The spiritual hub of Ojai is hands down one of my favourite LA getaways. Tucked up in the mountains above Santa Barbara, this gem of a town has everything one wants when escaping the big city; silence, fresh air, beautiful mountains and a spiritually charged energy. Not to mention delicious organic food, accessible hikes, yoga, hot springs, a Meditation mountain and great shopping. Yes, it sounds like a paradox but the town has the perfect balance.
A few years back, after having spent a couple of days solo at the Ojai Rancho Inn, I was so happy and recharged that I promised myself to treat myself to at least one solo retreat a year from then on. My experience in Ojai made me wonder why I hadn’t started this brilliant tradition years ago! I’ve kept that promise to myself ever since and can conclude that a place which inspires you to spend time with yourself is definitely a place to hold close to your heart. I recently returned with family and friends and discovered that Ojai is just as great of a getaway whether solo or travelling in a group. Good spa and restaurant experiences abound and the quaint town can easily be explored by foot. A great big park and playground in the center of town will give tired legs a rest and keep toddlers and older kids entertained.
Palo Santo: the holy wood.
Chances are you will smell the fresh scent of burning Palo Santo, aka Holy Wood sticks, when roaming around town. The mystical tree grows on the coast of South America and has become a frequent atmosphere enhancer in many serene places in California. The wood, which comes in many forms (sticks, essential oils, perfume, candles etc) is said to hold healing and relaxing properties and smells heavenly. Don’t shy away from it. You are in the perfect spot for mixing serenity and adventure so take deep breaths and get down with the Ojai vibes.
Ojai Rancho Inn
To stay here is like dying and going to Motel Heaven! Down to earth, cosy yet sophisticated and with a great bar to boot. It’s one of my favourite places to stay in California. Their bar Chief’s Peak is definitely worth visiting even if you’re staying elsewhere. This is where the coolest locals come to enjoy great music and a superb wine selection.
Ojai Valley inn
If you feel like a more glamorous resort experience, Ojai Valley Inn is the place for you. The hotel’s grounds with several restaurants and a well renowned spa is absolutely stunning. This is the I-want-everything-within-my-reach treatment in full effect. If you just want a little taste of it, admiring it while having lunch or dinner is a good option. You can also book treatments and visit the spa without having to stay at the hotel.
FOOD // DRINK
Farmer and the Cook
An fantastic Organic food haven with a delicious Mexican food style café, grocery store and bakery all in one. Sit outdoors and listen to the locals mingle while getting fresh produce and take out. Keep your eyes open, a little bit down the road there’s great coffee to be had at Coffee Connection.
Serving excellent and responsibly grown coffee that makes my picky coffee brain come back for more several times a day. I really recommend having your breakfast here as well. Their semi-soft crisp bread with avocado and egg is truly to die for! Beacon coffee also hosts coffee classes where you can learn how to make the most of your coffee at home.
The great wine and beer bar at Ojai Rancho Inn. See above.
Everything I’ve had a the Nest has been absolutely delicious. Healthy but tasty bowls and fun dishes. A great place for dining in or taking out. It’s very popular so call in advance to avoid the wait for take out.
The most wonderful store that also runs crafts classes where you can learn how to knit or sew. A very exciting discovery for me was that Cattywampus share the building with the great Beacon Coffee so you can easily take a shopping break and have top notch coffee and other delicious things. cattywampuscrafts.com/
Custom framing, vintage, home & lifestyle goods in an old Gas station. It’s hard to beat that combo. shopsummercamp.com/
Dekor & CO
A interior design store with lots of beautifully selected things from all over the world. A slight Scandianvian touch. You can also find another Dekor stor in Atwater village in LA.
THINGS TO DO
Ojai has lots of beautiful hikes. I recommend the “Shelf Road” hike which is easy and includes great views of the Ojai valley along the way.
Meditate or Vegitate
Visit meditation Mountain , meditate or bring a picnic and enjoy the view. Just check their opening hours before you go, the hours are limited certain days.
Bathe in hot springs