Getaway Guide: One Tank Trip To Ventura Harbor

July 14, 2012 6:00 AM

Overlooking Anacapa and Santa Cruz islands between Malibu and Santa Barbara on the mighty Pacific, Ventura Harbor is not only a sublime seaside retreat but also an enticing enclave that serves as a true artists’ colony full of treasures, as to be expected. Because of this alluring asset, an afternoon may not be enough time to play here. Find a great place to dine as well as a storied sleepover sanctuary in which to rest your head when you visit this vacation spot boasting an abundance of ocean breezes even on the hottest Southern California days.

Getting There

Take the 101 north about 60 miles for a straight shot to Ventura from Los Angeles. If you leave in the late morning, you’ll bypass most commuter traffic and be in Ventura in just around an hour. That’s a short hop considering you’ll feel worlds away once you get to this storied enclave by the sea. Note: If you’re aiming for a more leisurely pace and picturesque route, add a half hour onto your schedule by taking the Pacific Coast Highway. This highly treasured and particularly winding highway guides you through Malibu and upward, offering beautiful coastline on one side and rocky vistas of the Santa Monica Mountains on the other.

franciscomagdaleno Getaway Guide: One Tank Trip To Ventura Harbor

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Ventura County Potter’s Guild
1567 Spinnaker Dr., 105
Ventura, CA 93001
(805) 650-3580

The artists who belong to this actual potters’ guild showcase a diverse array of unique sculptural and functional ceramics that, in turn, make for great hand-made gifts and keepsakes. While there, meet the talent supports this highly unusual gallery. These artful potters intermittently show up at this not-for-profit venue to promote their art. Indeed, the Ventura County Potter’s Guild is a super place for local creative types to provide a forum for sharing their experiences and knowledge of what once was just, well, clay.

corey tile art Getaway Guide: One Tank Trip To Ventura Harbor

Photo Credit: Corey Tile Art/Facebook

Cory Tile Art
1575 Spinnaker Dr., 106A
Ventura, CA 93001
(805) 644-8543

Cory Tile Art is a totally unique adventure in tile and stone possibilities featuring wall and floor murals done to order, making personalizing gifts quick and easy. To enjoy, simply bring along your own photos or digital images and create tile gifts that are sure to capture lasting memories in style. Its most special offering includes souvenir tile portraits, created in only one hour in the Cory Tile Art live green screen studio.

greek at the harbor Getaway Guide: One Tank Trip To Ventura Harbor

Photo Credit: The Greek at the Harbor/Facebook

The Greek at the Harbor
1583 Spinnaker Dr.
Ventura, CA 93001
(805) 650-5350

Recently reinvented by Chef Gordon Ramsay on “Kitchen Nightmares,” The Greek at the Harbor provides the perfect meal with which to end the day. Featuring belly dancers for entertainment and sweeping harbor views, The Greek serves up delicious small plates of Mediterranean-inspired morsels in about as vibrant an atmosphere as you’ll find in these parts. When booking, ask for an outdoor table if you want to become one with nature while you dine. That done, start out with Saganaki, one of this eatery’s most famous dishes featuring flaming kefalograviera cheese that is prepared right next to where you are sitting.

RelatedThe Best Scenic Drives Within 60 Miles of Los Angeles

the pierpont inn spa Getaway Guide: One Tank Trip To Ventura Harbor

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Pierpont Inn
550 Sanjon Rd.
Ventura, CA 93001
(805) 643-6144

Price: from $119 per night

If you’re too tired to drive home or simply having too much fun to do that, stay at the Pierpont Inn & Spa, one of Ventura’s oldest hotels built in 1910. Situated on a bluff overlooking the Pacific, this historic retreat set on 11 acres offers sweeping views of the coast as well as a fine example of arts and crafts architecture. While there among the bungalow-styled retreat, don’t miss out on the in-house restaurant, Austen’s. This cheery outlet opens bright and early at 6:30 a.m., so enjoy a sunrise breakfast in the gorgeous dining room before checking out. Go back to sleep for a bit in your cozy bedroom complete with a fireplace because check-out isn’t until noon. Some say visitors of the paranormal nature check into the Pierpont once in a while, but no worries: Everyone who has ever seen or smelled a hint of what are said to be the former owners report that these harmless souls are just making sure your stay is perfect, which it will be, ghosts or no ghosts.

On Your Way Home

Rincon Gardens
3945 Pacific Coast Highway
Ventura, CA
(805) 65801518

On your way back to L.A., take the PCH route for a chance to stop and spy on the palm tress, agaves, aloes and other succulents at Rincon Gardens. Though this place is actually a nursery — you can buy what you see — don’t stay away just because you’re only there for a chance to witness an amazing collection. While there, expect to experience everything from an array of Canary Island palms to Senegal date palms to even rare Mediterranean fan palms. Once on the premises that are a gardener’s delight, discuss any particular problems or landscaping ideas you may have for your home in the City of Angels with the knowledgable folks who work at Rincon. These Ventura-based experts are there to help.

Related: Family Field Trip to Mission Bay

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Los Angeles freelance travel writer Jane Lasky, contributes to publications such as Travel + Leisure, Vogue and Esquire. Her weekly sojourning column ran in 40 newspapers for 20 years. Jane is anything but an accidental tourist. Check out her articles on