Venturing to Ventura

That’s where I spent a couple of relaxing days earlier this week. Ventura isn’t the most exciting beach town, and that’s what I was looking for — a place that would be much cooler than the Inland Valley, with a beach, and not overrun with tourists. In those respects, Ventura was a winner.

One question: Is the city’s name pronounced Ven-tura or Ven-chura? More on that in a moment.

At a record shop, I finally broke down and bought a used copy of America’s “Greatest Hits.” It’s a CD I’ve eyed warily for years, the ’70s band being a guilty pleasure, one I was cautious of making official. Seeing the disc for $8, and thinking on my drive the day earlier about that ol’ Ventura highway that was the subject of one of their songs, I chuckled and figured the time was right.

“Ventura Highway” came up just as I was entering the freeway to return home. The disc, by the way, was about what I’d expected: Neil Young Lite, plus the uncommonly (for them) exciting “Sister Golden Hair,” plus (ugh) “Muskrat Love.” But on balance I’m glad I have it.

Now, back to the pronunciation. I’d concluded some time ago the correct way was Ven-tura, but I’m not sure why. The name was never said by anyone during my stay and, having assumed the matter was settled, it didn’t occur to me to ask around.

On my way out of town, though, I was shocked to discover that America, as official a band as the city has, pronounced the name Ven-chura.

Since my return, SoCal natives among my colleagues to whom I mentioned my destination have said the name both ways. I dunno. How do you say Ventura?

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