Local Weekend Getaways – Exploring Ojai
Welcome to the second entry in a new series of articles we are showcasing, Local Weekend Getaways, in which we will take you, the reader, on a mystical journey to cozy hideaways within driving distance from Woodland Hills. When it comes to our cherished weekends, all we want to do is kick off our stiletto heels, loosen up that Brooks Brothers tie, unzip that tailor-made business skirt suit and escape from the wickedly hectic week we just left behind. And while the traditional methods of decompressing from work weeks such as these are still effective – heading to our favorite restaurants, curling up with a book, perhaps catching a flick at the local cinema – sometimes we just need to physically remove ourselves from our everyday environment.
That’s where a weekend getaway comes in – and we have plenty of options for you to consider if you’re looking to escape the hustle and bustle of your immediate community, yet stay within the boundary lines of Woodland Hills. The following locales represent our suggestions for places to stay, places to eat and drink and things to do in Ojai, a city in Ventura County in the Ojai Valley just northwest of Los Angeles and east of Santa Barbara, so if you’ve been looking for that respite in the midst of your stress-filled schedule, your weekends will be very well taken care of.
Places to Stay in Ojai
Caravan Outpost offers 11 exclusive and beautifully-curated Airstream trailers for daily or weekly accommodations in a delightful “garden-in-the-city” setting. Described as a “creative and consciously-driven community,” Caravan Outpost remains a destination within close proximity to Woodland Hills that allows you to wander, learn and experience special places in a unique way – all with a “caravan” of creative people. This special getaway also brings together thought leaders, artists, musicians, chefs, photographers, writers, co-educators and influencers of all types.Caravan Outpost is located at 317 Bryant Street in Ojai.
Ojai Valley Inn & Spa was established in 1923 and remains a classic escape and historic California resort of casual elegance, featuring luxurious graciously-appointed accommodations, the internationally-acclaimed Spa Ojaiand a championship golf course. For eight decades, the Ojai Valley Inn & Spa has been viewed as a sophisticated getaway emanating the feel of a private country estate, with the property receiving a $90 million renovation in the spring of 2005 and being awarded the coveted Five Diamond Award for excellence. To experience one of the finest resorts in North America, head over to 905 Country Club Road in Ojai.
Ojai Rancho Inn was established in 1970, eventually acquired by the Shelter Social Club in July 2012 to enhance the rustic charm of the property. Ojai Rancho Inn offers this rustic feel and décor with 10 jacuzzi rooms and five kitchenette-equipped rooms available, pool and sauna room, large-screen HDTVs with satellite cable in every room, friendly staff, pet-friendly accommodations and free use of Linus bicycles to cruise a few short blocks to downtown Ojai. This beautiful getaway is located at 615 West Ojai Avenue.
Places to Eat and Drink in Ojai
The Ojai Beverage Company was established in 2007 as a place to educate and entertain consumers in all aspects of beer, wine, liquor and food. Ojai native Jorge Alem and his cousin Joby M. Yobe found themselves essentially born into the liquor business, and in so doing have transformed their thirst for life into a quest to become widely-respected experts on the finest adult beverages in the world; as such, the OBC has become a go-to spot for connoisseurs of fine alcoholic beverages to enjoy at home or during a visit to the on-premises tasting room. Gourmet pub fare is served alongside these delectable beers, wines and liquors. The Ojai Beverage Company is located at 655 East Ojai Avenue.
Osteria Monte Grappa is known as a “ItalAgriGastroBar” and serves dinner nightly Sunday through Thursday 5:30 pm to 9:00 pm and Friday and Saturday from 5:30 pm to 9:30 pm, and lunch daily from 11:30 am to 3:00 pm. Among the favorites, Ojai residents routinely return for are the spaghetti squash with meat sauce, beef ravioli, mint and herb pappardelle and fresh, delicate salad greens. If you’re looking for a perfect spot to eat and drink while in the midst of your Ojai getaway, put Osteria Monte Grappa on the top of your list. The restaurant is located at 242 East Ojai Avenue.
Ojai Deer Lodge was established in 1932 and has been serving up the authentic Ojai experience for over eight decades, including great locally-sourced grass-fed steaks and American classics made with the most premium of Ojai farm-sourced ingredients. For your imbibing pleasure, Ojai Deer Lodge features 20 craft brews on draft, sourced from California and Oregon, as well as a plethora of wines made up of local Ojai and regional varieties. This place has it all – farm-to-table menu items featuring organic grass-fed local beef, contemporary interpretations on American classics and veggie/vegan options, all served in a warm and friendly lodge-esque atmosphere. Ojai Deer Lodge is located at 2261 Maricopa Highway.
Things to Do in Ojai
Meditation Mount was established in 1971 by Florence Garrigue for the purpose of fostering group meditation as a “service to humanity,” and has grown into a flourishing nonprofit organization to promote the building of an enlightened and compassionate world through the power of creative meditation, inspirational educational programs and community-based events focused on the practical application of universal spiritual principles. The venue is open to the public Wednesday through Sunday from 8:30 am to sunset, and offers an International Garden of Peace, Meditation Room, Reading Room and gift shop to explore. More information regarding regularly-scheduled programs and meditation sessions can be found on Meditation Mount’s website. This unique getaway is located at 10340 Reeves Road.
Ojai Valley Trail Riding Company offers horseback riding for the beginner to the advanced on the Ventura River Preserve as well as lessons, pony rides and custom rides year round. Beautiful views with sweeping vistas, river crossings and forests to ride through add thoughtful touches, and customers can ride at sunset to view the famous “Pink Monument” in Ojai. Parties from two to 20 can be accommodated, and reservations are recommended. Ojai Valley Trail Riding Company is located at 1290 Meyer Road.
Summer Camp was established in 2013 by an eclectic group of framers, artists and collectors having worked in custom framing for 10 years in West Los Angeles. Located in a charming mid-century gas station, Summer Camp offers custom picture framing, handmade frames, reclaimed wood frames, vintage items, home décor and lifestyle goods, as well as a variety of frame samples and options. Whether it’s your child’s artwork, a poster or fine art, the experts here are experienced and ready to help, offering framing for every budget and a quick turnaround time. Combining a love for mid-century memorabilia, camping and the great outdoors, Summer Camp’s owners carefully select every item and strive to support local and American-made products. The shop is located at 1020 West Ojai Avenue.
As a tourism destination bubbling over with boutique hotels and recreational opportunities including hiking, spiritual retreats and farmers’ market offerings on Sundays with local organic agriculture, Ojai has instilled a city law to encourage local small business development – not chain stores – to keep the town unique. If this isn’t enough to encourage you to consider it for your next weekend getaway, think of the way Ojai is nestled quaintly in the Topatopa Mountains of central Ventura County with the Los Padres National Forest to the north…in other words, its sweeping beauty and charm should knock you off your sore feet.