On January 1st of 1997, while Rebecca & I were living in Chandler, Arizona, a friend who had recently moved to California came back to visit us. We did not know that we were about to have a moment that would change the course of our lives. His previous visits had been mostly social, but this time he had an agenda. He had opened a business in Ventura and wanted me to come over and help him expand. It seemed a little surreal for us to consider this, but a couple of weeks later, we made the trek across the desert to see this place called Ventura, California.
It turned out to be what we now describe as one of those January “Chamber of Commerce” weekends in Ventura. As intriguing as the business opportunity was, it was the beauty, the energy, and the vibe of this seaside city that ultimately grabbed us and wouldn’t let go. By March 9th, we had sold our home in Chandler and were unpacking in Ventura.
The official name is The City of San Buenaventura. However, for most, it’s just Ventura, a beautiful coastal city nestled between the hills and the pacific, 65 miles north of Los Angeles along iconic Highway 1. With a Mediterranean climate typical of coastal California, you can expect idyllic weather any time of the year. Ventura is the county seat and has a population of about 111,000 people.
The Ventura beachfront begins with the promenade that is perfect for walking, jogging, or bicycling and boasts one of California’s longest piers. From here it’s about a 5-minute walk to the historic downtown with its array of ethnic cuisines, shops, and local artists’ galleries.
To the south lies San Buenaventura State Beach and the Pierpont beach community that extends to Marina Park and the entrance to Ventura Harbor. Though the harbor is one of the largest squid offloading operations in North America, it speaks primarily to its visitors with its galleries, restaurants, boutique shops, and summer festivals. Beyond the harbor is the residential “Ventura Keys” community with its private boat dock homes that provide water access to the harbor village or out to the sea.
And while not all of Ventura lies along the water, it is all connected to “the vibe.” For us, Ventura has always been as much of an experience as it has been a place. Yes, we did come from the desert to the beach and yes, we did eventually move down to the beach area in Oxnard, but those early years set the tone for a lifestyle that would become a part of us.
This brings me to one last perspective that we didn’t think about and may get overlooked by many. Ventura is considered the southern boundary and the gateway to the Central Coast. For us, this has turned out to be maybe the most significant and unexpected bonus of living here. While we still have access to Los Angeles, the Central Coast, particularly Cambria and the Big Sur Coast, has been a regular playground for us since we moved here. It is tough to imagine that being the case had our starting point been in Los Angeles traffic 60-70 miles to the south.
Fast forward to today, and we can easily say that we have never regretted that leap of faith we took back in 1997. We know how fortunate we are to live here and always remain grateful for the energy that it has brought into our lives. If you are considering Ventura or anywhere in this area as your next home, we’d love to hear from you. If you are still on the fence and have questions, that’s okay too. Give us a call anyway. Maybe it’s your time.