Discovering Ojai: A 4-Day Dream Getaway

Discovering Ojai: A 4-Day Dream Getaway

Twelve miles inland from the Pacific Ocean, the city of Ojai lies in a small valley, north of Ventura and east of Santa Barbara. Arrive at sunset and theres magic afoot. As Ojai is aligned with an east-west mountain range, its one of a few spots on earth that have a “Pink Moment.” Just as the sun vanishes over the Topatopa Mountains, vivid pinks streak the sky.

Want to see what other kinds of magic await in Ojai? Plan to stay a while.

Featured Photo: Courtesy of Ojai Valley Inn
Photo: Courtesy of Ojai Valley Inn

DAY 1: Tuning into the Spirit of Ojai

Iconic accommodations can be had at The Ojai Valley Inn. The resort is pure romance with 220 sprawling acres, Spanish colonial-style architecture, beautiful pools, and a first-rate golf course.

Then theres the award-winning Spa Ojai. Look for the Moroccan fountain, 50-foot bell tower, and outdoor fireplace that herald the entrance to the 31,000-square-foot spa. More than decadent treatments wait to be experienced here. Guests are encouraged to tap into their artistic sides with classes in mandala stone painting, macrame, candlemaking, and more at the Artist Cottage & Apothecary. Other wellness experiences to undertake: sound energy therapy and meditating in kuyam. Spend the rest of the day sacked out by one of the spas two pools.
Photo: Courtesy of Bart's Books

Day 2: The Maze of Books

An ideal way to take in Ojai Valley Trail along with the villages 12 blocks of shops, art galleries, and restaurants is via bicycle. With this in mind, park your car, stash the keys, and rent a bike from Bicycles of Ojai.

Not to be missed while exploring is a stop at the 1964-established Barts Books. Tucked under a 420-year-old Oak tree, the outdoor used bookstore delights with nooks to be discovered at every turn.

Where to dine like an East End local? Boccalis on Ojai Avenue. Going four generations strong, the “Original Ojai Italian” fare is created from the family recipes of owners Marilyn and DeWayne Boccali. Not to miss: the hand-tossed pizzas, fresh pasta, and famous homestyle strawberry shortcake

Photo: Anne Preble via Unsplash

Day 3: A Foodie's Day in Paradise

Aromatic breezes tinged with lemons, oranges, grapefruits, and tangerines are a reminder that Ojai sits in a valley occupied with citrus groves. To experience some of Ojais locally-grown ingredients in person, drive through the upper valley on State 150, a narrow farm road that runs through the orchards.

Inspired by natures bounty, head over to the Ojai Culinary School, located inside The Lavender Inn. Class offerings from Ojais artisanal chefs range from olive oil tastings to instruction on how to brine and roast a holiday turkey.

If in town on a Sunday, dont miss Ojai Farmers Market for partaking in fresh produce, chicken tamales, and bracing shots of wheatgrass. Also worth a visit is the Casa Barranca Tasting Room, located in downtown Ojai’s historic arcade. This certified organic winery offers wine flights guaranteed to wet ones whistle.

Photo: Fluxfactory iStock

Day 4: Commune with Nature

Pack an organic picnic with items from Rainbow Bridge Market and head for the hills. A hike to undertake: the  8-mile Pratt Trail Loop leading to Nordhoff Ridge. Each footstep brings spectacular views of the Ojai Valley, coastal mountains, and the Channel Islands. Bring water and an extra layer or two for protection from the wind on the ridge.

If the Pratt Loop seems a bit too ambitious, check out the three-mile roundtrip walk to  Ojai Hot Springs (aka Ecotopia) in Matilija Canyon. Settle in for a soak and let the mineral waters go to work soothing body, mind, and spirit.

Yet another way to hit the trails is with a two-hour horseback ride through Ojai Valley Trail Riding Company. The guides are experts at providing a rewarding, personalized experience. Another perk: plenty of amazing Ojai vistas.

As the getaways final day draws to an end, a cocktail at Ojai Valley Inns Wallace Neff Heritage Bar is in order. Select a creation reflective of the stay. Something with citrus, perhaps like the Pixie Margarita. What to toast to? Operation Romance in Ojai: mission accomplished.

                                                      Want more travel inspiration and tips from locals?
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