Thursday, January 21, 2010

Mission San Juan Capistrano - SJC

Being a New England girl, I missed out on all those riveting California history lessons in which "My Darlin' Clementine" was given context and children had the opportunity to pan for gold with varying degrees of success.

All is not lost, however! Far from it! The Mission San Juan Capistrano, located in - you guessed it - San Juan Capistrano, offers unfortunate souls like myself, as well as California natives wishing to relive their childhoods, the opportunity to journey back to a time when many men sought their fortune in the wicky-wild-wild west.
Until March 31st, visitors to the mission can experience the Gold Fever gold rush exhibit. The traveling exhibition gives history buffs the chance to read background, details, and first-hand accounts of this period in history, and gives kids (or kids-at-heart) the chance to dress up in authentic gold rush gear and see what it would have been like to camp out in relative squalor while awaiting a promised fortune. On Saturdays from noon-2pm, you can even pan for gold!

Aside from this eccentric exhibit, visitors can also embark on a sweet audio tour that details the mysterious return of the swallows to San Juan Capistrano on the same day each year, and the earthquake that collapsed the mission on 40 unsuspecting worshipers and left some ruins that look like they should be in Rome, not Orange County.

It's fun, it's odd, and if you want to dress up like a 49er, you'd better get there by March 31st!

There's WEATHER here?

Tree down at Brentwood Park in Costa Mesa. El Nino is not messin' around this week!

Sunday, December 13, 2009


Friends, Romans, OC Oddballs,

January 2010 marks the dawning of a new age of OC Oddities. Expect more blogs, more adventures, more interaction, and more downright weirdness! I look forward to seeing you all on the underbelly!

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

The Nixon Library & Museum - Yorba Linda

After watching Frost/Nixon today, it seems fitting to add an oddity pertaining to good ol' Tricky Dick. And if you're in Dr. Marley's U.S. History class, this one's a twofer 'cause you have to go there anyway.

According to, the Nixon Library gets a little eerie when the lights go out. Unexplained tapping noises are heard, and the infamous Watergate tapes are said to play on a continuous loop, whether shut off or not. The L.A. Times also mentioned the apparently noisy spirit, reporting that "a night watchman heard strange tapping coming from the Watergate display room."

I visited the museum myself as a wee freshman at Vanguard, and, while I didn't hear any mysterious tapping or hear the tapes run when they shouldn't have, I did get to see an entire miniature replica of the White House. That and the picturesque landscape were worth the $5.95 college student admission.

While you're in the neighborhood, check out the Old Yorba Linda Cemetery, where, according to the L.A. Times, on June 15th of every even-numbered year a lady in pink can be seen crying over an unmarked grave. claims that the apparition may be Alvina de Los Reyes, daughter of Bernardo Yorba. The Yorba Linda History website states that Alvina died in childbirth on December 2, 1910. However, legend has it she died in a carriage accident on the way back from a high school dance. It's possible that there WAS, in fact, a girl who died under such circumstances, but Alvina's name was mistakenly attached to the tragedy. Let's be real, though: The truth of the legend isn't what's important. We all just want a harmless scare, and a nite at the cemetery is sure to deliver.

L.A. Times Article
Yorba Linda History

To the Nixon Library from VU:
1.Head east on Fair Dr toward Newport Blvd
0.3 mi
2.Continue on Del Mar Ave
371 ft
3.Turn left at Newport Blvd (signs for CA-55 N)
167 ft
4.Take the ramp on the left onto CA-55 N
14.2 mi
5.Merge onto CA-91 E
1.8 mi
6.Take exit 36 for CA-90/Imperial Hwy/State Hwy 90
0.3 mi
7.Turn left at CA-90 (signs for Yorba Linda)
3.0 mi
8.Turn left at Yorba Linda Blvd
Destination will be on the right
0.3 mi
18001 Yorba Linda Blvd
Yorba Linda, CA 92886

To the Old Yorba Linda Cemetery from the Nixon Library:
1.Head west on Yorba Linda Blvd toward Eureka Ave
335 ft
2.Make a U-turn at Eureka Ave
0.4 mi
3.Turn right at CA-90
2.3 mi
4.Turn left at E Orangethorpe Ave
49 ft
5.Continue on Esperanza Rd
0.2 mi
6.Turn left at Fairlynn Blvd
476 ft
7.Turn right at Woodgate Dr
0.1 mi
8.Turn left at Parkwood Ct
Destination will be on the left
72 ft
6749 Parkwood Ct
Yorba Linda, CA 92886

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Knott's Scary Farm - Buena Park

It probably comes as no surprise to anyone that someone who writes a blog like OC Oddities might watch a pretty good amount of Travel Channel. Thus, I expect no gasps of disbelief when I reveal to you that this post was inspired by some couch time in front of everyone's favorite shameless plug channel on the Discovery Network.

Recently a show aired detailing the scariest Halloween attractions in the United States. You can hold your heads a little higher, my dear OC friends, because your county is home to one of the Travel Channel's top picks: Knott's Scary Farm.

For about $50, you can have the pants scared right off of you by over 1,000 actors in stage makeup and masks who love nothing more than to see you jump into the arms of an unsuspecting passerby from fright. You can also enjoy one of the delightful mazes with such names as Cornstalkers, the Slaughterhouse, Club Blood, Killer Clown Kollege, Axe Murder Manor, and Alien Annihilation! Described as a "160 acre horror movie" by the amusement park's MySpace, Knott's Scary Farm is guaranteed to have you in tears of either laughter or terror. Care to see which?

Knott's Scary Farm website
The Travel Channel segment
KSF on MySpace - proof that absolutely EVERYONE is on MySpace

Directions from VU:
1.Head east on Fair Dr toward Newport Blvd
0.3 mi
2.Continue on Del Mar Ave
371 ft
3.Turn left at Newport Blvd (signs for CA-55 N)
167 ft
4.Take the ramp on the left onto CA-55 N
5.6 mi
5.Slight left at I-5 N
9.3 mi
6.Continue straight to stay on I-5 N
1.7 mi
7.Take the La Palma Ave/Brookhurst St exit
0.4 mi
8.Turn right at N Brookhurst St (signs for La Palma Ave/Brookhurst St N)
0.2 mi
9.Turn left at W La Palma Ave
2.2 mi
10.Turn left at Beach Blvd/CA-39
Destination will be on the right
262 ft
8039 Beach Blvd
Buena Park, CA 90620

The Dreger Clock - Buena Park

If you've ever wondered, "Gee, why hasn't anyone created a clock that can tell me the time, date, phase of the moon, and solar time in major cities worldwide," I've got some fantastic news for you: Someone did!

That's right. In the 1930's Andrew Dreger built such a clock and installed it on East Anaheim Street in Long Beach. The four-sided clock stood approximately fifteen feet tall, with each of its faces measuring three feet in width. Dreger would mount a ladder every day to polish the clock, which ran on a small electric motor and used a system of 19 synchronized dials to operate. After his passing in 1952, his daughter attempted to donate the clock to the city, but was shocked to learn that no one was interested. When the property on which the clock stood was later sold, the clock disappeared. Its new home? Knott's Berry Farm in Buena Park.

The quirky timepiece stood in the park until 2007 when, after yet another mysterious disappearance, it was spotted on eBay. The Buena Park Historical Society purchased the clock, and now hopes to be able to proudly display it once more. Dreger's descendants have started a website in order to raise money to get this OC oddity put back in the public eye.

According to Dreger Clock Restoration Project task-force leader Glenn Frank, "The Dreger Clock is currently undergoing renovation at a clock shop in Fullerton and we hope to have the clock completed and put back on public display in spring or summer of next year."

The Dreger Clock Website
Article in the OC Register

Thursday, February 14, 2008

Angelo's & Vinci's Ristorante - Fullerton

It's like Buca Di Beppo on steroids... and if you were already under the impression that Buca was on steroids, be prepared to meet the Jose Canseco of Italian joints. Angelo's & Vinci's in downtown Fullerton is wall-to-wall with crazy photos and artwork, acrobatic mannequins, and even a giant altar honoring, well, SOMEONE's dead family. I'm not entirely sure whose. Opened as a restaurant 36 years ago, the building once served as a marketplace for local farmers. In its current form, it bares closer resemblance to a circus than to a market. Without a doubt, the strangest part of the establishment is the Monster Wine Cellar. The dungeon-like room is several degrees colder than the rest of the building and houses a few broken arcade games, various caged nightmare creatures, and an assortment of mannequin body parts strewn about the ceiling, among other charms and delights.
Unusual atmosphere aside, there ain't nothing strange about the food. If you're like me and have a penchant for the splendor that is Italian cuisine, Angelo's & Vinci's will not disappoint. Reasonably priced and complete with all the Italian favorites, the eccentric ristorante is a gustatory treat appropriate for any occasion.... Valentine's Day for example! That said, have a wonderful Hallmark holiday, everyone! May you all be blessed with enough candy to keep you satisfied till Easter.

Dinner Menu

Getting there from VU:
1: Start out going EAST on FAIR DR toward NEWPORT BLVD. 0.2 miles Map

2: Turn LEFT onto NEWPORT BLVD. <0.1> Map

3: Merge onto CA-55 N via the ramp on the LEFT. 6.2 miles Map

4: Merge onto I-5 N via EXIT 10B toward LOS ANGELES. 4.1 miles Map

5: Merge onto CA-57 N via EXIT 107A toward POMONA. 4.8 miles Map

6: Merge onto CA-91 W toward LOS ANGELES. 2.7 miles Map

7: Take the LEMON ST exit- EXIT 28- toward ANAHEIM BLVD / HARBOR BLVD. 0.2 miles Map

8: Turn RIGHT onto S LEMON ST / N LEMON ST. 0.3 miles Map

9: Turn LEFT onto E ORANGETHORPE AVE. 0.2 miles Map

10: Turn RIGHT onto S HARBOR BLVD. 1.0 miles Map

11: End at 550 N Harbor Blvd
Fullerton, CA 92832-1516, US
Total Est. Time: 24 minutes Total Est. Distance: 20.18 miles