Ojai makes you forget that you're only 75 miles outside of Los Angeles. Its main street is dotted with local businesses that often have their owners behind the counter, and you can see the mountains from anywhere you stand.
"Ojai is one-of-a-kind, there is no other town like it," Kathy Hartley, the innkeeper at Ojai's charming Lavender Inn and Spa, tells Citizine. "The setting is breathtaking and seems European with a mild Mediterranean climate. When I hike, I feel like I'm looking down on a Tuscan tapestry with the orange and Pixie tangerine groves, olive and avocado trees."
Image courtesy of Michael Mcfadden
Image courtesy of Larry Emerson
The breathtaking beauty of the town combined with its tight and welcoming community has brought a unique community to the area. "The town is a spa oasis and along with that comes a culture of health-minded locals," Kathy continued. "The availability of outdoor adventures again lends itself to a culture of outdoor enthusiasts of both locals and tourists. This is also true of the artist community."
You can find the soul of Ojai in the Lavender Inn. Originally built in 1874 as a schoolhouse, it transitioned into a family home, before becoming a bed and breakfast in 1995. At the heart of the inn is its staff whose gifts include some great culinary skills. They're constantly cooking up breakfast specialties that are best enjoyed on the back patio with a coffee in hand while sharing stories with the other guests. Inside the inn, you'll also find beer on tap and a small day spa out front that's popular with locals and visitors alike.
Image courtesy of Joe Virnig
In the Field
Nutmeg's Ojai HouseKH: This is one of my go-to shops to buy from the vast selection of cards and reasonably-priced but unique gifts.
AZU Restaurant & Ojai Valley Brewery
Knead Baking Company
Tipple and Ramble
Topa Mountain Winery
Header image courtesy of Joe Virnig