First off, I have to apologize to all of you for my being MIA last week. I am overwhelmed with a project that takes me all through March. I may have to post every other week until it is done.
In order to keep this cool and upbeat, I am focusing on the pleasant aspects of life here in Shangri-La. Well, almost that ideal paradise. We have been happy in Valencia for many reasons. From the outset, we picked a beautiful, safe, upscale neighborhood and, as my Dad always counsels, bought the cheapest house on the hill. That is supposed to keep our investment ticking up and secure. We shall see!
Coincident with this point, we took a ride over to Ventura — our preferred retirement destination — early in February. Ventura is a county as well as a city. Within the county are a number of towns, including ones I have already shared with you here like Santa Paula and Ojai, among others, as well as Ventura proper itself. It is the latter, set high on hills around a bustling vintage downtown commerce area, that we identified as the ideal place to live. You can go back to my earlier posts to see why.
Anyway, we drove over in the direction of Oxnard, a place I don’t recall ever visiting or driving through, because it is an old agricultural town. Many of the country’s berries come from the Oxnard area farms. Its downtown is almost 200 years old and promised to have some lovely historic sites.
But, before we got there, we stumbled into the Port Hueneme and Channel Islands areas at the beach, about 20 miles south of Ventura. What a find!
The whole place is my idea of idyllic, if one doesn’t care that it never snows. For those of you who know Europe, the weather is Mediterranean. As I have often said, my favorite weather (sans snow) is in Barcelona, where it seems to be sunny, dry, temperate (70s) and breezy all year long, no matter when you visit.
There is a place like that in California too (in fact, the only place in the US): La Jolla, in the burbs of San Diego. Slightly warmer, La Jolla is between the 70s and 80s all year long. No major weather systems plague that lower California beach area. It is just beautiful all the time. And it has a price tag to go along with it. La Jolla is truly for the leisure class.
But, the Channel Islands, while expensive, are still within the realm of possibility for anyone who is already supporting a property in California. And they are gorgeous. Fingers of water delicately encircle petals of land, on which are the most delightful, charming homes I have seen outside of Carmel, in NoCal.
I will share this time and next time, some of the pictures I took. What struck us too, in addition to both the fact that every home had a boat slip, among those in the Islands neighborhood, and were either on the beach or steps away, in the Silver Strand and Hollywood Beach areas that form part of this extend marine Oxnard municipality, was the fact that the owners ornamented their properties with decorations picking up the ocean or sea themes. These decorations show a levity, a cheerfulness of disposition that tells me the place is safe, secure, calm and content.
Life is apparently good in the Channel Islands. Good and beautiful. Inevitably, we are aiming for this place — here we come!
The beaches themselves are wind-swept, natural, filled with driftwood, shells, some seaweed and sea birds. The water is deep and blue, the sand is soft and in some spots almost white, similar to the Pine Barrens in New Jersey, where my parents have a vacation home.
The two weekends we were there, the wind was blowing and the sea roaring in a way that is unusual for the Pacific, likely from the storm that was gathering as the sun floated to the horizon. People were strolling and collecting casually on the beach, but they were few and far between.
I will probably add more pictures here, even to this post, in the coming week, so you can get a good idea of the atmosphere of the Channel Islands.
As we drove back into Ventura for dinner, the first weekend, we saw an Irish Dancing school on the way. Now, that is the reason I love Ventura County! All the benefits of living in the world’s second biggest economy, with Barcelona weather, and cultural extras. Outside of Oakland/Berkeley, you will not find that combo easily.
Oh, and, I have made a list of my regular commenters, so I can visit you even when I am slammed with work. I truly appreciate the dozen or so people who make up the core of this extended and growing community (and I also warmly welcome every single visitor and community member too, believe me) and don’t want to neglect any of you, just because I am busy. Loyalty is one of my most important values in life! ❤
Watch this spot for more!
Images: Chez BeBe assets – The Channel Islands