My church had a women's retreat two weeks ago at the Marriott hotel in Ventura. It was a great weekend getaway trip to refresh my soul, my spirit, and my mind. I learned much about Ventura and discovered interesting places along the way.
Since our hotel was right on the beach, after checking into the hotel, my Bible study group leader, her friends, and I went to the marina to have some seafood for dinner. This restaurant had a mini museum in the waiting area displaying old photographs and a map of Ventura. It was pretty neat to see.
I gorged on a seafood platter.
We had a great first message that evening. The next day (Saturday) after the morning message, we had a few hours of free time. My roommate, two other ladies, and I went to downtown Ventura to get some lunch. We discovered there is a Cajun restaurant called Cajun Kitchen Cafe. We were all thinking "Cajun food in Ventura???" and decided to give it a try. I had their seafood gumbo with a side of homemade cornbread. It was delicious! We were all pleasantly surprised.
After lunch, we went back to the hotel to have some quiet time alone before the evening message. I saw this beautiful bird when I tried walking down to the beach. I eventually turned around because it was so windy that day (after a rainstorm on Friday) and the sand was slicing my face.
I decided to head back to downtown Ventura because I saw several interesting buildings while walking around during lunch hour. I found out there is a Mission.
The San Buenaventura Mission. Founded in 1782.
There was even a Chinatown in 1866. We are everywhere, I tell ya!
I was hoping to visit the Ventura County Museum to learn more about the history of this town, but it was closed for a wedding.
There is an archeological site right next to the Mission, but it was closed that day.
The main street that runs through downtown Ventura.
I went inside the Mission next. It has a peaceful garden inside.
It smelled old inside.
Behind the Mission was this shed. This was the first water reservoir that the settlers built.
The Ventura city hall is a handsome building.
After visiting the downtown area, I decided to go to the pier.
This is one very long pier! I learned that this is the longest wooden pier in California.
I walked all the way to the end of the pier. You can see Channel Islands in the distance.
As I mentioned, it was very windy that day. At times I felt like I was going to be blown away and that my little phone was going to be blown into the ocean. When I stood at the end of the pier all alone, with the wind and raging sea around me, it was hard not to feel the mighty force of nature. We humans naturally feel fearful when we are in the midst of fierce weather because it reminds us how weak and small we really are. However, while standing on that pier, I remembered the message from the night before, which was the story about Jesus calming the storm and the ocean while He traveled with His disciples across the Sea of Galilee. He was asleep in the boat when the storm hit. His disciples woke Him up in a panic. Jesus stood up and said to the storm, "Peace! Be still!" and the storm stopped. As I was feeling the force of nature, I pondered on "Peace! Be still!" in my heart. I immediately felt peaceful knowing that God was with me. He is the captain of my little boat, and I fear nothing. It was a precious moment that I will never forget.
Looking back at Ventura from the end of the pier.
After the retreat ended on Sunday, I decided to check out the Camarillo Outlet on the way back. I saw a restaurant along the freeway before the exit called Lure Fish House and decided to have lunch there. I found out this restaurant has only been opened for 1.5 years. I sat at the oyster bar and indulged in more amazing seafood before walking them off at the outlet nearby.
They had the happy hour menu running on Sunday (can't beat that!) and ordered off of it. First up was the crab cakes. They did not disappoint.
Next, a sea bass taco that was mouthwatering.
The ahi tuna ceviche martini was so fresh with great presentation.
But the star of the show was these charbroiled oysters. They were CRAZY GOOD! I've only had oysters raw or deep fried; I've never had them charbroiled like this. It was the most amazing oysters I've ever had. I will never eat oysters the same way!
I spoke with the manager there and suggested that they open a location in the Los Angeles area. These charbroiled oysters are addictive!
All in all, this was a great weekend trip. My faith was renewed, I discovered new things about a town I have driven past so many times, and my tummy was fed with delicious seafood food. I can't wait for next year's retreat!
See the entire photo album here: http://www.flickr.com/photos/purplejoy/sets/72157629471147112/