Heading West during their February school vacation week, our daughter Molly, her hubby Tip, and our grandsons, Owen (kindergarten) and Max (pre-school) are coming to California for some R and R and some O and P (i.e. Omi and Poppa). Hannah and I are pumped to ride the rails with our grandsons. If it sounds like we are hobo wanna-bes, you just might be right as we do have wanderlust in our souls.
Staying in a rented house in Carpinteria a mere mile from the train station, Hannah and I have planned a twenty-mile train ride for the four of us to Ventura with its beachfront promenade, sandy beaches, and unexpected in-town adventure.
Once the Amtrak Surfliner pulls into the Carp station, we climb the steps to the second deck where the comfortable window seats are. With others buried in their phones and laptops, we four have the good fortune to get oceanside views. Paralleling the six-lane 101 highway, we are traveling slower than the mid-morning traffic. Rolling along between the mountains to our left and the multi-million dollar beachfront homes to our right, we have begun another adventure with our guys.
Once in Ventura, we disembark at the County Fairgrounds, which is just a parking lot away from the Pacific Ocean. Soon, we are strolling down the wide beachfront sidewalk among the President’s Day crowd enjoying another sunny day in Paradise.
Walking ¾ of mile towards the Ventura Pier, we hit sandy beach gold for two kids who have come from New England’s snow and temps in the 20s . They race to the water’s edge, then run back before the incoming tide washes up over their feet.
Just before lunch time, we head into downtown Ventura to meet up with our fish taco and pickleball friends, Bruce and Anneli. They are our fish taco friends for last year they invited us out for lunch al fresco at Snapper Jack’s Taco Shack in downtown Ventura. Click here for that blog.
Today, they surprise us with gingerbread cookies at the upstairs loft of their architectural firm. Check ‘em out.
Max looks at one with the number 12 and immediately says, Tom Brady! In addition to a pickleball player, there are two more challenging identifications needed. The boys say lizard for one, but Bruce nudges them and says, It’s a little more than that. He gives them “amphibian” as a clue. Owen nails it “gecko.”
Anneli wonders if they know the other gingerbread figure. Without a moment’s hesitation, Max blurts out, The Eiffel Tower. As impressed with our grandchildren as we are, they offer the boys hot chocolate. Oh, they have one more thing for us: 30 minutes of Calilfornia love for us New Englanders.
Spending two winter months in California, Hannah and I are beginning to create a community of folks, like Anneli and Bruce, that is making Carpinteria a home away from home. It’s the latest chapter in our journey – where we find good people again and again.