I've lived in California for 24 years this year, and despite no small amount of traveling throughout the state, there remain countless corners and crannies which I have not explored. In fact, despite having driven to and from San Diego dozens of times, there are entire communities which I've seen only through the windshield, having never taken the time to stop and pay a visit.
Ventura was one of those towns, until last week. I'd been tapped by one of the organizers of Craftcation to present*, and it seemed not only like a good opportunity to meet and mingle with crafty types, but to experience a coastal California community that was new to me.
I carpooled down with my friend Susie, also presenting at the conference. Barreling down the 101, we chatted about food (natch), entrepreneurship, life in general. There was nary a quiet moment between us. Still, it's a five-plus hour drive to Ventura, so we stopped off at the Mission San Miguel to stretch our legs, get some fresh air, and partake of picnic goodies we packed. This, my friends, is what happens when two avid food enthusiasts pack a picnic:
To go with our various crackers and chips, we had peanut butter from Peanut Butter & Co., Duchy Originals oatcakes and shortbreads, Cowgirl Creamery Red Hawk, dehydrated persimmons, and a few condiments I had to make on assignment: Mango salsa, corn salsa and guacamole. We were well sated.
Mission San Miguel makes for a pleasantly serene stopoff en route. Basking in the warm sun and gentle breeze, we enjoyed the grounds, particularly noting the way the stucco had been meticulously maintained to a state of half-erosion to give it an authentically rustic feel.