how to get there,
where to stay,
what to eat,
and what to do.
Ojai charmed me this weekend.
The landscape combined with the people makes it one of the most enchanting places I’ve been.
It’s the best of America’s small towns combined with the beauty of being connected to a larger world.
I’d go back next weekend if I could.
Ojai is a very beautiful and easy 90 min drive from LA.
2 days is enough to feel like you’ve truly had a holiday.
I’m distraught that I didn’t figure this out 10 years ago!
There are 2 great places to stay in Ojai,
We chose the Ojai Valley Inn & Spa and it was as close to perfection as any hotel I’ve stayed at. It’s not cheap but it’s worth it. They’re extremely pet friendly as well, which made Quinn very happy!
Lunch – Knead
The mother and daughter that run this lovely spot take great pride in their thoughtful treats. We saw them both days and quite possibly spent more time and money with them than anyone else. 5 packs of handmade crackers are a must, right? Now I’ve got to throw a cocktail party now just to use them!
Dinner – Azu
Breakfast – Ojai Farmers Market
Lunch – Boccali’s
This is on the side of the road and isn’t really a site, but it did provide a first Ojai smile at the idea of art meeting small town America. It was perfection.
Ron is amazing; he walked us through the entire process of importing, grafting, and growing the trees. Then sorted through the process of picking, packing, processing, finishing, and bottling. It was a treat to hear about his adventures with Olives. The oil itself is wonderful and worthy of the best from Italy and Spain.
Normally I find these corny, and living off Mulholland in the Hollywood Hills leaves me navigating tourists on a daily basis. You should stop here, climb onto the stone pillar holding the explanatory plaque and you’ll see the whole valley laid out in front of you. It’s magical.
6 weeks a year you can go harvest your own lavender. I chose the cooking variety. In the coming days will attempt to re-create the only pudding on the planet that I can’t get enough of. The chocolate pudding at Perry Street, with crystallized lavender on top…wish me luck!
We were headed to lunch when we saw the sign, “the pottery studio” and a quick u-turn later we were back spending the good part of an hour with Larry Carnes. He’s a master potter who knows more about clay than I’m going to guess just about anyone on the planet. His work is entertaining and the vessels are addictive, I walked away with 5. If you’re lucky enough to get to spend 8 weeks in Ojai you can have Larry teach you his secrets.
There are wonderful trails in Ojai, and bikes can be rented. It’s well worth it!
The trails in Ojai are many and fine. This is a great way to start your morning.
The farmers market in Ojai is of very high standards; there are no fakers here. The market is very well thought out and quite diverse, every stall I stopped at was directly farm owned and staffed. I resisted the bounty of beautiful perishable items due to the impending drive back to LA, but still managed to walk away with a good bit of loot….local honey, the best market basket ever from Ghana, more treats from Knead, Sugar Scrub, Organic Herbal Teas and Persimmon Walnut Nougat. Ron is at the farmers market on Sunday’s with his oils, we got the pleasure of sharing a photo with Ron that we’d taken while at Larry’s Pottery studio the day before. It was of some lovely dipping plates that Larry had fashioned for Ron to sell at the olive oil farm. Larry was wickedly proud when he shared his secret. “Ron doesn’t know yet but I’ve got dipping plates for him.” we loved getting to break the surprise to Ron the next day, and hopefully help the venture along with our enthusiastic delivery.
It’s worth a no destination meander through the downtown area, you won’t get lost and you may just find a wonderful surprise…
This place is fab, it’s an open-air bookstore, how impractical. I love it! There’s a sign on the door about how to pay for the books permanently installed on the outside, yes outside of the building. This is a theme in Ojai, there are produce stands spattered about with the honor system for payment, it’s refreshing to think that this is still possible in America in 2010. Bart’s is the best used bookstore I’ve seen, it’s huge since it covers the whole property including the small house that I am guessing was the original structure on the property. There are rows and rows of books on almost any subject you can imagine, I picked up a book I’d never seen before on hand tufted rugs. Tip…if you go, buy the tote that is pictured below. It’s perfect, and I resisted. I’m still kicking myself! I’ll just have to use it as an excuse to visit again very soon!