Friday, March 9, 2012

Santa Paula Daytrip

It's a beautiful March day, and I've been invited to ride shotgun on a daytrip to Santa Paula. Located on Highway 126 between Ventura on the 101 side and Santa Clarita on the 5, Santa Paula is a modern Mayberry with lemon, orange and avocado orchards and lots of surprises to boot.

First stop is Rabalais' for beignets, fancy schmancy powdered donuts. I washed mine down with citrus julep, which is their fancy schmancy lemon-limeade. Yum on both counts! On my next visit, I'm looking forward to a catfish po'boy, fried green tomatoes, or red beans and rice to really get my New Orleans fix. Properly powered-up, we can start exploring Main Street.

First stop after cruising the shops is the California Oil Museum, chalk-full of exhibits on the history of "black gold" in California. Here you see some of the vintage gas pumps, flashing back to a time when gas was 17 9/10 cents, with no dollar amount in front. There's also a Rig Room with an operating 1900s oil rig, plus bonus galleries of Girl Scout ephemera celebrating the centennial, and photographs and artwork from Cuba. It's quite a blend of interesting things! If you visit, definitely stick around for the docent tour of the upstairs offices dating from the 1890s. The space is filled with period furniture and accessories, and you can even walk into a vintage vault.

Adjacent to the Oil Museum is the Santa Paula Art Museum, currently showing the Douglas Shively retrospective. Shively founded the Santa Paula Art Show in 1937, and continued painting even after a stroke in 1989 until his death is 1991. He painted mostly landscapes using oils, with a few watercolors like this bridge scene from Brugges. Since photography without flash was allowed, I captured this delightful shot.

Finally, we stopped at Chickyweedy's for these corn burritos. You may call them modified taquitos, because they are corn tortillas rolled around beans and fried, then topped with hot sauce and cheese. Delish!! I don't care what they are called, as long as I hear when my order is ready. I polished off 10 of these babies and could have kept packing them away.

And so ends the Santa Paula daytrip, well except for the dreaded Friday late afternoon traffic on the drive back to LA. But, I would definitely do it again. Who's game?!

Chickyweedy's does not have a Web site. Their street address is 915 E. Harvard Street, and phone is 805-525-0341.

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