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The Best of California: The Reagan Library to the Channel Islands

Program Number: 14491RJ
Start and End Dates:
8/10/2014 - 8/15/2014; 2/21/2016 - 2/26/2016; 5/22/2016 - 5/27/2016; 7/10/2016 - 7/15/2016; 8/7/2016 - 8/12/2016; 9/25/2016 - 9/30/2016;
Duration: 5 nights
Location: Ventura, California
Price starting at: $849.00 - Price may vary based on date, departure city
Program Type: History & Culture Activity Level: t (see description)
Meals: 13; 5 Breakfasts, 3 Lunches, 5 Dinners    
Meal Options: Vegetarian    

Experience California’s diverse cultural and natural wonders. View J. Paul Getty’s extensive art collection at the J. Paul Getty Museum, go hiking on the Channel Islands and sit in the peaceful courtyards at the historic missions of Santa Barbara and Ventura. Insights gained through lectures and visits will give you a full picture of California culture.


• Learn about the history of the Santa Barbara and Ventura missions during docent-led explorations of these landmarks.
• Board Air Force One at the Reagan Presidential Library and Museum.
• Enjoy a leisurely hike on one of the islands that is part of the Channel Island National Park.

Activity Particulars

While on the Channel Islands, walk up to one mile on mostly flat, paved terrain; stand for two hours.

Coordinated by Road Scholar.


A classic California beach community with surfers, art galleries, white-sand beaches and warm breezes, Ventura is situated between Los Angeles and Santa Barbara near the region's museums, historic missions and coastal wonders.

Beachfront property with balcony rooms and ocean views, steps from the historic downtown and pier.

Road Scholar Instructors
These instructors are participating on at least one date of this program. Please note that changes may occur.
Donna Granata

Donna Granata is a painter-turned-photographer whose award-winning works have been displayed throughout California and in shows in New York, Chicago and Las Vegas. She founded “Focus on the Masters,” a project that documents contemporary artists and informs the public through exhibitions, lecture series, video biographies and educational outreach. Her FOTM portraits are housed in institutions including the Smithsonian’s Archive of American Artists and the George Eastman House in Rochester, N.Y.
John Pendleton

A social, cultural and political historian, John teaches at Ventura College and Cal State University at Channel Islands. John has lectured for Road Scholar since 1990, and has taught courses related to Presidential political history and modern cultural history. He has worked with PBS as both a consultant and participant for a six-part series on Eisenhower, a documentary on “The War Years,” and the series, “They Made America.” John is co-author of “Popular Culture: Mirror of American Life.”
Joy Podger

A Canadian by birth, Joy Podger has lived in Santa Barbara since 1934, and is one of its most enduring and popular interpreters and lay historians. Joy has filled her life with volunteer activities since retiring from a long career in education during which she taught at both the elementary and high school levels. She is a docent at the Santa Barbara Courthouse, Presidio and Santa Barbara Mission, and has been described in the local media as a “Santa Barbara treasure.”
Richard Senate

Richard Senate is a Los Angeles native who grew up in the Conejo Valley of Ventura County. A longtime City of Ventura historian, Richard’s life took a turn in 1978 when, as part of a team of archaeologists working at a historic mission on the Central Coast, he encountered a ghostly monk. This profound experience led him to the study of psychic phenomena. Richard has since visited nearly 250 haunted sites and his investigations include studios, theaters and mansions in and around Los Angeles.
Margery Spielman

Margery Spielman is an internationally recognized environmental and marine artist, lecturer, naturalist and professional diver. An oceanography and scuba instructor, she is also a member of the Screen Actors Guild and has worked underwater on numerous films. Her freelance assignments for the Cousteau Society have included research logistics, diving, speaking and illustrating. Described as a visionary realist, she exhibits her watercolor paintings in major marine art expos from Hawaii to Paris.
Meals and Lodgings
   Crowne Plaza Ventura Beach
  Ventura, CA 5 nights
 Crowne Plaza Ventura Beach
Type: Full Service Hotel
  Description: Delight in the year-round sunshine of Ventura, California with its miles of clean, uncrowded beaches, spectacular mountainous back country, and the magnificent Channel Islands National Park on the horizon. At the center of it all, right at the water's edge, stands the Crowne Plaza Ventura Beach Hotel. All of its guest rooms feature magnificent views of the Pacific Ocean and the mountainous curves of the California coastline. It is ideally situated within walking distance of historic downtown Ventura where you will find the San Buenaventura Mission, museums, antique stores, a wide variety of restaurants, bookstores, cafes, clothing shops, and art galleries.
  Contact info: 450 E. Harbor Blvd.
Ventura, CA 93001 USA
phone: 805-648-2100
  Room amenities: All rooms are equipped with Crowne Plaza "Sleep Advantage" bedding; coffee maker; iron/board; hair dryer; high-speed Internet access; 27" TVs; ocean-view balconies; in-room movies. All rooms are non-smoking.
  Facility amenities: The ocean-front Crowne Plaza Ventura Beach is a 12-story tower with balcony rooms, all with ocean views. There's a great walking path next to the hotel which stretches for miles up and down the coast. Guests enjoy a host of amenities including convenient parking; restaurants with outdoor patio dining; lobby lounge with ocean-front patio seating; room service; heated ocean-front swimming pool; exercise room; and laundry & dry cleaning with same-day service as well as a coin-op laundry. Wi-Fi Access: Road Scholar participants receive complimentary Wi-Fi Internet access as part of their package. The coverage includes all hotel guest rooms and public areas. Although there is no charge for this service, a password is required. This may be obtained from the front desk staff.
  Smoking allowed: No
  Elevators available: Yes
  Additional nights prior: Based upon availability Call Laura Moran at the Crowne Plaza Ventura Beach Hotel at (805) 652-5142 to make a reservation for additional nights before or after the program and to inquire about rates.
  Check in time: 4:00 PM
  Additional nights after: Based upon availability Call Laura Moran at the Crowne Plaza Ventura Beach Hotel at (805) 652-5142 to make a reservation for additional nights before or after the program and to inquire about rates.
  Check out time: 12:00 PM

Travel Details
  Start of Program:
Program registration is between 3:30-5:00PM in the hotel lobby. Orientation begins at 5:30PM followed by dinner at 6:00PM. Class on the California Missions begins after dinner. You will be staying at Crowne Plaza Ventura Beach that night.
  End of Program:
Please arrange your transportation so you can join us for the final activity which is a guided walk to the Ventura Mission. The group returns to the hotel about 11:00AM. You will be staying at Crowne Plaza Ventura Beach the night before.
  Required documents:
The Participant Information Form is required. On the enclosed Participant Information Form, please indicate to us the name of your roommate/traveling companion. Also let us know if you are traveling with other individuals and wish to be assigned a room near them. Photo ID
  Parking availability:
Complimentary parking is available in a lot adjacent to the hotel, but your parking pass needs to be validated at the front desk.
To Start of Program
  Location:  Ventura, CA
  Nearest city or town:  Santa Barbara
  Nearest highway: Highway 101 passes through Ventura
  Nearest airport:  Los Angeles International Airport
  From End of Program
  Location: Ventura, CA
    (Additional transportation information same as above)
Travel Details

Santa Barbara/ SBA to Ventura


From Airport




Commercial Van/Shuttle
Road Runner Shuttle
phone: 800-247-7919
Advanced Reservations Required


Per Person/One Way:


$75 per person one-way
Prices are subject to change.


Travel Time:


40-45 min from Santa Barbara Airport to the Crowne Plaza-Ventura Beach 




38 miles from Santa Barbara Airport to the Crowne Plaza-Ventura Beach


Call for current rates as prices are subject to change without notice. Advance reservations are required. Website: Roadrunner Shuttle local phone: 805-389-8196 Santa Barbara Airport website:


Los Angeles/LAX to Ventura


From Airport




Commercial Van/Shuttle
phone: 800-258-3826
Advanced Reservations Required


Per Person/One Way:


$76 p/p one-way; $9 each additional passenger
Prices are subject to change.


Travel Time:


1 hr 20 min, depending on traffic 




71 miles from LAX to Crowne Plaza Ventura Hotel


SuperShuttle is a primary shuttle service for LAX and operates continuously at the airport. Call for current rates and to arrange pick-up time. Price is subject to change. Advance reservations are required. Website: On Arrival at LAX: Claim your luggage, proceed outside & look for the shared ride van sign on the inside curb just outside of Baggage Claim. ALTERNATE VAN SERVICE: Prime Time Shuttle. For info and reservations, call 800-733-8267;


Burbank/Bob Hope Airport (BUR) to Ventura


From Train Station




Amtrak Pacific Surfliner
phone: 800-872-7245
Advanced Reservations Required


Per Person/One Way:


$21 one-way (Call for current price)
Prices are subject to change.


Travel Time:


Train ride is about 1.5 hours between Burbank and Ventura 




Around 65 miles from Burbank Airport to the hotel


Amtrak's Pacific Surfliner makes 4-5 stops/day between the Burbank-Bob Hope Airport Station and the Ventura Station, located near the Crowne Plaza Ventura Hotel. See notes for Ventura/Amtrak Station. The Burbank-Bob Hope Airport Station is located at 3750 Empire Ave., Burbank, CA 91505. The station is unstaffed. Tickets must be purchased in advance. Call Amtrak at 1-800-USA-RAIL (1-800-872-7245) or visit their website at for schedule and ticket information.


Los Angeles (LAX) to Ventura


From Airport




Commercial Van/Shuttle
Ventura Co. Airporter Shuttle
phone: 805-650-6600
Advanced Reservations Required


Per Person/One Way:


$35 P/P to drop-off point in Ventura; then taxi to Crowne Plaza @ $15
Prices are subject to change.


Travel Time:


1 hr 15 min to drop-off point + taxi ride (additional 20-25 min for wait time and ride) 




67 miles from LAX to Holiday Inn Express at Ventura Harbor


VCA Shuttle offers 8 daily trips to/from LAX and Ventura at a great price p/p. However, it drops off passengers at the Holiday Inn Express at Ventura Harbor, 3.5 miles from Crowne Plaza Hotel. From the drop-off point you need to call a taxi to get a ride to the Crowne Plaza. Call Yellow Taxi Cab at 805-659-6900 at $15 per ride. Advance reservations are required. For pickup times and current fare, call VCA Shuttle or visit their website at


Ventura/ Amtrak Station


From Train Station




Yellow Cab
phone: 805-437-7977


Per Person/One Way:


Minimum fare of $10 per ride one-way will be charged
Prices are subject to change.


Travel Time:


Under 2 minutes 




Amtrak Station is 0.3 miles from hotel


Amtrak (1-800-872-7245) provides transportation service to Ventura via the Pacific Surfliner route. The covered Amtrak platform is located outside Seaside Park (Ventura County Fairgrounds) at 20 W. Harbor Blvd. near Figueroa St. You may walk 4 blocks from the station to the hotel, or call a taxi. Amtrak website:

Driving Directions
  Northbound Highway 101 to Crowne Plaza Ventura Hotel Going north on Hwy 101, take the California St. exit. Turn left on California St. at the top of the exit ramp and go over the freeway. Turn right on Harbor Blvd. then immediately left into the hotel parking lot.
  Southbound Highway 101 to Crowne Plaza Ventura Hotel Going South on Hwy 101, take the Ventura Ave. exit. Turn right on Thompson Blvd. and continue for approximately 4 blocks to California St. Turn right on California St. and go over the freeway to Harbor Blvd. The Crowne Plaza Ventura Beach hotel will be directly ahead. Turn right onto Harbor Blvd. then immediately left into the hotel parking lot.
The prices listed for commercial services and facilities that are not included in the program cost, such as airport shuttles or extra nights lodging, are subject to change without notice. Since Road Scholar cannot guarantee the accuracy of these prices, we strongly suggest contacting the companies directly for the most up-to-date information.

Daily Schedule

Day 1: Independent Arrivals
(Sunday, August 10)
 Afternoon: HOTEL CHECK-IN: Check into Crowne Plaza Ventura Beach Hotel after 4:00PM.

PROGRAM REGISTRATION: After you have your room assignment, come over to the Road Scholar table to register with the program staff and pick up your arrival packet which we'll review during our orientation session before dinner.

ORIENTATION: Before dinner begins, we'll have an overview of the program ahead. We will review the up-to-date schedule, responsibilities, safety guidelines, emergency procedures and any other administrative issues, as well as answer your questions. Please be aware that local circumstances may require adjusting program elements. In the event of changes, we will notify you as quickly as possible. We appreciate your understanding.

Based on instructor availability and field trip logistics, we'll schedule daily lectures to complement that day's field trip destination. During the week, we'll visit the Santa Barbara and Ventura Missions, J. Paul Getty Museum in Los Angeles, Anacapa Island, and the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library. Anacapa Island is one of five islands in the Channel Islands National Park.

 Dinner: Dinner at hotel

Menus are contracted for the program and are designed to offer balanced, healthy meals for the participants. This program has only two choices for meals: standard and vegetarian. They are unable to customize menus for individuals. However, we have found that by requesting sauces and dressing to be served on the side, we are able to accommodate various food intolerances and allergies. Vegetarian meals must be requested in advance on your Participant Information Form. Unfortunately, there are no other special meal options. Participants with special dietary needs should be prepared to avoid certain foods or supplement the regular meal plan as needed.

 Evening: CLASS: "The Story of the California Missions"

The instructor traces the history of the mission system from its Spanish beginnings to the successes of the missions in Latin America, and examines why they were used in California. Hear about Fra Junipero Serra and what life was like at the California Missions. Discuss why the missions failed, the pros and cons of the missions, and how they are viewed today.

Enjoy the remainder of the evening getting to know your fellow participants and discovering what you share beyond a love of lifelong learning.

Accommodations: Crowne Plaza Ventura Beach
Meals Included: Dinner

Day 2: Field Trip to Santa Barbara/Santa Barbara Mission
(Monday, August 11)

Note: For all field trips, be prepared to get on/off motorcoach and walk/stand on guided walks. Guided walk at the Santa Barbara Mission involves walking on uneven terrain.

 Breakfast: Breakfast at hotel
 Morning: CROSSING POINTS: Participants introduce themselves to the rest of the group.

Bus departs the hotel for Santa Barbara.

FIELD TRIP: Docent tour of Santa Barbara Mission

Founded in 1786, Mission Santa Barbara was the 10th of the missions to be built. It is called the "Queen of the Missions" for its beautiful hilltop setting and majestic views.

FIELD TRIP: Docent tour of Santa Barbara Courthouse

The Courthouse is the jewel in Santa Barbara's architectural crown. A bonus is the must-see view of the city from the top of the 85 foot clock tower.

 Lunch: Lunch at Santa Barbara restaurant
 Afternoon: Explore State Street in Santa Barbara before the bus departs for the return trip to Ventura.
 Dinner: Dinner at hotel
 Evening: CLASS: "J. Paul Getty and His Collection"

The instructor introduces the J. Paul Getty Museum at the Getty Center in Los Angeles, which houses European paintings, drawings, sculpture, illuminated manuscripts, decorative arts, and European and American photographs.

Accommodations: Crowne Plaza Ventura Beach
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 3: Field Trip to Getty Center
(Tuesday, August 12)

Note: Upon arrival at the Getty Center, computer-operated trams transport guests ¾ of a mile uphill from the parking structure at a top speed of 10 miles per hour. You will have time to explore the Getty Center on your own. Walking between the buildings is on flat, paved surfaces but access to the bottom of the Central Gardens involves a slight incline.

 Breakfast: Breakfast at hotel
 Morning: FIELD TRIP: J. Paul Getty Museum at the Getty Center in Los Angeles

The Getty Center presents the Getty's collection of Western art from the Middle Ages to the present against a backdrop of dramatic architecture, tranquil gardens, and breathtaking views.

Upon arrival, explore the Getty Center on your own or participate in a variety of available public tours.

 Lunch: Lunch on your own at Getty Center.

The Café at the Getty Center is a self-service café with an extensive menu.

Reservations are suggested for the Restaurant, a full-service facility. Make reservations for the restaurant by calling (310) 440-6810.

The Garden Café offers a limited lunch menu.

 Afternoon: Getty Center (continued)
 Dinner: Dinner at hotel
 Evening: CLASS: Evening class on the Channel Islands National Park

The instructor educates and prepares the group for the next day's boat trip to Anacapa Island.

Accommodations: Crowne Plaza Ventura Beach
Meals Included: Breakfast, Dinner

Day 4: Boat trip to Anacapa Island
(Wednesday, August 13)

Note: Travel to Anacapa Island by boat, weather permitting. Boat transportation provided by Channel Islands National Park concessionaire. Duration of boat trip approximately one hour, one-way. Be prepared to climb 157 steps to island’s plateau where spectacular panoramic views and nearly 2 miles of nature trails await you. Layered clothing and low heeled, rubber soled shoes with a good grip are recommended for the trip, which includes a two-mile guided walk with a naturalist on Anacapa Island.

 Breakfast: Breakfast at hotel
 Morning: FIELD TRIP: All day outing to Anacapa Island via Island Packers boat. Upon arrival at Anacapa Island, be prepared to climb 153 steps to the island’s plateau.

Twelve miles from the mainland a five-mile-long spine of rock emerges from the ocean, breaks into three islets, and offers itself as home to 265 species of plants and a bevy of seabirds. It is home to the largest brown pelican rookery on the Pacific Coast. On charts, the island of 737 acres appears as East, Middle, and West Anapaca. The Chumash called it Anyapakh or "mirage". It was anything but a mirage on the night of December 2, 1853, when the sidewheel steamer Winfield Scott, running at full speed, crashed into the rocks off Middle Anacapa and sank. The Coast Guard later built a light beacon in 1912 and a light station in 1932.

Enjoy a guided 2 mile nature walk on Anacapa Island.

 Lunch: Bag lunch on Anacapa Island
 Afternoon: Anacapa Island (continued)

The Island Packers boat returns to the the mainland around 4:00PM.

 Dinner: Dinner at hotel
 Evening: CLASS: The Reagan Decade

The class provides insights about Ronald Reagan in preparation for the next day's field trip to the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library and Museum.

Accommodations: Crowne Plaza Ventura Beach
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 5: Field Trip to Ronald Reagan Presidential Library & Museum
(Thursday, August 14)

Note: Trip to the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library and Museum involves a two-hour guided walk through the newly renovated galleries, which reopened on President Reagan’s 100th birthday on February 6, 2011. Based on interest, one can also take an additional 45 minutes to an hour for further exploration of the Library.

 Breakfast: Breakfast at hotel
 Morning: FIELD TRIP: The Ronald Reagan Presidential Library and Museum

Opened to the public in 1991, the 100 acre site is perched on a mountaintop with sweeping views of mountains, valleys, and the Pacific Ocean. Follow a young Ronald Reagan on his rise from local hero and college standout to the glamorous world of Hollywood stardom. His campaign trail and inauguration as the 40th President of the United States, the Oval Office, and key events of his two terms are revealed through documents, photographs, and artifacts from eight dynamic years in the White House. In the Air Force One Pavilion, board the aircraft that served as the "Flying White House" for President Reagan.

Gain an in-depth perspective through a two-hour guided walking tour of the Reagan Presidential Library and Museum.

 Lunch: Lunch at Air Force One Pavilion
 Afternoon: After lunch, explore the exhibits and grounds on your own before returning to the hotel.
 Dinner: Dinner at hotel
Accommodations: Crowne Plaza Ventura Beach
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 6: Walking Field Trip to the San Buenaventura Mission and Independent Departures
(Friday, August 15)

Note: The walk from the hotel to the Ventura Mission is 5 blocks one way. The guided walk at the Ventura Mission involves walking on uneven terrain.

 Breakfast: Breakfast at hotel
 Morning: FIELD TRIP: Docent tour of San Buenaventura Mission

Founded in 1782, Mission San Buenaventura was the ninth of California's 21 missions and the last to be established by Father Junipero Serra. Destroyed by fire in the 1790s, the church was rebuilt over a period of a dozen years and rededicated in 1809.

HOTEL CHECK OUT: This concludes the program. We hope you have enjoyed our Best of California program and will join us for other rewarding programs in the future. Best wishes for all your journeys!

Meals Included: Breakfast

Free Time Opportunities
  Ventura, CA Ventura Visitors & Convention Bureau
101 S. California St.

Ventura, CA 93001

(805) 648-2075 or (800) 333-2989

Ventura offers a variety of recreational opportunities such as beach walks, biking and hiking trails, bird watching, camping, golf, sport fishing, water activities and whale watching. The Crowne Plaza Hotel is situated next to the beach and an oceanside boardwalk that stretches for many miles. Some trail heads are within walking distance of the hotel.

  Museum of Ventura County
100 E. Main St.

Ventura, CA 93001

(805) 653-0323

One of the museum's permanent exhibits explores the community's past from the Chumash era through the 21st century. It consists of a fascinating collection of artifacts and displays focusing on Native Americans, Spanish and Mexican pioneers, and European and Yankee settlers. Especially notable are the George Stuart Historical figures, which are intricately carved figures from history that are dressed in elaborate period costume. For additional information, visit

Important information about your itinerary: Every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy and completeness of the information featured on this website. Itineraries are based on our best information at this time. Circumstances beyond our control may require us to adjust itineraries or other details. We regret any inconvenience this may cause and appreciate your understanding. Information will be sent to you from your Program Provider approximately three weeks prior to the program start date. The prices listed for commercial services and facilities that are not included in the program cost, such as airport shuttles or extra nights lodging, are subject to change without notice. Since Road Scholar cannot guarantee the accuracy of these prices, we strongly suggest contacting the companies directly for the most up-to-date information.

Suggested Reading List

The California Missions: A Pictorial History and Visitors Guide

Author: Sunset Magazine

Description: This volume is an excellent guide book and history of the California Missions. It is loaded with pictures and considered the best book for the money.

President Reagan The Role of a Lifetime

Author: Lou Cannon

Description: This book by a veteran reporter of Ronald Reagan's political career is one of the best Reagan biographies.

The J. Paul Getty Museum Handbook of the Collections -- Fourth

Author: Museum Staff

Description: 310 pages, 5 1/2 x 9 1/2 inches 373 color and 5 duotone illustrations ISBN 0-89236-613-3 (hardcover) ISBN 0-89236-614-1 (paper)

Building the Getty

Author: Richard Meier

Channel Islands National Park

Author: Susan Lamb (Author) & George H. H. Huey (Photographer)

Description: The five remarkable islands of Channel Islands National Park preserve a part of California many visitors thought had long vanished. This isolated maritime sanctuary of natural and human history is a short boat ride from the urban areas of Southern California. The environment provides a serene habitat for many species of birds, marine mammals, wildlife, and plants - plus archeological sites that mark nearly 13,000 years of human presence.

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