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NEIGHBORHOODS / SANTA PAULA

Santa Paula: Citrusy and full of history

Orange and lemon groves surround the onetime Old California outpost located about 65 miles northwest of Los Angeles.

February 03, 2009|Amy Orozco

Santa Paula is the place for location shots when the script dictates "the Golden State." About 65 miles northwest of Los Angeles, the self-proclaimed "Citrus Capital of the World" is surrounded by lemon and orange groves with a lot of avocado orchards too. The downtown is dressed up with a remarkable series of eight murals depicting the town's story, from the Chumash Indians to Latino culture influences, agriculture, and transportation, all organized as a self-guided walking tour ([805] 525-2824, www.santapaulamurals.org).

History on the move

The Santa Paula Train Depot and Railroad Plaza Park (200 N. 10th St., [805] 933-4226, www.discoversantapaula. com) dates from 1887 and is a stop along the Fillmore & Western Railway ([800] 773-8724, www.fwry.com). Limoneria Co. takes to the skies with hot-air balloon tours over the fertile Santa Clara Valley (1141 Cummings Road, [805] 525-5541, www.limoneria.com).

he California Oil Museum (1001 E. Main St., [805] 933-0076, www.oilmuseum.net) and the Aviation Museum (south of Highway 126 between 10th and Palm streets, [805] 525-1109, www.amszp.org) reflect the city's longtime role in these two California industries.

Mixing past, present

Night life flourishes at the Santa Paula Theater Center, housed in the Ebell Club building, a National Register historic site (125 S. 7th St., [805] 525-4645, www.santapaula theatercenter.org). There are 31 historic sites in Santa Paula and, thanks to the town's oil-rich past, many are opulent in design and architecture.

A few dining options

With its wide window on Main Street, the no-muss, no-fuss Vince's Coffee Shop splits its menu between American and Mexican favorites (827 E. Main St., [805] 525-0314). Decidedly cowboy in theme and family-friendly in atmosphere, the Iron Horse Restaurant & Lounge offers some surprises in its beef-centric menu -- tofu, anyone? (134 N. Mill St., [805] 933-3534, www.IronhorseSP. com). The restaurant is located on the grounds of stately Glen Tavern Inn, built in 1911 and well worth a stroll.

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