Earlier this week I decided to perused my Westways magazine, provided by AAA, as I sat in one of Burbank‘s local frequented restaurants. Usually the free rag that turns up each month in my mailbox gets the slightest of glances before I relegate it to the recycle bin but this time I decided to toss it into the backseat of my car. I had thought that I might have some moments of down time that might allow me to actually read it. I was glad I did. As I was waiting for my dinner to arrive via the slow boat from China, I came across a local garden spot I had neither been to nor even heard of. It was Gardens of the World in Thousand Oaks, 2001 Thousand Oaks Blvd. I dog-eared the page when my over cooked snapper arrived, which I disappointedly hacked apart with a knife before I buried it in mashed potatoes. So, don’t order the Red Snapper at Lancers, have a T-Bone instead, (I know that it’s decent).
When I got home, I checked out the gardens on-line to get a little more information. The first word that caught my eye was FREE, though it was in very small print. “GREAT!”, I thought. “Fits my budget perfectly.” So after a pleading phone message left for my BF, I made tentative plans for an outing on my next day off.
Despite the fact that the temperature was in the triple digits, I needed this mini-road trip as did my friend. So with Linda in tow we headed out, hopped on the 134 to the 101 frwy pointed towards Ventura. Exiting on Hampshire Road, right to Thousand Oaks Blvd we found the garden’s entrance just past Conejo School Road. In fact, I passed it up the first time and had to come back around. The parking is almost non-existent so park where you can. We found a strip-mall down the street that didn’t have any threatening tow signs.
It was well worth the drive. 4 Acres of beautifully manicured grounds and gorgeous water features at every turn. It didn’t matter that it was September and most of the flowers had passed their bloom, the lay out of the gardens, the culturally influenced designs, the structures were still a pleasure to view. I wish we had discovered the brochure that explained the more detailed elements of the gardens at the beginning of our unassisted tour instead of at the end as we were leaving. For some reason it had been placed off to the left of the entrance. Hummm? (Here is where I shrug my shoulders at the logic in that.) Linda read it to me later making me want even more to pay another visit to the gardens in early spring.
I do have one legitimate complaint about Gardens of the World. That would be the annoying signs posted everywhere, Don’t Walk On The Grass. “Are you kidding me?” It’s like telling a kid in a pool not to splash.
Once we’d returned to the car, my first thought
was to head over to the beach. My BF, her thoughts returned to all the pressing things on her plate, was looking more towards home. So I said, “OK. But, were going back another way.”
(Hee, heee…Yes, my precious, the long way home. Muhaaaaa….)
I continued down Thousand Oaks Blvd and jumped on the 23 towards Filmore. The freeway doesn’t run for long before it directs you off onto the surface streets and you had better keep your eyes on the signs or you’ll miss the turn that takes you through the back side of Moorepark. (I love two lane roads that seemingly go no where.)
Now it was Linner-Time and I was hungry so I pulled onto a golf course out in the middle of farm country. Having had a couple of good dinning experiences at Del Bell in Burbank, I wanted to try out this restaurant. It was more akin to a fry shack, smelling of grease, so we scratched that idea. However, as we were politely but quickly heading for the front door, the four employees manning the deserted establishment did invite us back to hear the live band playing there on friday night. I didn’t have the heart to tell them, probably not.
After picking up a few vine ripened items from one of the produce stands, we searched for a suitable place to eat. We found it in the historical section of Filmore. (It was all of two blocks and sported a closed theater, an antique store and a couple of restaurants, one of which was a bar and grill named Central Station. EUREKA! We’ve struck gold!
I loved the place. Great service from the bartender/waiter who went so far as to google the ingredients of the BBQ sauce on the Pork Rib Tips to check for any gluten. (Yup, the plague of the new millennium, Celiac Disease. An allergy to wheat and barley. Key ingredients in everything tasty.) Linda could only rave about her tri-tip stuffed sandwich.
So that’s it, folks. From there, it was a leisurely drive home. Took the four lane 126 East to the 5 South and made it home before dark. The trip only took about $13.00 in gas, our meal with drinks was another $22.00 and change. A lovely day in good company, I’ll definitely do it again.
Until next week, K.L. Parry