Although I've driven by Ojai a million times on the drive from Los Angeles to my college in Santa Barbara, I had never actually spent time there. A couple weeks ago, I finally decided to spend a relaxing afternoon exploring Ojai. I didn't really research that much, and figured I would really fly by the seat of my pants (and Yelp)- my standard itinerary for a city or town seems to be food, coffee, bookstore, find some natural beauty, wander, get lost, in no particular order. I got to all of these items on my standard itinerary, and of course, took some photos and had to share my thoughts with you. Here's how I spent my time in Ojai.
Since I got a bit of a late start, the first item on my agenda was lunch. But, because I get distracted, I found a cute little nursery on the way and had to check it out. I remembered that on my way up to Santa Barbara, there were always cool farms and places to buy plants, and this nursery reminded me of when I was in college and would browse around an orchid farm in Goleta. I'm sure it would be fun to check out any of the nurseries in the area (or if you do a little more research than I did), but this one was especially cool because they sold chocolate mint and apple mint! I've had chocolate mint before, and it's delicious, but it was super cool to find an apple mint variety. In retrospect, maybe I should have torn off a little leaf to see how it tastes.
Getting pretty hungry at this point, I finally made it to a popular restaurant in the area, The Farmer & The Cook. Why don't they have a place like this in Topanga? There was lots of colorful, artsy seating outside, and on the inside, was a cute market selling fresh produce, and a separate restaurant seating area. There were a lot of Mexican, raw, and vegan options, and I opted for the huaraches, because I'd never tried them before. I think the Beach Boys mention huarache sandals in their song, "Surfin' U.S.A? That's what it made me think of). They looked so good that another dining patron asked what I ordered- that's one good way to know you ordered well. The chai here was really good too! I spent some time here enjoying my food, the rain, listening to there people's conversations (doesn't everyone do that?), and maybe reading a few pages of my book.
My next plan was to visit a bookshop, but I made a wrong turn and landed at the Ojai Meadows Preserve. It was beautiful, and several locals were bringing their dogs for a hike. I would definitely want to come back here and go for a hike!
Next, I meant to go to the Theosophical bookstore, but it turns out there is a library next to it as well- though it seems like they carry a lot of the same books. I LOVED the architecture of the library- Spanish colonial built in 1924, and then I went over to the bookstore, and picked up a Ram Dass book for myself
After that, I took a drive up where the Meher Mount meditation place is, and these were some of my favorite views of the trip! I didn't realize what beautiful views of California I would find- like out of a postcard. I highly recommend making that drive and checking it out for yourself! Oh, and I saw a chicken walking around, which is always a plus. Of course I tried to be her friend, but she wasn't having it.
It was getting a bit late by this point, so I drove to the main town area, which was super cute, and kind of had Pasadena vibes. I stopped at a popular coffee shop, Beacon Coffee, and got their seasonal spicy Mexican latte.
Then it got dark, so I made my way back to LA. I spent about a good 6 hours in Ojai, and I think it would be worth it to go back and check out the hiking, and the vegan menu options as some of the spas. The pace here is really slow, and the views are really beautiful.
Have you been to Ojai before? Where did you go?
Check out my video to see more of the beautiful views I'm talking about!