Oxnard Real Estate Blog
“What’s An Oxnard?” was a question written on t-shirts (worn by many) and bumper stickers around my hometown for many years. Though I’ve not seen those t-shirts or bumper stickers in perhaps 20 years, whoever came up with the catchy phrase certainly sold a lot of them back then.
Oxnard is a blue and white-collared city located along California’s Central Coast approximately 30 miles south of Santa Barbara and 25 clicks north of Malibu. It was named Oxnard after its founder, Henry T. Oxnard, attempted to name the city after the Greek word for sugar (he manufactured sugar and also grew beats). After repeatedly being stymied by state bureaucrats, he decided to name the area after himself.
The city of Oxnard and the Oxnard plain is nestled between the Pacific Ocean to the west and the Transverse mountain ranges to the north, east and south. These mountain ranges include the Santa Monica and the Topatopa, the latter named by its first inhabitants, the Chumash Native Americans. The plain has always been an agriculturally fertile region and even today agriculture plays a large role in its economy. Beats, beans, walnuts, tomatoes, citrus, celery, chile, carrots, cabbage, lawn sod and strawberries, along with many other fruits and vegetables, have been successfully harvested for decades from its nutrient-rich soil. Today, were I guessing man, I would surmise strawberries are the top crop.
World-recognized and internationally respected labor leader Cesar Chavez, the founder of the United Field Workers Union (UFW) also called Oxnard his home for a while when he lived in Oxnard’s La Colonia neighborhood, He lived in the city during the time when his leadership as a proponent for farm worker’s rights was sprouting and budding. Chavez was a good friend and was omnipresent during Robert F. Kennedy’s 1968 presidential campaign tour throughout Ventura County and Oxnard. His campaign’s motorcade wound its way through the streets of La Colonia neighborhood, then- and still- consisting primarily of Latinos and African Americans. Approximately eight days later, Kennedy was sadly assassinated at the Ambassador Hotel in Los Angeles.
Strawberries are resplendent along these parts. Fields abound by the red, sweet and sumptuous fruit which are consumed locally and shipped throughout the country and all over the world. In fact, on May 18-19, 2019 the city of Oxnard will hold its 36th annual Strawberry Festival. This festival attracts tens of thousands of locals and people throughout Southern California (and other states) for the two day festivity celebrating the fruit. Vendors sell the fruit by the thousands in boxes, pies, margaritas and various other concoctions in which the fruit is celebrated. There are also many attractions for children including petting zoos and rides. The festival also hosts two days of continuous live music at different stages.
Approximately two months later in mid-July, Oxnard will also host its well-known Salsa Festival. The event is scheduled for July 27-28. This will be the 26th year the city has celebrated both Salsa music and the condiment. Just like the Strawberry Festival, the two day Salsa Festival also attracts tens of thousands of visitors locally and from all walks of Southern California. The festival offers two consecutive days and nights of salsa dancing with live bands performing from all over the United States, Latin American and Caribbean countries. There’s also a salsa-tasting contest with hundred of people participating. Kids zones provide dozens of rides and attractions for the younger attendees and many vendors, selling everything from hats to hot dogs, are abundant. In fact, the Salsa Festival is so well-known in Southern California, it was featured as a question on the nationally-popular game show Jeopardy (I happened to be watching that particular episode that night. Alex Trebek attempted to stump the contestants by asking the name of the well-known Southern California festival which features the dance and the condiment. One contestant got it right).
As mentioned earlier, Oxnard sits adjacent to the Pacific Ocean. There are three well-known beaches surrounding her from the west: Silverstrand, Hollywood and Oxnard Shores Beaches. Swimmers, surfers, boaters, body surfers, joggers, dogs and kayakers have enjoyed the beaches for generations. Many Hollywood celebrities over time have lived or had weekend houses at our pristine beaches. Including, but not limited to, Sonny & Cher, Pat Sajak from Wheel of Fortune fame, Dave Grohl from the Foo Fighters, Clark Gable, George Kennedy from my favorite flick, “Cool Hand Luke” to name a few.
Because of our proximity to the ocean, our harbors are filled with thousands of private and commercial boats and yachts. The fishing industry, just like the agricultural industry around Oxnard, thrives. And it has for many generations. One can book reservations and jump aboard many local commercial fishing vessels for one quarter, half day, full day or over night fishing expeditions along our pristine shores. The fish you catch will be expertly filleted by staff and placed in bags for the fisher person in you to take home and enjoy. Or, perhaps, one simply wants to enjoy time on a boat with family or friends. Instead of flicking a fishing line into the sea, they might prefer the peace and serenity of whale watching along our caost. Humpback and Blue whales annually migrate near our beaches and tour companies such as the Channel Islands Whales Watchers have taken thousands of people to experience the natural phenomenon.
Off our coast, a few miles out to sea, is the pristine Channel Islands National Park. This series of five islands can be visited by privately owned or ferry boats departing our harbor or that of our neighboring city, Ventura. The beautiful Channel Islands offer a unique opportunity to witness its protected marine life, animals, plants and archeological idiosyncrasies. Speaking of the Channel Islands, there have been many grassroots movements over the years by some to change the city’s name from Oxnard to Channel Islands. Those movements have repeatedly been shot down during local elections.
After a long day of exploring, one’s tummy may begin to rumble. And a rumbling stomach must be addressed and satisfied. Thus, the city’s culinary offerings must be mentioned and, ultimately, explored.
Fond of yummy, mouth-savoring Mexican food? There are countless offerings to be had. My personal favorites-and I know of which I speak- are Taqueria El Tapatio located along Ventura Road. My favorite spot for traditional, authentic and simply good burritos and tacos. Want to enjoy a full-blown Mexican meal? Cabo’s Mexican Restaurant at Five Points in town often hits the spot.
Do you consider yourself a connoisseur of sushi? This writer has had the fortune to have traveled to 44 states and 17 countries at last count. As such, I have pleased my palate repeatedly at many-a-great sushi joints. Yet very few have satisfied me as much and continuously as Hanada Sushi on Channel Islands boulevard. The chefs serves traditional Tokyo sushi. Translation? Don’t ask for extra wasabe and feel comfortable in showing up and allowing the chef to take you on a culinary delight.
Perhaps you’re in the mood for Thai? Our sister/border city Port Hueneme is the home of the Blue Elephant Thai Restaurant. Oh, man…everything on the menu is incredibly delicious. I personally recommend the savory soup which is Tom Kha Gai. This compilation of chicken, galanga root, lemon grass,mushroom, tomato, onion, coconut milk should blow your mind. It certainly has blown my mind repeatedly.
And then there’s traditional Chinese food. Hu Nan Garden is my favored spot. A clean restaurant coupled by a friendly staff with wonderfully delicious Chinese dishes. I lived in San Francisco for ten years and so I know and appreciate authentic Chinese food. Hu Nan Gardens can hang with many of the Chinese restaurants I visited for many years in San Francisco.
Fond of Vietnamese food? Ever had Pho? A rich, delicious concoction of delicious ingredients which make up this incredible soup. There’s a great restaurant east of us in our neighboring city name Camarillo. With her borders is a great Vietnamese restaurant named Basil N Mint. Try it…you’ll like it.
And finally after being a pseudo food critic one must mention pizza. I have enjoyed thin sliced mind blowing pizzas in New York, deep-dish pizza pies which will fill you with one or two slices in Chicago and mind-blowing pizza in Italy. Dang, I’ve experienced great pizza over time. I’m a pizza aficionado. As a man who has experienced great pizzas from previously stated regions, I can say that Toppers Pizza located in town is a respectable chain. Good pizza pies. And, with that, I shall henceforth refrain from being a foodie critic. Though I appreciate good food, I don’t have the where-with-all nor knowledge of being considered a guest panelist on a Food Network show.
I don’t employ exclamation points often. There was an episode of Seinfeld in which the character Elaine was chastised by her editor for using too many exclamation points. Rightly so! However, there is a time when exceptions to the rule must be employed. Such a time is such when one decides to lay down a few bucks to fly like a bird and go on a helicopter ride! Aspen Helicopter Tours is a local company which provides rides on their birds along our beautiful coast and near and over our mountain ranges. I’ve never soared within their flying apparatuses but someday I shall.
Recently, Oxnard gained national and international exposure and recognition. Well-know hip-hop artist, musician and record producer Anderson Paak, a native of Oxnard, named his latest album after his native town. During his latest national and international tour, he performed many songs from his recent release “Oxnard”. Paak, who often collaborates with Dr. Dre, recently was the guest musical performer on Saturday Night Live while he sang and played his drums alongside other musicians. Displayed proudly behind him as he performed on SNL was a banner with the name “Oxnard” imprinted within. There are countless other musicians and entertainers native to Oxnard. Perhaps they will be mentioned in a different article.
Besides the exposure provided by Paak, Oxnard also receives lots of attention nationally but particularly in Texas. Why? Because Oxnard has been the annual training camp of the National Football League’s Dallas Cowboys for many years. The team enjoys preparing for the NFL’s regular season by practicing in our region’s mild climate. Thousands of local, regional and fans from Texas make the trek each year to see their favorite football team practice in our city. It’s not unusual during that time to see our city engulfed in combinations of blue, silver and white clothing. Additionally, for many year, the then- Los Angeles Raiders also held their training camp in Oxnard. Unfortunately, when the team moved back to Oakland, California team ownership decided to hold their training camps in Northern California.
The city of Oxnard is also host to the Murphy Auto Museum. Located in an industrial park near our city’s southern border, this world-class collection of vintage automobiles is a fun excursion for the car-enthusiast. The collection consists of classic cars from 1903 on up. The museum is open most weekends to the public and host a variety of fun, family-oriented activities throughout the year. Should one decide to visit the Murphy, one shouldn’t be surprised to run into former television talk show host Jay Leno, who has been spotted there a few times over the years. Of course the Murphy isn’t the only museum in town. The Carnegie Art Museum, located in the heart of downtown, is a traditional art museum displaying the works of many genres of artists. The building and museum was founded by philanthropist Andrew Carnegie in 1907. Perhaps our newest “museum” is the Oxnard Historic Farm Park. This park was recently founded by an organization and supported by donations and volunteers to showcase the history of and the importance agriculture has played to our city and the region’s economies. Showcasing the history of farmers, workers, crops and equipment, the Farm Park is often opened on weekends and is a fun excursion for families. The park periodically holds fundraisers by providing well-planned and well-attended barbecues by live musical bands. When opened, it’s not unusual to see a taco truck parked outside the gates. Speaking of food trucks…
A couple of years ago, The City of Oxnard initiated “First Thursdays”. Located at Plaza Park in the heart of Downtown (steps from the previously mentioned Carnegie Art Museum), First Thursdays is an event which occurs on the first Thursday of each month. Food Trucks from throughout southern California (and some which have appeared on some Food Network shows) park around the perimeter of the plaza and sell their culinary concoctions to curious and hungry customers. It’s become quite a popular early evening attraction in the Downtown area benefiting both the owners of the food trucks, their customers and many small businesses in and around the Downtown area.
On the north side of town lays The Collection, a combination of approximately 80 well known retail stores, shops and restaurants. Some of the tenants of the popular shopping area included, but are not limited to the likes of Ben & Jerry’s Ice Cream, Five Guys Burgers & Fries, Gap, H&M, Kabuki Japanese Restaurant, Lazy Dog Restaurant & Bar, Levity Live Comedy Club & Dinner Theater (which consistently attracts and features some of the biggest names in comedy entertainment), Red Robin, Starbucks and The Cheesecake Factory. Additional shopping can be found approximately five miles up the 101 freeway in the neighboring city of Camarillo where the internationally well-known Camarillo Factory Outlet stores are located. This huge shopping area attracts hundreds of thousands (if not millions) of people annually. Some of the best known stores in retail can be found at the Outlets. Patronized by locals and who knows how many from other states, it’s not unusual to walk along it’s sidewalks and see people from all over the world shopping there. Ownership and management do a good job marketing the Outlets to travel companies and in on-board magazines and literature on planes flying into Los Angeles International Airport and Hollywood Burbank Airport. While strolling into its shops and along its sidewalks-especially on weekends- one can hear people speaking languages from their native Latin American, Asian, Middle Eastern, European, Scandinavian and other geographic locations throughout the globe.
And so, again, “What’s an Oxnard?”
It’s a city in Southern California with, granted, a relatively peculiar name…but one which offers a plethora of unique and fun things to see and experience. And a rich and interesting history.