by Judi Uthus
Continuing our summer staycation series, July is the month for enjoying fireworks, barbecues and balmy nights. Agoura Hills has a lot going on throughout the month, including Independence Day weekend, for keeping summertime living easy, fun and affordable. The scenic beauty of the Santa Monica Mountains is the ideal setting for outdoor recreation, al fresco dining or mini escapes for unwinding.
Why spend the holiday weekend behind the wheel scrambling for a parking space? Agoura Hills has made all the arrangements for having a spectacular holiday–take a charted, luxury bus to great seats at the famous Hollywood Bowl for a night with Steve Martin and the Steep Canyon Rangers featuring Edie Brickell followed by fireworks. You can bring your picnic or purchase food at the Bowl. Tickets are $69 per person and can be purchased at the Recreation Center or online at 91301.org. If you’re too busy barbecuing on the fourth, head to Chumash Park on July 6 for a fireworks spectacular highlighting a night of Elvis hits at the Concerts in Park; a tribute to Elvis. Visit 91301.org for more info.
Make it the summer of Elvis by enjoying another balmy evening under the stars with the King’s debut movie Love Me Tender at the Reyes Adobe Historical Site. Guest speaker Allyson Adams, daughter of actor Nick Adams, will discuss her father’s memoir, The Rebel and The King about his close friendship with Elvis Presley. The 1956 film was filmed in Malibu Creek State Park. Picnics are welcome. The talk begins at 7 p.m. with the movie starting at dusk. For more information, call 818-597-7361 or visit www.91301.org
Did you know your own back yard is filled with national parks? Referred to as the “Yosemite of Southern California,” the Santa Monica Mountains range is one of the most special places in the world, a rare Mediterranean biome of woodsy areas, riparian habitat and breathtaking vistas. Visit the Santa Monica Mountains National Recreation Area’s King Gillette Visitor’s Center in Calabasas to learn about local plants, wildlife and conservation through interactive exhibits. Pick up brochures where you can spend the summer exploring Native American villages, western movie sets, tide pools and panoramic views all within a short drive of home. Go to 26800 West Mulholland Highway (just east of Malibu Canyon) in Calabasas, call 818-878-0866 or visit lamountains.com/parks.asparkid=670.
For gourmet barbecu, let the Old Place put a fresh steak or veggies on the oak fire grill while you savor the history inside this legendary road house at 29983 Mulholland Highway. (Call 818-706-9001 or visit oldplacecornell.com). If there’s a wait, sample local wine and art next door at the rustically elegant Cornell Winery & Tasting Room. Across the street is Peter Strauss Ranch (a national park) where you can explore the woodsy setting around the actor’s home.
Dine al fresco at one of the many local establishments featuring patios ideal for sunset viewing. For sipping craft brews and sampling small plates, try Ladyface Ale Companie, 29281 Agoura Road. (818-477-4566; ladyfaceale.com). The Adobe Cantina, at 29100 Agoura Rd., is like taking a trip south of the border with authentic Mexican food served in a festive open air garden (818-991-3474; adobecantinaagoura.com).
Treat yourself to a staycation souvenir at Agoura Hills Antique Mart with over 40 stalls in a 9000-square-foot emporium selling new and vintage antiques, collectibles, and trendy curiosities. The Mart has been reviewed as one of the best antique shopping experiences in Los Angeles and a designer’s paradise. Celebrity spottings happen here, too! The Antique Mart is in Whizin’s Market Square at 28863 Agoura Road. (818-706-8366; agouraantiquemart.com).