Editor's Note

Winter Light

By Nancy D. Lackey Shaffer

Photo by Chuck Graham


hereís a cold wind blowing and lots of rain coming down as I type out this Editorís Note, and that chill in the air is helping to put me in the holiday spirit. One of the charms of Ventura County, of course, is its extraordinary weather, and while it seems churlish to bemoan warm temperatures and lots of sunshine, the novelty of a storm has me downright giddy. Itís nice to put together a December issue when it actually feels like . . . well, winter.

With that in mind, this monthís issue is filled with stories that celebrate the season ó both the time of year, and the events that have come to define it.

When the chill sets in, I find myself heading into the kitchen to rediscover my love of cooking. Thereís nothing better than a hot bowl of soup or a mug of cocoa on a cold winterís night, and for once, I donít mind turning on the oven. With that in mind, we asked chefs around the county to share their favorite recipes for comfort foods, hot beverages and spicy treats ó fare designed to warm you up from the inside out. Delicious, nutritious and easy to prepare, we think the offerings in our Cook This feature will be welcome on any table throughout the cold months.

Of course,ítis also the season for holiday festivities. And no city is more festive this time of year than Ventura. Making the most of its seaside location, it offers holiday merriment and sparkle with a beachy twist: Santa on a paddleboard, a light parade on the water, carolers singing aboard boats in the harbor. Head downtown for the Candy Cane Forest and special events in Plaza Park. With unique vendors across the city, itís fun and easy to support the local economy. Ventura is full of light and life in December, and we showcase all its special facets in this monthís cover story.

If wanderlust has you craving adventure more than the comforts of home, take a look at our latest Travel feature. Up a long, winding highway north of Ojai and nestled between the Caliente and Temblor Ranges is the Carrizo Plain, Californiaís largest single native grassland. Remote and unspoiled, a haven for Tule elk and numerous other wildlife species and home also to pictographs thousands of years old, it is a reminder of a California that existed hundreds of years ago. In winter, it takes on a lonely mystique, cold, clear and remarkably quiet: the ideal location for a silent night.

Hot food for cold winter nights. A sparkling seaside community. A land wrapped in silence beneath a star-studded sky. These are the gifts we offer our readers this month. May they bring with them warmth and good cheer to light up the holiday season, and beyond.


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