I’m not sure where my desire to take a trip to Ojai, California originated. Perhaps it came to me in a dream, or it was mentioned by one my favorite bloggers. Likely the latter. But when work brought me up to Ventura, I knew that this was the time I could finally scratch my Ojai itch!
Ojai is a beautiful town situated in a Ventura County valley that is roughly about 10 miles long. The population is just above 8,200 people, however it is a thriving tourism destination for Yuppies, spiritual seekers, and nature enthusiasts alike.
I should also take this moment to tell you guys that I didn’t go on this trip alone, but with my boyfriend, Dangermin.
Yes, you read that right, I have a boyfriend! And yes, his name is Danger. Contrary to that, he is a total sweetheart that is always down for an adventure. We have been dating for about 6 months after meeting at CRSSD, and it’s been great getting to have someone to explore and “Do Life” with. I have loved getting to know him, and myself, through this relationship.
Anyway..for this trip, we decided to get an AirBNB instead of a hotel. Ojai is known for it’s lush spa resorts- but those come with resort prices that I didn’t really feel up for shelling out. AirBnB is actually banned in Ojai proper, so we stayed with our lovely host, Chayo, about 3 miles outside of the town. You can see her listing here, which was actually half the price of any hotel in the area. The weather in Ojai is very Mediterranean, so the temperatures are hot AF this time of year. Chayo’s spot was ideal because she had a pool we could cool off in anytime.
Admittedly, we were really tired once we got into town (Dangermin came from San Diego which took a brutal four hours on a Friday afternoon). Because of this, we stayed in our first night to drink some local Ojai beer and played a few hilarious rounds of Adult Charades. You guys, this game was SO much fun, even with two people. I highly recommend adding it to your boozy board game repertoire. You can buy it here.
After our night in, we woke up early and well-rested on Saturday morning ready to take over the town!
Our first activity of the day was a bike ride across Ojai. Ojai is extremely bike-friendly (even for someone that hasn’t been on a bike in a few years). The Ojai Valley Trail is a 9 mile trail that begins in West Ventura and ends at Fox Street in Ojai. It was totally moderate and if I can do it, you can do it. We stopped for some air conditioning and a cold coconut water halfway through our ride at Caravan Outpost, the cutest (and only) Airstream campground I have ever seen. Much to our dismay, on our way back to the AirBnB Danger got a flat tire, and then I proceeded to right after. Ugh. No advice on how to avoid this one, friends. Nonetheless, bike stores are abundant in Ojai and we got ourselves moving again pretty quickly.
After getting ourselves cleaned up, we started our afternoon with beers at the Topa Topa Brewery. They have a lil bit of everything on tap, but I really enjoyed the Dos Lager. Inside Topa Topa is Sama Sama, a restaurant that specializes in Southeastern Asian food with locally sourced ingredients. We ordered the watermelon salad and the “Crack Wings” which was the perfect meal to hold us over.
Post beers, I went on to what I do best- shopping! Downtown Ojai has a selection of a Few cute boutiques that were all beckoning me to spend my money. And so, I gladly did. Kariella was my favorite stop by far. It was here that I bought a beautiful kimono and Dangermin treated himself to a yummy pumpkin candle he couldn’t stop thinking about. See what I mean? Nothing dangerous about this lovable man of mine. 😉
Ojai is home to so many rad local businesses, including a women-owned dispensary called Sespe Creek Collective. I went in mainly out of curiosity, but actually ended up grabbing some CBD goodies because it was so cute and welcoming inside. I am a sucker for a well-designed atmosphere! After this, we ended up at Heavenly Honey where we spent three dollars to do a honey tasting. The lavender honey was the fave! And as if we weren’t sugared up enough after this, we decided to grab a glass of wine at Majestic Oak Vineyards. Before long, I realized none other than Hilary Duff was sitting at the table right behind me. Too cool! But seriously, how is one supposed to act when they realize THE celebrity of their childhood is at the same winery as them? Taking any advice because I totally did NOT keep my cool, haha!
At this point, we were starting to feel the #local spirit, so we decided to attend the concert happening at Libbey Bowl. It just so happened that the band War was playing. Now I had absolutely no idea who that was, but was soon excitedly informed by my boyfriend that they were the band who sang the “All my friends know the low rider” song. What kind of American would I be if I didn’t agree to go?
After the show ended, we headed on over to a local favorite, The Nest, for dinner. The Nest is an American restaurant with an eclectic menu that was recommended to us several times over. It was created by Ojai native Kiona Wachter, who I found out also created my favorite Ventura taco spot, Beach House Tacos. At The Nest, we ordered The Tireman, a sandwich comprised of smoked brisket, chimichurri, cheese and mayo on a French baguette. Yum!
To end our Saturday night in Ojai, we headed to Sexy Soul Saturday at Ojai Harvest. The night was advertised on flyers all across town as being Ojai’s “only late night dance spot”. Anyone that knows us knows that we would NOT miss out on that! Well, while the crowd size was modest and the sexiest dancing we did was to “YMCA”…it was the perfect way to end our trip. And if there is anything I’ve learned lately, it’s not what you’re doing, but who you’re doing it with.
If you are looking to visit Ojai, please do it and take me with you! I felt so peaceful and at ease in this “Outskirts Chic” town, and cannot recommend it enough. Keep in mind everything is a bit more expensive up there, but it’s so worth it to enjoy a reprieve from the So Cal hustle and bustle.