I had heard about Ojai for years and finally had a reason to go when my boyfriend and I decided to take a short road trip. A close 1 hour and 30 minutes from LA, the town is a sweet escape from the hustle and bustle of city life. The food is healthier, the nature is more vibrant and the pace is much slower. Overall, it was a great location to reset and recharge. Please see below for some of my recommendations to make the best of your weekend away:
Where to stay?
Caravan Outpost: This "hotel" is the ultimate glamping experience. It features 11 Airstreams all with different names and personalities. My boyfriend and I stayed in Sam, which sleeps up to 4 and is not pet-friendly, but there are others that accommodate dogs. It was a very comfortable caravan with just enough room to prepare food and dance while listening to the record player/vinyl that came with the set up. I am not embarrassed that I danced alone to Donna Summer's "I Feel Love".
Our favorite part of the experience was the bonfire outside that was lit around 6:00pm every night so that guests could cook and/or enjoy a cozy night in. On our first night, we decided to lay low. We stopped by a local supermarket to get some food to prepare "tin foil dinners". My boyfriend was a boy scout and went to sleep-away camp, so this was something he had done many times before. ...But we made sure to save room for dessert - Caravan Outpost provided us with ingredients to make s'mores! We had a perfect stay here! and left feeling completely refreshed.
Where to eat?
Food Harmonics: This restaurant offers Raw + Fresh + Organic food. We ate here for lunch on our first day in Ojai and were helped out by an awesome guy who gave us the full spiel of the restaurant's menu. He recommended the Salad Bowl topped with a Bison Burger (my boyfriend ordered Chicken on top instead) as well as the Raw Vegan Pizza. Both were AMAZING! Overall we spent about $35 for the two of us.
Bonnie Lu's: My boyfriend found this spot after checking Yelp for recommended breakfast spots. It felt very retro, like we'd been transported back to the 1950s. We had a great meal - I ordered the Chorizo & Eggs which was SO GOOD with some hot sauce. My boyfriend ordered the Steak & Eggs, which he also really enjoyed. Overall we spent about $30 for the two of us.
Azu: This restaurant had come as a recommendation from a friend (thanks Ali!) and the food did not disappoint. We ordered Buffalo Fried Cauliflower to share (very spicy, but delicious) and we each ordered a Pita Kebab - I got the Chicken Souvlaki and my boyfriend got the Braised Lamb. For dessert we shared an order of churros which were warm and cinnamon-y! We spent about $65 for the two of us.
There were some other restaurants & bars that were recommended to us that we never had the opportunity to check out, hopefully we'll be back to do so soon: Boccali's, Deer Lodge, Farmer and the Cook (organic market), Osteria Monte Grappa, Revel Kombucha Bar.
What to do?
- Tastings: Casa Barranca for Wine Tasting, Ojai Olive Oil (just a heads up that the tour is <5 minutes and only indoors. But the olive oil and balsamic vinegars are really delicious)
- Shopping & Browsing: Bart's Books, Treasures of Ojai Antique Shop, Sunday Farmers' Market
- Walking/Biking: Ojai Valley Trail, explore the downtown area and walk on E. Ojai Ave and E. Matilija St
- Self-Care: The Day Spa of Ojai (we absolutely loved our experience here. The masseuses were very professional and listened to all of our requests. We opted for the Chief Peak Sweetheart Connection which started with a relaxing 30-minute foot bath and ended with a 60-minute massage. The prices were great and the setting was relaxing. Highly recommend!)