A visit to Conejo Valley

So, even if you have known us for only one week you have probably noticed that we love adventures!  When we moved to Southern California (from the midwest) last Fall we were overwhelmed with all of the fun places to visit within a couple of hours of our new home.  We have explored the mountains, deserts, beaches and hit up a plethora of parks and museums.  We have been so busy.  Busy in a good way but still busy. A little over a week ago we got the chance to visit somewhere new – Conejo Valley – and for once didn’t feel rushed or overwhelmed.  I told the kids over and over again that THIS is somewhere that I would love to live!  Conejo Valley encompasses the region just north / north west of Los Angeles and includes Agoura Hills, Thousand Oaks, Newbury Park and Westlake Village primarily and the communities of Malibu, Simi Valley, Topanga are adjacent.

Come along with us on our adventures!   While we were hosted in Conejo Valley all opinions and fun times are my own.

Ronald Reagan Presidential Library

Seriously, what a powerful place.  The grounds of the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library are beautiful and overlook the rolling hills of the region.  The facility itself is top notch and educational for the entire family!  I found it very powerful.  Reagan was the president for the first 8 years of my life just as Barrack Obama was for Abby.   I have to admit that I was moved to tears on a couple of occasions.  We even got a chance to walk around in Air Force One #27000. This plane served seven presidents from Nixon to George W Bush!   Whats funny is that when I told Matt about this he recalled that HE also got to go inside of the same plane as a child when it was in St Louis.  The President was visiting and his parents knew someone who let them tour it!  My how times have changed.

My one piece of advice – give yourself plenty of time.  There is so much to do and see here!  Plus, they have a restaurant (and a bar too)!

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Courtyard By Marriott – Thousand Oaks

It only took us a short time to get to our hotel and in rush hour too!  Traffic seems to flow so well in Conejo Valley which is a great break from some of our other Los Angeles staycations!

We checked into the Courtyard by Marriott Thousand Oaks and were surprised with a lovely room overlooking the pool and hot tub.  The kids loved that part.  They are a lot like me in that we just LOVE to stay in hotels.  We couldn’t wait to unwind.  But before we did we needed to grab some dinner!

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Dinner at Holdrens – Newbury Park

There are so many great restaurants in Conejo Valley and I didn’t know where to start.  I asked the friendly gentlemen at the front desk for some recommendations and he pointed out a few good restaurants within walking distance (like 1-3 minutes) from the hotel.  We took his recommendation and went to Holdren’s Newbury Park.  We sat on the patio and enjoyed an amazing meal.  Our service was wonderful and our food delicious.  Clean plate club all around!

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Rise and Shine 

After a great night sleep we woke up and ventured down to the hotel restaurant (The Bistro).  Their selection was huge and although they had a great dining area we opted to bring our food upstairs so that we could knock out some school work before heading out to play.  One of my favorite things about homeschooling is the freedom of travel!  The kids worked for about 45 minutes and we packed up.  And our learning didn’t stop there… we had a whole day of exploration planned!

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Paramount Ranch: Hollywood History

Our first adventure was to Paramount Ranch in Agoura Hills.  I love history and of course I love Hollywood so this was the perfect adventure for us.  It all starts back in 1923 when Paramount Pictures leased the ranch and so began an era of film production that still continues today!

“You can experience the area where Bob Hope starred in Caught in the Draft (1941) and Sandra Bullock had a leading role in The Lake House (2006). In the 1950s, Western Town was created for television shows, such as The Cisco Kid. More recent television productions at Paramount include Dr. Quinn, Medicine Woman, The Mentalist, Weeds, and Hulu’s Quickdraw (2013-2014).”

You can read more about it here on the National Parks Service website.  Yep!  They purchased a large portion of the original Paramount property in 1980 and it continues to thrive.

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King Gillette Ranch: Junior Rangers

So, while at Paramount we saw a sign that told us to visit the Visitor’s Center 10 minutes down the road at King Gillette Ranch.  I had no idea what to expect and we were blown away.  The facility was wonderful, extremely educational and we jumped at the opportunity to become Junior Rangers for the Santa Monica Mountains!  So, of course you need to stop here for all of the above but also for the drive in.  The peaks and valleys of this region are breathtaking!

PS:  Yep.  Gillette like the razors!  Architect Wallace Neff designed this structure for the wealthy King C. Gillette in the 1920’s.

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Lunch in Malibu – yes please! 

So, from there we drove though the Las Virgenes Canyon down to Malibu with the hopes of finding some good food and salty air.  It only took us 10 minute to get from the mountains down to the beach and we stumbled upon Malibu Farm.   And thank goodness we did!  After posting about how great it was I had SO MANY people tell me how much they love the place.  The farm to table menu was diverse and I had the Cali flower Crust Pizza and it was so good! The kids did the Swedish Meatballs with Orzo and there wasn’t a bite left when we were through!

After a walk down the Malibu Pier we walked down to the beach and enjoyed the waves.  I hear this is a great place to spot celebrities too!

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One last stop at Pebbles in Topanga

So, on the way back through the mountains we took the Topanga Canyon route and I was so excited to spy Pebbles.  I follow this shop on Instagram and I love their colorful California vibes.   Abby got this cute white top, Jake grabbed the California tee and hat and they both got some instrumental necklaces! This little boutique is such a fun stop!

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And then it was time to go home.  

It was about 3:00pm on Monday and would you believe that we arrived in Conejo Valley just 24 hours before!  We did so much but none of it felt rushed.  Everything was laid back, traffic was a breeze and we were always excited about our next stop!  I can’t wait to go back and bring Matt too!

On our list for next time are the Gardens of the World, the Chumash Indian Museum in Thousand Oaks  (we are studying Native American’s later in the year and this is going to be perfect) and I am dying to go to the Getty Villa in Malibu!   Plus, we didn’t even get a chance to hike or bike the huge network of trails covering the region!

Make sure to follow Conejo Valley on social media for some more great ideas! And visit www.Conejo.com to start planning your visit!

CONNECT: Conejo Valley on Facebook | Conejo Valley on Instagram  |  Conejo Valley on Twitter

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