It has been a very busy and challenging (get to that in the next post) year but I finally decided to pick this blog back up and let you all know about a wonderful little oasis in California called Ojai, overlooking the beautiful Topa Topa mountains.
I needed to plan a vacation – long over due. In August I had 2 weekends in a row I had to be in LA. I decided to figure out a spot to vacation driving distance from LA for the week in between. Ojai – a very small town in the hills just south and east of Santa Barbara – is a beautiful, spiritual and quiet place to unplug. It’s also a very pet friendly place I came to find out, so the hound was THRILLED.
Stayed at the Capri Hotel, this darling renovated mid-century hotel that didn’t look like much on the outside but was a wonderful (pet friendly) surprise inside! The rooms were clean and spacious with a little patio so the dog could relax in the sun. They also have a huge grassy area off the patio that was approved for off leash fun!
We hiked every day and found new great trails all around the town. The main street is like a mile long… maybe 2 max. It’s filled with coffee shops, restaurants, little boutiques and parks. Stopped in for lunch at Suzanne’s Cuisine the first day and enjoyed a beautiful caprese salad and tuna crostini. The next night I tried a local mexican joint, Casa de Lago, that had fantastic margaritas! The food was fine and resulted in usual mexi-coma effect after. Then next night I walked into Osteria Monte Grappa and took a seat at the bar.
The friendly bartender made me the special cocktail of the eve using locally grown pixie tangerines, vodka and lemon juice – I added a little basil to it for a finishing touch. Yum! Chatted with some other locals sitting next to me and enjoyed the homemade raviolis.
Ojai is great, you can do so much with so many activities so close. One afternoon I went down to the beach, about a 30 min drive, just south of Santa Barbara and met some friends and enjoyed the sand.
Another afternoon I had to go check out the famous Ojai Valley Inn where I took a golf lesson and enjoyed a salad in the bar afterward. Not sure I’d recommend eating there as a caesar salad and a glass of wine came out to almost $50 (including tip) but it was the experience I was paying for. The golf lesson was fantastic and well worth the cost.
Another key find was this little massage parlor just next to the hotel called the Bamboo Creek Spa. Another ‘not so much from the outside’ vibe but the massage was fantastic and cost couldn’t be beat! $60 (included tip) for 60 minutes! Unheard of!
So if you’re in California and looking for a great little weekend getaway look into Ojai – especially if you have a dog that also loves vacations…