Every year millions of people come to sunny southern California, most to visit that weird and wonderful place we call Hollywood.Ithas many manifestations including a possible tour of Warner Brothers Studios in Burbank, California or perhaps a Universal Pictures tour in Los Angeles, California – both great fun and neither are inexpensive. Yet the experience can be well worth the cost.
Then there is that common geographic destination, the epicenter of which is located at the intersection of Hollywood Boulevard and Highland Avenue. There you will find the Dolby Theater home of the Oscar Awards event each year. Directly across from the Dolby Theater is the studio from which the Jimmy Kimmel television show originates and down the street a wee bit there is the fabled Roosevelt Hotel; all interesting attractions. But mainly what you will find at Hollywood and Highland is a bunch of usually odiferous people in various costumes such at Batman, Wonder Woman and the like plus an endless variety of shops with gobs of junk including a large supply of fake plastic Oscars.
A mere 50 miles away you will find a truly amazing slice of Southern California utterly and pleasantly unlike Hollywood. That place is known as Littlerock and its star attraction is the wildly fun establishment they call Charlie Brown Farms.It’s located at 8317 Pearblossom Highway, Littlerock, California, 93543, where it has been since its opening in 1929. It is without question one of the most unusual and perhaps even somewhat esoteric establishments I have ever visited but it always entertains and keeps making me want to return.
It is a store with a wide variety of typically unusual items such as Alien Fresh Jerky for example. So what the heck is Alien Fresh Jerky? I am not really sure but is absolutely does taste great. Then there are the NASA and space oriented gifts and the huge lollipop rack and weird and wonderful masks of all kinds.
You can browse Charlie Brown Farms for hours without getting bored, but the odds of leaving without buying at least one thing and typically more are very close to zero. It is just an abundance of weird and wonderful fun. And then there is the food.
You place your order near the front entrance of the store then walk around enjoying the sights until they announce your name over the P.A. system. With your freshly cooked food in hand you can proceed to one of the dining areas inside or outside, depending on the weather, and enjoy a hardy meal. I ordered a tri tip steak sandwich on my recent rip and it was simply delicious. That day we ate inside because outside would have been very uncomfortable due to the large amount of snow all around.
You read that right, most of Littlerock and all of the surrounding mountains were covered in snow right there in sunny Southern California. Now if you happen to be visiting from say Minnesota snow in the winter might not be what you came to Southern California to see. But for those of us that live here it is a fairly rare and always wonderful treat.
For all of its magic and fun at some point you will want to leave good old Charlie Brown Farms but there are more things to explore nearby,
A mere six and a half miles away is the Blackbird Airpark. Open since 1991 the Blackbird Airpark is the only place on earth where you visit up close the amazing SR-71 Blackbird long range high altitude reconnaissance aircraft used extensively during the Cold War. Also on display is the A-12 the predecessor to the SR-71. And there is even an old school U-2. This is a great place to visit even if you are not necessary an aviation buff like me. There is a whole lot of history and adventure to grasp and contemplate.
For those with a leaning more towards Mother Nature there is the Devil’s Punchbowl Natural Area and Nature Center only ten mile from Littlerock. The abundant natural beauty is nothing short of stunning and very much unlike most of the rest of our planet. Of course since we now know that yes Mildred indeed it does sometimes snow in sunny Southern California, perhaps you may not have access to Devil’s Punchbowl so do check it out before you drive off in pursuit.
A couple of other fun spots near Littlerock include the Southern California Soaring Academy, a mere 8.9 miles away and Dry Town Water Park less than six miles from Littlerock. Also while not all that close to Littlerock your path from Hollywood to Littlerock will take you right by Agua Dolce and there you will find both the Aqua Dolce Winery and the Reyes Winery. Both produce excellent wine and offer tastings along with some insight on how great wine is created.
So when you add it all up perhaps now you can see that there is so much more to Southern California than Hollywood and Highland. There is abundant natural beauty, fascinating vineyards, aviation treasures and even a zany and ultra fun store they call Charlie Brown Farms. So indeed welcome to sunny southern California, only please be sure that if you visit during the winter months do bring your boots and a warm coat.
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All photos by Ron Irwin unless otherwise noted
Top photo of the SR-71 Blackbird from the Blackbird Airpark website
Ron Irwin was born in Chicago, Illinois a long time ago. He served in the Marine Corps in Vietnam, became a trial lawyer, TV and radio host, CEO of a public company and once held an Emmy. He never won an Emmy he just held one. Ron has written and published twelve books. His most important book to date is “Live, Die, Live Again” in which Ron tells of his early life and his unexpected and very temporary death in 2012. That experience dramatically refocused his life and within the pages of that book Ron reveals how he achieved a much healthier life, ridding himself of Diabetes, Cancer and Heart Failure. Now Ron enjoys writing about many things including health topics, travel [he has circled the globe several times], adventure, culinary experiences and the world of performing art. Ron’s motto is “Live better, live longer and live stronger because it feels great and annoys others.” Contact the author.