Escape to Ojai

06/11/2013

Ojai

Ojai is more than a vacation or a getaway. It’s a hide out. In fact, Al Capone and Yoko and John all hid out here to escape the craziness (or the Feds). After my weekend in Ojai, I would describe it as going to your grandma’s house. There was a sense of safety, comfort, and peace that is difficult to find these days.

I stayed at the Casa Ojai, which was quaint, budget friendly, and quiet. Everyone was extremely nice, accommodating, and excited to tell you what to see and do. It was comfortable and a break from LA, without being over done.

Once I settled in, I walked to the center of town (which took about 5 minutes). Everyone said hello as you pass and was eager to help you with anything you need. The downtown, which sits among the fields of oranges, is full of thrift stores, restaurants, art and not one stop light to be seen. There is not a speck of garbage anywhere and people take there time. There is a real sense of enjoying life. One the way back, I stopped off at what would soon become my daily venture, Westridge Market. They smoked their meats Thursday through the weekend and it was possibly the best ribs I have ever had. Again, they were the sweetest people and I could have hung out chatting all day.

 

One restaurant I had the pleasure of going to was Azu. The atmosphere, the food, and the service was outstanding. I felt like I had lived there forever, and everyone know my name. The Mediterranean tapas restaurant has delicious, fresh seafood plates, lamb kabobs, and possibly the best sweet potato fries ever. My favorites were the Seared Sea Scallops, Gambas, Mussels & Spanish Bacon, and the Steak Frite. Can’t go wrong with that. For dessert, the  Creme Brulee was smooth, and almost pudding like. Although the restaurant has a cozy, family-style, rustic feel, I sat outside so I could enjoy the Pink Moment I heard so much about. When the sun sets, the light creates a light pink color on the mountains. It’s absolutely beautiful.

As if I couldn’t be more relaxed, I had an afternoon at The Day Spa of Ojai, which I could walk to from my hotel. It felt like a combination of walking into your best friend’s home and a luxurious spa. I sat on the back porch with my feet soaking in warm water and closed my eyes. All I could here was the fountain in front of me and the birds in the trees. It was truly an escape.

Now, many of you have probably read me saying how I don’t like massages. Kim, the owner of The Day Spa of Ojai, has made me change my tune. She gave me a pumice scrub/massage and an algae wrap. I have never been so relaxed in my life. I literally tried to think of things when I was laying there and it was impossible. I was able to let go and Kim’s magic hands and the warm wrap definitely helped with that. After I showered and moisturized with the red algae lotion, my skin was so smooth. That was the softest it has ever been (next to swimming in the dead sea). I left there with my mind and body both relaxed and rejuvenated. I would drive up there, just for a day at the spa.

Overall, there is not better hide away than Ojai. It is the complete opposite of Los Angeles and allows you to get back to yourself. Whether, you want to go hiking, lay by the pool go to the spa, eat great food, or all of the above, Ojai is the place for you.

By Whitney

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