Into the Wild // Ojai
Ojai, the hippie hideaway tucked away in a scenic valley surrounded by lavender fields and orange groves. It's been called the Tuscany of southern California and similar to its European counterpart, life moves a little slower here. At under two hours away from Los Angeles it makes for an amazing day trip or weekend getaway to recharge and renew.
The Farmer and the Cook: This Mexican inspired vegetarian restaurant is the ultimate farm to table experience. A family owned and operated restaurant, juice bar, and market that uses and sells produce that they grow on their farm. They also offer CSA boxes if you're in the area for an extended period of time.
Deer Lodge: the best happy hour in the valley that turns into a southern California take on a honky tonk as the night wears on complete with a full BBQ menu should your drinking lead to eating. Go for the mule deer or the lavender-rita!
Meditation Mount: a mountain with a higher purpose, to inspire peace and enlightenment through meditation. The grounds are beautiful and have a palpably calming energy to them. Even if you're not in search of transcendence it is a beautiful place to catch the sun setting over the valley.
Ecotopia Hot Springs: Natural sulfur hot springs 10 minutes away from downtown Ojai that are intermittently open and closed to the public. Cross your fingers and hope for the best when you go! If you're going during the summer and a nice cold dip sounds more appealing just take the Maricopa highway to the quarry and park on the shoulder. Hike down the rocks across from the quarry to an amazing little swimming hole.
Summer Camp: Rachel and Michael Grave's shop is one of those perfectly curated places that you wish you could live in. They do a great job of featuring local artists and craftsmen making in a wonderful place to find unique souvenirs. The hardest part is narrowing down what to come home with because everything is that good.
Ojai Rancho Inn: should your day trip turn into an overnight stay there's no cuter place to hang your hat than the Ojai Rancho Inn. Chris Sewell and Kenny Osehan, the creative power couple behind Shelter Social Club, converted a 1950s roadside motel into a reclaimed wood paneled vision of rustic bohemian perfection.