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ORANGE COUNTY CALENDAR: ARTS, ENTERTAINMENT, LEISURE

Seems Like Old Times

At the Kellogg House, kids can learn how people lived at the turn of the century--the last century.

March 11, 2001|DENNIS ARP | SPECIAL TO THE TIMES

This is the house that Hiram built. It's also the house children love, if the three bounding up the spiral staircase on a recent Sunday are any indication.

The kids coo in mock baby voices as they play with tiny dollhouse figures in the children's playroom; they giggle as they try on oversized Victorian clothing in the master bedroom; they grit their teeth as they struggle to wring out clothing on the back porch, pretending it's a 19th century wash day.

It seems the hands-on Kellogg House is a hands-down hit with those for whom "turn of the century" now means more than just memories of staying up way past bedtime on New Year's Eve 1999.

And the house-turned-museum isn't the only discovery on Fairview Street in Santa Ana. The finds at Stitches Cottage vintage boutique are hardly historic, but they are fun to uncover. As are the chiles smothered in cheese in the enchiladas at Anita's New Mexican Style Cafe.

No wonder they call this stretch of Fairview the "Land of Enchantment." OK, so no one really calls it that, but hey, maybe they should.

The Age of Exploration

Hiram Clay Kellogg wasn't around to see his house moved to the corner of Fairview and Harvard streets. However, he was a local mover and shaker in the late 19th and early 20th centuries.

He was the first city engineer of Santa Ana, he designed the towns of Lake Elsinore and Corona, and he built the railroad that ran from San Bernardino to Riverside. In 1898, he designed and built this Victorian on Orange Avenue in Santa Ana--home for himself, his wife, Helen, and their four children.

The house was spared from demolition in 1980, when it was moved to its current spot, 3101 W. Harvard St., where it is the centerpiece of the Discovery Museum of Orange County.

The museum features gardens and citrus groves, a blacksmith shop, a gazebo, a nature trail and the Magg ranch house, which still awaits restoration. But the main attraction is the Kellogg home.

Because of Hiram's love of all things nautical, the dining room is oval, giving it the look and feel of a ship's wheelhouse.

The house is decorated with antiques of the period, including an Edison talking machine, a Victrola, a stereoscope viewer and a pump organ in the parlor.

Kids are fascinated by the 19th-century devices, said Sally Bach, the museum's executive director. "Some of them look at our phonograph and say, 'What's that?' " she said. "Now the crank telephone? I can see that being a mystery. But a phonograph? It really makes you feel old."

Young visitors are allowed to touch and explore, even to pick an orange from the grove.

"We're dedicated to the cultural history of Orange County, and part of that is showing what it was like to be a child before TV, before the Internet," Bach said.

The Discovery Museum of Orange County is open 1 to 5 p.m. Wednesdays through Fridays; 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Sundays. Admission is $5. Call (714) 540-0404 for more information.

A Taste of Taos

A navel orange from the museum grounds may be sweet and juicy, but it's hardly a meal. Thank goodness just a block south on Fairview, at the corner of Warner Avenue, is Anita's, 2401 S. Fairview St., (714) 751-1040.

At first glance, Anita's menu seems like typical Mexican fare: taquitos, tamales, enchiladas, fajitas. What makes the food special is what's inside--and sometimes on top.

It's all about the chiles, said Ryan Tellez, who manages Anita's in Fullerton and helps out at Anita's in Santa Ana. His parents, Mike and Lori Tellez, own the two restaurants, and his grandmother is the namesake.

"We get all our red and green chiles from New Mexico, and that makes the difference," Ryan Tellez said. "The climate, the altitude, the soil make for a distinctive flavor."

Try the carne adobada ($8.45). The chunks of pork are tender and spicy after marinating for 24 hours in red chile. Or opt for the Stuffy Dinner: a large sopaipilla (New Mexican fried puffed pastry) stuffed with pork, topped with melted cheese and covered with green chile ($7.65).

Anita's is open 6:30 a.m. to 9:30 p.m. daily.

Second-hand Chic

Continue south on Fairview and you'll get closer to South Coast Plaza. But it'll feel like you're getting farther away if you stop at Stitches Cottage, 2901 W. MacArthur Blvd. (at the corner of Fairview), (714) 429-9080.

Stitches is more like a garage sale than it is a mall store. You never know what you'll find, and you might have to dig to unearth things.

Among the intriguing items on a recent Saturday afternoon were a like-new suede coat with a faux-fur collar for $8, a 4-foot-tall wrought-iron bird cage and a well-worn solid oak ship's wheel. Neither the bird cage nor the ship's wheel was marked, which points up half the fun of shopping at Stitches. You can't be afraid to name your price.

"Things come in and go out pretty fast, so we really don't have a chance to price things," store manager Beth Kelley said.

There are some guidelines. Women's fancy dresses are $8, not-so-fancy $5. Men's suits are $10. A local company donated 1,200 vases of silk roses it had been offering for $20. Stitches sells them for $3.

The store's proceeds benefit Hope for the Children, a nonprofit Christian organization that sends food, clothing and medicine to kids around the world, and Operation: Stitches, an evangelical outreach program for inner-city youngsters.

Stitches Cottage is open 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Tuesdays through Fridays; 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturdays.

DISCOVER ORANGE COUNTY / IF YOU GO

* Getting There

To reach the Discovery Museum of Orange County, take the San Diego Freeway, exit at Fairview Street and go north. Turn left on Harvard Street.

* Bunny Stuff

Children can listen to stories, learn crafts, play games and participate in the Peter Rabbit Egg Hunt on April 14 at the museum. The cost is $8 ($6 for museum members), and festivities begin at 1 p.m. Reservations are recommended. Call (714) 850-9452.

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