Located in Ojai Valley, Ojai (pronounced: Oh-Hi) is a city northwest of Los Angeles and east of Santa Barbara.
Last month, we drove 64 miles (a little less than 2 hours) from Manhattan Beach to Ojai to spend the day in this spiritual and charming city.
If you have a day to spare for Ojai, I would recommend you do these three things:
1. Get to Ojai Olive Oil around 11
2. Lunch at Ojai Valley Inn
3. Spend the afternoon at Topa Mountain Winery
This is what we did:
We started our day with the Ojai Olive Oil tour. This was an informative session where we learned about the trees on their farm, difference between green and black olives, how olives are plucked and crushed for oil. Their shop is open Monday-Sunday, 10 AM - 4 PM. Call them to check about the tours - +1 (805) 646-5964. They are located at 1811 Ladera Rd., Ojai, CA 93023 - but keep in mind that the quiet, slightly zig-zag road to their farm may feel like you are going the wrong way...BUT you are not!
Post the tour, there were several free olive oil tastings. We also had the opportunity to buy oil bottles. The Provençale was our favorite so that's what we bought.
I also bought an olive oil face cream which was made locally using the company's oil. It was expensive at $25 but it was nourishing...and the smell was heavenly!
After the olive oil experience, we made our way to the famous Ojai Valley Inn Resort & Spa for lunch. This is beautiful retreat that has been around since 1923.
The resort feels quite luxurious with wonderful accommodations, pools, a spa, tennis courts and a championship golf course. It has over 300 rooms that overlook the mountains and the golf course.
Photo credit: Ojai Valley Inn
The resort has an event venue called The Farmhouse which is a really creative space. I know of it because my husband's workplace had a retreat there last year. It also has huge open lawns, and a huge tree with lanterns (gorgeous in the evening!).
Photo credit: Ojai Valley Inn
Did you know that you can eat at their restaurants even if you are not staying at the resort?
Valet is free and the shuttle service is quite convenient.
There are many options to eat at this beautiful resort, but we went with the healthiest option at Spa Cafe, which is right by the spa. We loved the food - I am going to definitely steal some of those ideas to make them at home.
The food was fresh - all our bowls and salads were well balanced and really quite tasty. The food combinations were interesting and they worked well.
The server was quite accommodating. He was happy to substitute and provide us with vegan, vegetarian and dairy-free options. I would recommend the fitness bowl.
Check out their menu here. I know we will be back!
Finally, we made our way to the Topa Mountain Winery. Best decision ever...!
This is a great place to unwind, to enjoy some great wines in a dog & family-friendly venue
(Think: look and feel of German beer gardens!).
The winery is framed by the Topa mountain range, and there was live music and food trucks at the venue as well. We met a sweet family there and we shared a table with them - kids played, we wined. It was perfect.
Topa Winery has a wine club program, btw if anyone is interested to explore and they ship their wines all over the country - you can order them online. We tried their wine flights (5 tastings) which set us back $18 a person, and I thought it was a good deal.
So, when you go to Ojai, don't forget to stop by this winery's tasting room located at 821 W. Ojai Avenue in the beautiful Ojai Valley - you won't regret it. It is open Thursday – Monday from 12 noon – 7 PM. (closed on Tuesday and Wednesday)