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NEIGHBORHOODS: OLD TOWN NEWHALL

Where boutiques and buffalo mingle

October 27, 2009|Christine N. Ziemba

For years, Old Town Newhall in Santa Clarita has been wrangling with an identity crisis. Its history is entwined in the Wild West -- oil, gold and ranching -- but the city of Santa Clarita is redeveloping, encouraging the proliferation of new bicycle shops and boutiques on Main Street (also known as San Fernando Road) and hoping to turn the area into an arts and entertainment district.

Just a few weeks back, Santa Clarita's Festival of Arts ( www.streetartfest.com) took over the area, strong evidence of a new direction.

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Eating hearty

The Way Station (24377 Main St., [661] 255-0222) is a greasy spoon that's been around for more than 40 years. The Kris Special, a favorite dish, will challenge any cholesterol meds: eggs, bacon or sausage and English muffin covered in gravy with hash browns. Jazmin's Bakery/Panaderia (24330 Main St., [661] 799-2915) serves up fresh tamales and Mexican pastries like conchas. El Trocadero Steakhouse (24274 Main St., [661] 284-6615, www.eltrocaderosteakhouse .com) specializes in Sonoran cuisine.

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Kitchen lit

Cookbooks Plus (24267 Main St., [661] 296-4455, www .cookbooksplus.com) is a new and used bookstore with more than 17,000 volumes in stock on cooking, food and home and garden.

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Broadway on Main

Main Street boasts two theaters: The Repertory East Playhouse (24266 Main St. [661] 288-0000, www.repeast playhouse.org) currently has Sherlock Holmes' "The Hound of the Baskervilles" on stage, while the Canyon Theatre Guild (24242 Main St., [661] 799-2700, www.canyontheatre .org) has Kopit and Yeston's "Phantom" in production.

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Hollywood cowboy

One street over is the William S. Hart Ranch and Museum (24151 Newhall Ave., [661] 254-4584, www.hartmuseum .org), the former residence of silent film cowboy star and director Hart. The western-themed museum holds art by Charles Russell, Joe De Young and Frederic Remington and sits atop a hill overlooking the 265-acre park. There are still quite a few animals on-site, including a few buffalo that are descendants of an original herd given as a gift from Walt Disney Studios.

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