Crowne Plaza Resort, Ventura
By Jeremy Zachary
Why You Must Go: Besides being a bit away from the harangue of large crowds at area beach communities, just getting to Ventura is half the fun! A short ride on the Metrolink connecting to Amtrak will get you to this fun beachside community faster (and cheaper) than driving yourself. Once there, the Amtrak stop is two football fields away from the hotel, assuring a simple and easy arrival. Crowne Plaza is the only large-scale hotel on the water offering the best view of the coastline, sunset and deep blue waters without the swarms of tourists. And a little trivia about the Plaza: The parking lot scene in Little Miss Sunshine when the family is rushing to make deadline for their entry into the beauty pageant was filmed here.
Crowne Plaza Ventura Beach, 450 East Harbor Blvd, Ventura, (805) 648-2100, for rates visit www.cpventura.com
Where to eat: Ventura offers up a ginormous selection of eateries and fine dining. Tipps Thai Cuisine has got to be some of the tastiest Thai outside of Samui! Beware of Chang, the animated owner who is sure to swoop your lady-friend off her feet—he is that charming. All in good fun, Chang gives life and personality to his authentic Thai treats and his attention to quality ingredients are the secret to his perfection. A little farther south on Main will lead you to Bernadette’s On Main, a great Brit-inspired pub in which to sit back, relax, make friends and sip suds. Don’t be fooled, Bernadette serves up some delicious sandwiches perfect for an afternoon holdover until dinner. Back on Main for dinner and drinks, Capriccio offers the standard Italian fare, but over a block or two on Oak Street you’ll find My Florist. This gorgeously arranged venue pours a stiff martini, one that’s sure to get you in the mood.
What else to check out: A walk down the boardwalk and onto the pier is a must. Also, every Saturday you can peruse the local Farmers Market, where you’ll find luscious fruits and veggies of all types, along with some homemade hummus and olive oils. Harbor Village is Ventura’s answer to strip malls, although more scenic and beautiful—over 35 shops guarantee a little something for everyone. Don’t forget to check out the cool boutique stores on Main.