Most road trippers, tooling along the famed West Coast of California, pass by Oxnard, California. They don’t exit the freeway to see what’s up and growing along this fertile plain that provides nourishment for much of our country.
Travelers who have heard of Oxnard probably know it for its annual Oxnard Strawberry Festival, which is held in May. This is a popular and well attended weekend for anyone who wants to celebrate and savor all things strawberry.
Now dig below the surface of this often overlooked destination, and you’ll unearth compelling reasons to visit Oxnard. Its long farming history is visually heralded in Oxnard’s downtown Heritage Square where historic buildings have been lovingly relocated and restored. Besides viewing the architecture, you can sip the wines from the Tasting Room of Magnavino Cellars, and you can savor the flavors of the popular restaurant, La Dolce Vita.
Festivals, concerts and gatherings regularly occur at Oxnard’s Heritage Square, bringing together its diverse community to celebrate its rich culture.
The City of Oxnard also serves as the gateway to the Channel Islands—often referred to as the “Galapagos of the West”—for the indigenous land and sea life found there, just off the coast.
The harbor area and the Oxnard Marina attract discriminating city dwellers who want to escape to one of the best “undiscovered” beach communities along the Central Coast of California. Here, waterways lined with homes are reminiscent of the canals of Venice, Italy, without the crowds.
At the Marina all manner of water activities attracts the outdoorsy, while the Oxnard Historic District—including The Woolworth’s Museum—along with the renowned Reagan Presidential Library in nearby Simi Valley, ensure a great afternoon of exploration and culture.
The locally grown Oxnard produce makes for great food and drink, especially at Tierra Del Sur, the restaurant, which is part of Herzog Winery, also located in Oxnard.
This Kosher winery produces over 50 varieties from grapes sourced throughout California. Enjoy a trip to the contemporary and congenial tasting bar for sips and nibbles. Try a glass of a Herzog wine blend called “Camouflage,” which, alone is comprised of 12 different grapes. This smooth blend commemorates the historical heritage of their initial plantings with red and black raspberry flavors, and finished with notes of espresso and nutmeg.
Next time you’re en route along the California Central Coast, stop for the strawberries, and then stay to discover the pleasures of Oxnard and its surrounding fertile plains.