A friend of mine recently said to me “girl you really do like exploring, you’re always out and about and I rarely travel more than 15 minutes from my house.” It wasn’t the first time someone had said those words to me. I recently joined Bumble BFF (it’s like Bumble for dating but instead you make friends) and when I tell my BFF prospects that I don’t mind traveling from my place in Long Beach to their homes in LA, they’re always so shocked that I’d be willing to get into my car and travel the 45 min it would take to hang out in their parts of town. But for me, I just think, why not? Los Angeles is an amazing place to live, filled with the coolest neighborhoods with restaurants, shops, and activities just waiting to be explored. I literally live in what I believe is one of the best place’s in the world, so why wouldn’t I take full advantage of every gem the city has to offer? So when I was approached to tour the Conejo Valley my immediate response after, “wait, where is the Conejo Valley?” Was, YES!
Bordered by the San Fernando Valley and Los Angeles, Conejo-drawing its name from the many rabbits you see hopping around the city, is home to Thousand Oaks, Newberry Park, Westlake Village, Oak Park, Aguora Hills , Lake Sherwood and portions of Calabasas. It is best known for its incredible hiking trails, reputation for safety, and stellar schools. It’s truly an up and coming Southern California gem, one that upon further research I couldn’t wait to acquaint myself with.
Armed with my trusty sidekick (my 18-year-old baby brother Noah) we started out super early on a warm Saturday morning, I’m talking 6:00 A.M. early for a hike along one of its prettiest trails.
The day promised to be a beautiful one and after researching all of the nearby hiking trails and their various levels of difficulty, we chose Malibu Lake for its promise of lake views and only 2 mile distance.
Our plan was to start out on the trail early in order to avoid the heat and to be done in time for brunch and check-in to our hotel. However, even the best laid plans rarely end up that way.
Barely into our hike we came across this sign at the entrance, and being the undercover Real Housewives fan that I am, I immediately thought about Yolanda Foster and her battle with Lyme disease and began to have doubts.
First of all, while eager we are still hiking novice’s, so we weren’t dressed properly (It’s best to wear long pants that don’t expose your skin to tick bites) or prepared (outside of our 2 bottles of water and my brothers walking stick) for that kind of commune with nature. This was real hikers territory and we didn’t even bring bug repellent to ward off mosquito’s. However, after a pep talk by me with phrases like “we didn’t come this far to turn back now” and “It’s only 2 miles, Gods got our back”, we went forward anyway… that is until we did a spot check and there was indeed a tick on my brothers socks. So much for hiking…
Luckily our hotel was a mere 10 miles from our hike.
The Best Western Thousand Oakswas situated perfectly near all of the other attractions on our Conejo adventure.
I have to admit, I wasn’t immediately thrilled to be staying at a Best Western. I’m more of a room service in bed after a cocktail at the lobby bar kind of girl, and my rate of stay depends on whether the hotel has these amenities and more. So being Ill-informed about Best Western properties, I wasn’t expecting the hotel to measure up.
The above sitting room reminded me of a warm and cozy lobby at a sky resort. It had books guests could read and comfy seats to read them in. The hotel was also connected to an Italian restaurant that offered a free Sunday morning breakfast to guests.
Much like the sitting room, our hotel room was just as cozy. It opened up to a pretty big balcony that bathed our room in the most beautiful morning light that next day.
While our hiking adventure didn’t exactly go as planned, I was super excited for our next adventure which pretty much involved food, and well those are the kinds of adventures I’m good at.
Noah is a super picky eater so finding something that he likes that doesn’t include a drive thru window is often difficult. But this kid sure does love his Korean BBQ, so after yelping which Korean BBQ spot would be the place to visit in Conejo, janchi was not only the closest (hello 2 mile drive) but the one with the highest rating.
Our server was warm, friendly and thoroughly explained the menu with ease (which if you’ve been to Korean BBQ those menu’s can be hard to understand) and the food was both fresh and delicious! If you don’t follow me on Insta Story you missed me having a conniption over my first taste of kimchi, and that was kind of how I reacted to most of the dishes they brought out to us that night.
To pass the time before our movie we made use of the outdoor fire pits that were scattered around the shopping center where we people watched and drank coffee.
After a full night we came back to our comfy cozy room and crashed.
The next day began with brunch at Cici’s Cafe in Westlake Village. The restaurant was named one of the Top 10 Breakfast spots in San Fernando, and with good cause. Aside from having a vast range of mimosa’s (hello “Bloody Bellini”) they also have a massive menu filled with the most creative pancake, waffles and omelette’s you’ll ever eat! I went with the Strawberry Velvet pancakes- fluffy red velvet pancakes topped with strawberry coulis, fresh strawberries & whipped cream. They were simply to die! I didn’t take the time to take a picture because I scarfed them down so quickly.
The big item on the agenda for Sunday was The Ronald Reagan Presidential Library.
While I don’t share the politics of the Reagan administration I was awed by the beauty and the history of the library.
The Reagan family were very gracious to share their heirlooms and stories and the collection was fascinating. Some highlights from my visit were…
The beautiful grounds the library sits on.
The Ronald Reagan Presidential Library sits above the hills in the city of Simi Valley and has some of the most breathtaking views the city has to offer.
The full-scale replica of the oval office was another fascinating part of the library. President Reagan, inspired by the West, added earthy colors, western art including a collection of bronze saddles, and, a jar of jelly bellies for his desk, which would be an item I’d see sprinkled throughout the rest of my visit.
I learned that President Reagan’s desk was made from the H.M.S. Resolute, which was an abandoned British ship discovered by an American vessel and returned to the Queen of England as a token of friendship and goodwill. Now it is known as the Resolute Desk, and has been used by every president since Hayes, with the exception of Presidents Johnson, Nixon and Ford.
If you look closely, you can see that the wooden base appears altered. This is because President Reagan added the 2” base to the desk to accommodate his 6’2” frame and keep the desk drawers from hitting his knees.
Known for being one of the most stylish and impeccably (albeit expensively) dressed First Ladies, Nancy Reagan also has gowns and suits from various monumental moments throughout her tenure at the White House on display.
The Christmas spirit was alive at the library and I truly enjoyed the special exhibit “An American Christmas”, which featured 25 trees decorated to celebrate defining moments of American History. The above were my favorites!
Is any trip to a Presidential Library complete without a speech on the Washington Monument?
My favorite part of library was the tour through Air Force One.
Not a replica but the EXACT plane that served 7 U.S. Presidents from 1973 – 2001, this plane was the place where Reagan wrote many of his speeches, signed important legislation, and held many important meetings and celebrated many important moments.
As if that weren’t enough of a history lesson, the library also has a special Titanic exhibit on display for the next month.
Combining real artifacts with the real stories of the people on board the ship, this new exhibit tells the story of the Titanic in a way no museum has done before. Artifacts from passengers, dispersed over time, are reunited for the first time in over 100 years.
The 10,000 square foot exhibition, not only reunited hundreds of Titanic artifacts that had not been together since the ship’s fateful night in 1912 with material and artifacts from the 1985 discovery of the Titanic but it also had items from 1997 movie.
I had such a wonderful time visiting the Conejo Valley, it really proved to me that I don’t have to venture far from my own backyard to for new adventures. Special thank you to the city of Conejo for sponsoring this trip.
So party people, what would you be interested in doing if you were to visit the Conejo Valley? I would love to know in the comments below!