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Things to do in Lancaster

    Antelope Valley Indian Museum Antelope Valley Indian Museum Lancaster, California
    The Antelope Valley Indian Museum State Historic Park sits on the north side of Los Angeles County and contains many Great Basin Native American cultures; originally built in 1928 by homesteader/artist H. Arden Edwards. The museum houses the collections of H. Arden Edwards and the next owner and anthropology student Grace Oliver. These marvelous displays interpret and represent the American Indian tribes of the southwest, both contemporary and aboriginal; with numerous relics either one-of-a-kind or rare artifacts. It is a chalet style building, constructed over a rock formation of Piute Butte right in the Mojave Desert, and is considered a unique folk-art building that has since been listed on the National Register of Historic Places. The Joshua Cottage contains a "touch-table", where all visitors can learn more about food grinding and processing as well as other tribal techniques that were and are used by Native American tribes. Another impressive skill to learn is how to start a fire with bow drills or sticks. There is a wonderful nature trail that begins next to the museum and is self-guided, as well as an outdoor ceremonial circle and picnic area. Often, other "guest" Native American tribes will come here to perform their traditional dances or other venues, with the yearly ground blessing ceremony held every fall. You'll see many Native American artists showing how they work and the results which are usually sold; with great Native American foods available and very special activities for the children. The museum contains over 7500 Native American artifacts and works of art that span many years and are very exciting to learn about. Howard Edwards was a self-taught artist and fell in love with the beautiful scenery that spread out before him around the buttes when he came to visit the valley. In 1928, he, his wife and teenage son came here to homestead the 160 acres on Piute Butte and constructed the very special house that has become the museum. He set aside a space for his collection of prehistoric and historic American Indian relics in such a way as to educate and entertain any visitors. By the 1940s, Grace Wilcox Oliver had come here and bought the property, having taken many anthropology courses, and renovated the main structure and enlarged the buildings; also adding her own discoveries and findings. Since neither owner was instructed or learned in archaeology and record keeping, the artifacts are somewhat eclectic, and obviously, the preference or interests of the finder. The collections are currently being researched to add more details to the individual artifacts, so that visitors will have the authentic and latest available information about any tribes or relics that has been discovered or discussed. The present exhibits housed here were in fact, arranged in the early 1990s and show how these interesting tribes would adapt to the environment around them, since this valley had been a major crossroads of the Great Basin, California coasts, and Pueblo cultures of Arizona and New Mexico. You will view many rock art pictographs in the Great Basin, southwest and Antelope Valley, as well as outstanding relics from around those same areas. There are many excellent dioramas and other depictions of the Native Americans that came here to visit or live and is one of the best museums in the southwest that actually does this.

    Antelope Valley Winery
    Antelope Valley Winery Lancaster, CaliforniaThe Antelope Valley Winery has put its heart and soul into every bottle of their delicious and wholesome wines, using the best kept secrets in California to create these marvelous wines. The winery was started in 1980 by Cecil and Marcy McLester as the McLester Winery, which sat beneath the flight pattern of the Los Angeles International Airport, which of course encouraged them to call their red and white wines, Runway. In 1990, the winery was purchased by Cyndee and Frank Donato, although Cecil was kept on as the winemaker. In June of 1991, the winery was moved to Lancaster, California and the vineyards planted around the Antelope Valley plant, although the winery does purchase outside grapes to augment their excellent wines, and the entire area has blossomed into one of the newest and finest wine growing region in the southwest. There are many wines to choose from, as well as gift baskets that are perfect for the holiday, or those special occasions that you wish to send one to. Also the winery will custom blend a wine for you or custom make any type or style of label for you to have on the bottle. The winery is well known for its well-balanced, bold and complex red wines, with excellent flavors that will be sure to explode your palate with various tastes, since their growing season is so perfect for growing the finest grapes necessary to produce such great wines. Their fruity and crisp white wines are becoming well known and enjoyed as well, thanks to the excellent soil and climate that just seems to blossom these grapes more than usually. The winery is sure to become better known over time, as word and taste gets around to sampling these fine wines. Try one of their excellent blends the next time you are in or around Lancaster and learn more about their partner site that produces excellent bison and exotic meats that are better for you, and the perfect complement to their fabulous wines.

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    Lancaster Museum Art GalleryLancaster Museum/Art Gallery Lancaster, California
    The City of Lancaster Museum/Art Gallery opened in 1986, although their historical significance goes back to the beginning of the city, in Lancaster, California. During 1876, a railway siding was built at Lancaster after the Southern Pacific Railroad came through here, and a town was laid out in the start of 1884. The new town began with a general store, blacksmith shop and other businesses, along with the necessary residences needed to house these new entrepreneurs and other pioneers. The first school would be constructed on what is now the southeast corner of the museum's parking lot and is now used as a residence. The Western Hotel, that sits about half a block from the museum, opened in 1888/9, and the property that the museum now sits on was used for corrals at that time, to house the animals that the hotel's guests owned; and then later on, the crews that worked on the Los Angeles Aqueduct in 1908 to 1912. Many businesses would be started here on the museum's property, during the ensuing years, but one of the most significant would be the old Valley Theater that was constructed by the Carter family in 1926. It could seat 500 people, although Carter would eventually rent it out to Frank Gumm, the father of actress Judy Garland (Frances Gumm); and it was here that young Frances/Judy and her sisters would jump onto the stage and entertain the local audiences, and begin her tragic climb to fame and distress.  Sometime later, a Shopping Bag market would locate here and then the building was used as a commercial enterprise; and then the structure would become vacant for some years. The empty building would cause some challenges for the city, since the planners thought that a city hall could be placed there, but then they considered rejuvenating it and making it the district headquarters of the Antelope Valley Union High School District and a museum/art gallery. There are between 7 and 9 changing exhibitions held here each year, with each one lasting four to twelve weeks, featuring local, national and international historical and art displays from private collectors, other museums and the museum/art gallery's own permanent collections. The shows include lectures and free public receptions; and the museum showcases an 800 square foot permanent exhibit of prehistoric and dinosaur mammal fossils. Some of the marvelous displays include race cars, Mayan artifacts, robotic dinosaurs, ancient Egyptian mummies, Native American relics, antique automobiles, civil war memorabilia, NASA space suits and works of art by Chagall, Picasso, da Vinci, Renoir, Bischoff, Rembrandt, Daumier, Goya and numerous other artists. In the permanent collections, there are numerous historical displays, with more than 2500 relics included in the collections and more coming in all the time as local citizens donate their artifacts to keep them preserved for future generations to appreciate. 

     Antelope Valley California Poppy Reserve
    Antelope Valley California Poppy Reserve Lancaster, California
    The Antelope Valley California Poppy State Reserve is a state-protected reserve that is located in the rural westside of Antelope Valley in northern Los Angeles County, some 15 miles west of Lancaster, California and sitting some 2600 to 3000 feet above sea level. It is located in the Mojave desert climate zone and taken care of by the state parks. The reserve is named and protected based on the state's flower, the California poppy, and one of the most consistent poppy bearing lands; along with other beautiful wildflowers like coreopsis, lupine, cream cups, goldfields and owl's clover. This outstanding blooming season is in late winter and early spring, or during the months of mid-February to mid-May, although they are dependent on the amount of rains that fall during the winter to early spring season. Inside the reserve you will find about seven miles of trails that also contains a paved road for wheelchair access, that meander through the fields. Wanting to keep the fields in their natural state, it is not watered or any types of chemicals used to stimulate growth, and it does exclude cattle and sheep from using it as grazing lands. It had been used for sheep grazing prior to the 1970s in the buttes of western Antelope Valley, with pronghorn using it for grazing before that; or until the railroads arrived in 1876. Pets are prohibited from using the preserve, although service pets are allowed; and flower picking is prohibited by the state. Starting in 1994, control fires have been started to regulate the area's dead brush, litter and exotic species in the preserve area. It is a beautiful area to visit and just smell the flowers, with plenty of opportunities to take pictures of the magnificent mountains in the background and the colorful wildflowers blooming in the open spaces for the enjoyment of all that come here.

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Local Restaurants in Lancaster

    Barone's Family Italian Restaurant
    Appetizers; garlic bread & mozzarella is 3 slices of Italian bread covered in garlic butter sauce & smothered with mozzarella cheese; garlic bread is 3 slices of Italian bread covered in garlic butter sauce; mozzarella sticks is battered & deep fried mozzarella sticks served with marinara sauce; sautéed mushrooms is fresh mushrooms with Italian herbs & spices sautéed in light wine sauce; meatballs & mozzarella is hand made meatballs smothered in mozzarella; buffalo style hot wings made with cayenne pepper & garlic sauce. Italian Specialties with choice of soup or salad with garlic bread; spaghetti carbonara is bacon, eggs, mushrooms, onions & parmesan cheese in cream sauce; lasagna al forno is stuffed with beef, eggs, ricotta cheese, covered in meat sauce & slow baked; chicken fettuccini with grilled chicken & mixed with veggies, in light cream Alfredo sauce. Pasta with choice of soup or salad with garlic bread; spaghetti with meat sauce; ravioli with meat sauce; spaghetti aglio e olio is fresh garlic, olive oil & seasonings; fettuccini alfredo is fettuccini pasta in spiced tomato sauce; penne al arrabiata is mostaccioli in spiced tomato sauce; penne al forno is baked mostaccioli, mozzarella cheese & meat sauce; manicotti is long shells stuffed with ricotta cheese & covered in meat sauce; cannelloni is long shells stuffed with meat sauce; gnocchi is potato gnocchi with cream & tomato sauce; tortellini is cheese or meat tortellini with meat sauce; cappellini is angel hair pasta with fresh basil, garlic & olive oil in tomato sauce. Italian classics; chicken marsala is sautéed breast of chicken, mushrooms in wine sauce; chicken Milanese is cutlet breaded chicken with mushrooms & lemon in wine sauce; chicken cacciatore is sautéed chicken with mushrooms topped with special sauce. 

    Crazy Otto's Diner
    Appetizers; hot wings is 8 pcs of buffalo wings served with ranch dip; mozzarella cheese sticks lightly breaded and fried with dip; chicken strips is cut breaded chicken served with FF; stuffed potato skins filled with cheese, bacon & sour cream; sampler plate with zucchini, onion rings, chicken strips & mozzarella sticks. Entrees; served with veggies, choice of potato, and soup or salad; lemon chicken 8oz. broiled chicken breast seasoned with lemon, herbs & spices; Malibu chicken is 8oz. chicken breast blanketed with ham & Swiss cheese, served with honey Dijon sauce; chicken breast & stuff is boneless chicken breast topped with sautéed mushrooms, onions, green peppers & choice of cheeses; fried chicken is 3 pcs. of golden fried chicken; hamburger steak is three quarters pound ground beef topped with sautéed mushrooms & onions; meatloaf is housemade meatloaf smothered in brown gravy; country fried steak is southern style chicken fried steak smothered in housemade brown gravy; pork chops is 2 8oz. tender pork chops with side of applesauce; steak & shrimp is 10oz. USDA choice top sirloin with 5 jumbo shrimp; NY steak is USDA choice broiled to order; top sirloin steak is USDA 10oz. steak broiled your way; rib eye steak is USDA 10oz. steak broiled your way. Seafood; grilled halibut is fresh halibut served with tartar sauce & lemon wedges; golden fried shrimp with FF or onion rings; beer battered fish with FF or onion rings; red snapper is cod fillets in buttermilk beer batter, deep fried with tartar sauce; grilled cod with tartar sauce & lemon wedge.

Spaghetti Carbonara Barone's Family Italian Restaurant Lancaster, California

 

Chicken Marsala Barone's Family Italian Restaurant Lancaster, California

 

 

 

 Malibu Chicken Crazy Otto's Diner Lancaster, California

 

Steak and Shrimp Crazy Otto's Diner Lancaster, California

 

 

Hertz Car Rental Lancaster

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    Angeles National Forest Angeles National Forest Lancaster, California
    The Angeles National Forest is found in the San Gabriel Mountains that sit north of the Los Angeles County line that was started in 1908, and includes the San Bernardino National Forest and parts of San Gabriel and Santa Barbara National forests, covering 655,387 acres of outstanding terrain. The headquarters are located in Arcadia, California and the Angeles National Forest takes care of the watershed inside it that provides very valuable water to southern California, as well as protecting the encompassing areas from any types of catastrophic disasters. The landscape inside the forest is very diverse, in its looks and landscaping, with elevations running from 1200 to 10,064 feet above sea level. It is covered with thick chaparral that soon changes to fir and pine covered slopes as you climb to the higher elevations. The Pacific Crest Trail runs across the forest with such tree species as bigcone douglas-fir, California walnut and coulter pine. There are 29,000 acres of old growth, containing white fir, lodgepole pine, Jeffrey pine, and Sierra Nevada mixed conifer forests. It also contains three nationally designated wilderness areas that include; the San Gabriel wilderness, the Sheep Mountains and the Cucamonga wilderness.  The forest area covers some thousand square miles of open space and numerous recreational activities that draw millions of visitors here each year. Besides the beautiful natural environments, you can camp in many developed campgrounds, swim, hike, mountain bike, ski, fish or ride horses through the majestic scenery. A lot of the activities are free and just need you to visit, as well as many areas to picnic and enjoy the beauty and solitude found in the mountains and valleys. 

    Aerospace Walk of Honor
    Aerospace Walk of Honor Lancaster, CaliforniaThe Aerospace Walk of Honor in Lancaster, California has seen fit to honor those brave test pilots that have contributed to aviation, space research and development, started in 1990 by the city. The awards were started that year to recognize the exciting contributions that these talented and special aviators made who "soared above the rest". The city was and is a center of the flight test community, located in the Antelope Valley area, close to four flight test facilities; Naval Air Weapons Station China Lake, US Air Force Plant 42, the Mojave Spaceport and Edwards AFB. The walk is found on Lancaster Boulevard as it sits between the Sierra Highway to the east and the 10th Street West; anchored in Boeing Plaza with a restored F-4 Phantom II mounted on pylon. Honorees are memorialized by the granite monuments that have been placed along the boulevard, with new ones being inducted each year, usually in the late summer. This walk is funded by numerous aerospace companies that include Northrop Grumman, Boeing and Lockheed Martin, who all continue to conduct flight test operations in the valley. Some of the more famous inductees include; Neil Armstrong (1991), James H. Doolittle (1990), Chuck Yeager (1990) and many others that continuously raised the standard for flight testing. This is the first location in the nation that honors its heroic test pilots, and shows their 60 year tradition as the country's aerospace center and host city to a most distinguished group of men and women, both national and international in scope.

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    Western Hotel MuseumWestern Hotel Museum Lancaster, California
    The Western Hotel Museum, in Lancaster, California, is one of the venues that host permanent exhibits of the Lancaster Museum/Art Gallery, with many of the relics, that range from Native American stone tools to old mining equipment and photographs that pertain to the residents and former residents of the city, were donated by citizens so that a well preserved collection of antiquities might be kept and saved for future generations so that they will know more and learn more about their city's history, culture and art. Some of the exhibits include; the California missions, Antelope Valley mining, Antelope Valley Native Americans and numerous other early Antelope Valley photographs and historical pieces. Constructed in 1888, the hotel museum is located in downtown's is the city's oldest surviving building, and as a hotel has had many owners that changed its name. These include; the Antelope Valley Hotel, the Gillwyn Hotel, and the last, of course, is the Western; with its most famous owners, Myrtie and George Webber, with Myrtie passing on in 1978 at the ripe old age of 110! The hotel has been preserved by the Western Hotel Historical Society and has been a city museum since 1989. There are numerous annual events held or hosted here and these include; a summer outdoor silent movie and old-fashioned ice cream social and in the winter season, the interior is decorated in a Victorian Christmas style.

    Tehachapi Mountain Range
    Tehachapi Mountain Range Lancaster, CaliforniaThe Tehachapi Mountains are one of the short transverse ranges that connects the Coast Ranges with the Sierra Nevada mountains and forms a barrier between San Joaquin Valley and the Mojave Desert and Great Basin by Lancaster, California. The range is usually crossed at the Tejon Pass on its southwestern side, and the unusual incline that faces those travelers along Interstate 5 on the northern slopes of the range as it heads down into the San Joaquin Valley floor has been locally referred to as the Grapevine since there are still grapevines on the earlier route that existed on the slopes. The Tehachapis, is not a large or long mountain range, however, it is quite significant since many people in the state consider it to be the natural boundary that separates the northern parts of California from its southern end. You can discover at least 68 varieties of birds here, all of them eating the acorns of the California black oak for part of their diet, and other flora seen here include the mountain mahogany and buckbrush. As many expect to see in the mountains here in this state, there are large fauna that include the raccoon, mule deer, black bear, fox, bobcat, mountain lion, coyote and feral pig. The mountain range is a unique crossroads in the climate zones, with the Mojave Desert to the east and the southeast that allows only a few inches of rain each year, and the south contains the Transverse Ranges that are located in the Los Padres National Forest and the Angeles National Forest. It is a beautiful land with excellent hiking and mountain biking opportunities as well as wonderful area to be photographed.

Thrifty Car Rental Lancaster

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    Saddleback Butte State ParkSaddleback Butte State Park Lancaster, California
    Saddleback Butte State Park is located in southern California's Antelope Valley, around Lake Los Angeles and covers about 2,955 acres of beauty and the main feature of the park, Saddleback Butte. The butte rises some 3,651 feet into the sky and was started in 1960 to protect the marvelous area's Joshua tree population. The Joshua tree is also called the Yucca palm, Tree yucca or palm tree yucca and is indigenous to the Mojave Desert that runs through California, Arizona, Utah and Nevada. It seems to thrive in the open grasslands of the Queen Valley and Lost Horse Valley in Joshua Tree National Park. The tree received its name from a group of Mormon settlers that crossed the Mojave Desert in the mid-19th century, since it reminded them of a Biblical story that has Joshua raises his hands to the heavens in prayer. Saddleback Butte is set at 3,651 feet above sea level and is a granite mountaintop that rises above the alluvial bottom land of the Antelope Valley some 15 miles east of Lancaster, California, sitting at the western edge of the Mojave Desert. The best time to visit here is in the spring, February through May, when the wildflowers are in full bloom and show a magnificent display of color and beauty. The autumn period is also gorgeous, but the weather starts changing rather fast and could vary greatly. The Little Butte Trail is 2.5 miles to the peak and can be found at the base or you can take the 2 mile hike from the Saddleback Butte Peak Trail that starts in the trailhead parking lot. The trails start out on fairly easy slopes with some loose sand around the creosote bushes and Joshua trees that are found here up to the base of the butte where they come together. Then it does get somewhat challenging as you climb up the sand and scrabble, but when you get to the top, you'll find that it was all worthwhile as you have a spectacular panoramic view of the valley and desert. At the visitor center, you can take a short self-guided tour of the Dic Dowen Nature Trail that has much information about the history of the park and surrounding area. The park includes 27 picnic sites with tables and bbq grills, with ramadas for protection from the sun and heat. You will also find pit toilets and water located around the picnic area.

    Edwards Air Force Base
    Edwards AFB Lancaster, CaliforniaThe Edwards Air Force Base in Edwards, California has been the home of the brave for many decades now and was named for one such man, test pilot Glen Edwards, who, along with five other crew members died on June 5, 1948 northwest of the base while testing the YB-49 Flying Wing. It has been designated as the Air Force Test Flight Center and is home to the 412th Test Wing, NASA's Dryden Flight Research Center and the United States Air Force Test Pilot School. Just about all of the military aircraft that has been produced was tested in some way since the 1950s at the base, with numerous breakthroughs taking place because of these important and life saving tests. The base has been set next to Rogers Dry Lake, a desert salt pan, with hard dry lake surface being a perfect extension to the ends of the base's runways, and allows for extra landing space. Add the almost perfect weather to that and you have the reason why the base was constructed here and why it is still located here. The lake itself has been made a National Historic Landmark and some of the most well known events that have happened here include; the first landings of the Space shuttle, the 1986 around-the-world flight of the Rutan Voyager, test flights of the North American X-15 and Chuck Yeager's famous flight when he broke the sound barrier in the Bell X-1. The base has grown into one of the nation's biggest purchasers of renewable energy, getting 60% of its power from renewable sources, and has become a lead partner in the United States Environmental Protection Agency's Green Power Partnership. Edwards has been around since 1933, when a cadre came here to lay out a bombing range for bomb crews and set up tents. Previous names for the base include; Muroc Lake Bombing and gunnery range, September 1933; Army Air Base, Muroc Lake, 1942; Muroc Army Airfield in 1943, and the Muroc Air Force Base in 1948.

Dollar Rent-A-Car Lancaster

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    Desert Tortoise Natural AreaDesert Tortoise Natural Area Lancaster, California
    The Desert Tortoise Natural Area sits on a 39.5 mile stretch of land northeast of California City, California that has been preserved for the state's reptile, the desert tortoise. It is located at the southwestern edge of the Rand Mountains in the Mojave Desert and contains a marvelous interpretive center to assist visitors and disseminate information to those visitors. The Bureau of Land Management realized the significance of the area and made it an "Area of Critical Environmental Concern" and a "Research Natural Area" in 1980. There are numerous other types of animals located in the area that include the Mohave ground squirrel, badger, jackrabbit, kangaroo rat, desert kit fox, woodrat and coyote. Lizards that have been seen here include the chuckwalla, collared lizard, side-blotched, western whiptail and the leopard lizard; with common birds like the cactus wren, red-tailed hawk, ladderback woodpecker, LeConte's thrasher and ash-throated flycatcher. The types of snakes that you might see here include the sidewinder, coachwhip, gopher and Mohave rattlesnake. The wildlife that thrives here is usually easier to see in the spring, with more than 160 varieties of plants found here including; desert candles, thistle sage, Mohave asters, phacelias, primroses, lupines, blazing stars, coreopsis and many more, with some flowering shrubs like the creosote bush that is well noticed because of its height and abundance, which has become one of the most necessary bushes for existence.

    Arthur B. Ripley Desert Woodland State Park
    Arthur B. Ripley Desert Woodland State Park Lancaster, California
    The Arthur B. Ripley Desert Woodland State Park is located on the westside of Antelope Valley in northern LA county, some 20 miles west of Lancaster, California and 5 miles from the Antelope Valley California Poppy Reserve. Arthur donated the land to the state so that it could protect and preserve its stand of native Joshua trees and junipers that had grown in great abundance all through the valley at one time. Presently, the only remaining parts of these stands are in the valley, with the majority of the other areas being replaced with developments, farms and other uses that stripped the land and forest that had been located there for thousands of years. The Joshua Tree has vital to the cultural history of the valley, giving Native Americans food and fiber for their use. It was added to the list of state parks in 1988, and because of the continuing encroachment of houses and farms, the Joshua tree needed some protection. These trees are actually part of the lily family, and in the early spring months, creamy white blossoms appear on the ends of the Joshua, lasting for several months and continuing to grow larger as the months pass by. Often, as you hike along the trails in the park you will see a beautiful Joshua tree in full blossom surrounded by wildflowers that make a magnificent and majestic sight that should be painted, but since we all aren't artists, we do have cameras to take pictures so that the image lasts much longer.

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May 13, 2011