands, and the Pacific Coast. There are often people her flying remote controlled gliders - today there was only one lone wind rider.

I have posted some more mission and downtown Ventura pictures on Flickr.

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