Ojai has been a great weekend getaway for Angelenos
and was long
thought to be the ideal place for a second home. Recently, however, we
are seeing a new trend: professionals who choose to keep their main
home in Ojai and who commute to Los Angeles.
ultimately, Ojai's charm is found in its diversity: it's not just all
celebrities and executives -- there are bohemian artists, laborers,
teachers, and all kinds of good folks from all walks of life who seem
to comingle in Ojai's relaxed and easy atmosphere.
Below is a list of my most favorite Ojai excursions -- please leave your own personal favorites in the comments section!1. Walk the Trail.
run, or bike “The Trail.” Though it sits on the edge of Los Angeles,
the Ojai Valley has retained its rural charm. Part of that charm is the
rail-trail that travels all the way down to Ventura, passing broad open
spaces and offering stellar mountain views along the way.2. Take a Yoga Class.
At Lulu Bandha’s. They actually have a class called, “Stiff White Guys,” and several gentle classes for beginners.3. Breakfast at Rainbow Bridge.
the morning, they offer organic scrambled eggs, free-range turkey
links, and oatmeal at their food counter. A scrumptious way to begin
the day, and many locals do -- which is why the breakfast food is
usually all gone by 10am!4. Hike Shelf Road.
fairly simple hike that overlooks Ojai Valley. Take Signal road until
the trail head. Frequented by families and dog walkers. Bring water and
wear walking shoes, but this hike is not very difficult. There is a
bench at the most scenic part of the hike that overlooks the entire
valley. Orange trees line the hike.5. Lunch at Jim&Rob’s Fresh Grill.
I like to grab their Vegetarian Burrito (“cut in half, hold the chips”). They offer a selection of salsas.6. Stroll the Arcade Plaza and Libby Park.
is the part of town with whitewash mission architecture (most of it
built in 1917), bell towers, and all of the little galleries, shops,
and cafes on East Ojai Avenue. Behind the “arcade” is a plaza that has
a grassy area, benches, and tiled arches. Across and in front of the
arcade is Libby Park, with its lovely Spanish fountain and oak trees,
gazebo, and a play area for kids. The park also has 8 really nice
public tennis courts toward the back. Look up and east at dusk and you
might witness Ojai's famous "pink moment" (see photo, top).7. Visit the Ojai Valley Museum and Visitor’s Center.
can pop in and obtain maps, brochures, and flyers on local areas of
interest and special events. The museum looks like a mission (complete
with tower, though not to be confused with the famous post office tower
just two blocks east), and there is a nice courtyard in front. The
friendly folks inside can offer suggestions and answer your questions,
plus they sell maps of the hiking trails in the area. The museum is
filled with local artists' work and various small exhibits.8. Ride the Trolley.
Ojai Trolley Service is a well-known feature in the Ojai Valley and
owned and operated by the City. The trolley provides daily fixed-route
transportation to approximately 9,000 riders per month. I believe the
cost is still 50 cents (bring exact change) and begins at 7:15am at
Ojai Ave at Signal St (look “up” for the Trolley Sign) and picks up
there every hour after that. Each route is about an hour. Nothing
earth-shattering here, but it's a good way to get a "lay of the land"
if you're new to Ojai.9. Sunday Morning Farmer’s Market.
On Matilija, from 9am to 2pm. Enjoyable! We like the raw chocolate and the fresh-cut lavender.10. Browse Bart’s Books.
charming outdoor bookstore (you can’t miss it) that is fun to browse
(302 W. Matilija), unless you’re very allergic to book dust.