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Ric Romero's one-tank getaway: San Fernando Valley

July 7, 2011 12:00:00 AM PDT
Fifty years ago the San Fernando Valley was mostly orange groves. Today it is home to several sprawling neighborhoods. But in those neighborhoods are some of the best-kept secret places the whole family can enjoy.

The Nethercutt Collection is located inside a tall, brownish non-descript building on Bledsoe Street in Sylmar.

"Everything in here is a mechanical, musical instrument," said curator Kyle Irwin. "They're called 'orchestrians.' We have music boxes, nickelodeons, reproducing pianos, and the third-largest theater pipe organ in the world."

Also at the Nethercutt is one of the finest car collections you will ever see. It's in a separate building right across the street from the music collection.

If you think hybrid vehicles are something new, think again. Featured at the Nethercutt is a 1921 Owen Electric. The engine is gasoline, but the transmission is all electric.

The Nethercutt Museum of Cars is open Tuesday through Saturday and admission is free. The collection of mechanical musical instruments is also free, by reservation only.

Not too far from the collection is one of the best-preserved California missions, the Mission San Fernando Rey de Espana, on Mission Drive. At the mission is the Bob Hope Memorial Grounds where, beneath a replica of the Hollywood Bowl, is the burial site of the famous comedian.

Need a sweet treat? At a strip mall on Vanowen Street and Winnetka Avenue in the Woodland Hills area is Nory Locum, makers of Turkish delight confections, also known as locum. Locum is a soft, jelly candy that consists mainly of sugar and water; it does not contain any gelatin. Nory Locum owner Armand Sahakian described it as "the center or the heart of a jelly bean."

The Sahakian family says just ring the bell on the door and mention ABC7 to get $1 off a pound of locum.

Another hidden gem in the valley is the Gordon R. Howard Museum on Lomita Street in Burbank.

"They say it's Burbank's best kept secret," said Carey Briggs, president of the Burbank Historical Society. "We have treasures here from the studios, from Lockheed, from early Jim Jeffries, hot rodding."

In the museum you'll see a wedding dress made from a World War II parachute and interactive exhibits. It's open 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. Saturdays and Sundays only. Admission is free.

For a combination of beauty and education, visit the Japanese Garden at the Tillman Water Reclamation Plant on Woodley Avenue in Van Nuys. The 6.5-acre garden will take you away from the outside world of stress, pressure and freeway traffic. But the gardens also teach guests about conserving water.

Admission is $3 for adults, $2 for seniors and children.

The San Fernando Valley is a busy place but it's full of ways to relax, making it a terrific one-tank getaway.  

  Special for ABC7 viewers

Mention ABC7 at Nory Locum and get $1 off a pound of locum.


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