RUSTIC SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA: Is Los Angeles just about the only major city on the planet to have freeways front-and-centered on multiple postcards and guidebooks? Our multi-lane thoroughfares have been depicted on screen quite often through the decades, and postcard-purchasing visitors? They're fascinated by the LA fast life, so much so that they could rightly believe that asphalt and concrete and cement and metal and glass are the substances from which our region was constructed. But there's a softer, bucolic side to this here megalopolis, made up of a thousand hay-baled, happy-song, gingham-wearing parts. We, in short, appreciate our freeways, in large part because they can help us get away for a day, into the country, where we might lob corn cobs out of cannons and bowl for pumpkins and pet pigs. One of the softest spots in all the land is Underwood Family Farms, a Moorpark institution that's open all year long for picking zinnias and celery and lemons and participating in a host of sweet to-dos. One of the sweetest, and best-attended, falls in the fall, for a whole month. It's the Fall Harvest Festival, and it makes its goaty grand entrance on Saturday, Sept. 27.
YES, WE SAID "GOATY"... and we're not changing our mind on that point. Underwood is famous for its overhead goat residents, those handsome animals that strut on planks over festival goers' heads (well, not directly; you can stand to one side and watch). Loads of bucolic pastiming -- tractor-drawn wagon rides, hay pyramids, a corn maze, a massive pumpkin patch, and food booths -- lend the out-of-the-bustle location so much charm you may wish you wore your overalls. And the theme weekends fill out the month-plus fall run (think Farm Country Weekend, All About Pumpkins weekend, and more Moorparkian merriment). We're absolutely not saying that asphalt isn't essential to SoCal's success, but does one want to sit on a barrel of hay and gnaw at a cob come autumn? Sure they do -- a hay barrel should also be on a Southern California postcard, too, next to all those freeways.