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Weekend Guide: Ojai Valley

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It’s weird for me to say this but during a recent trip to Southern California, I needed a couple of days outside of the city and the traffic nightmare.  This is weird of course because I’m from New York City which is the definition of chaos.  When I’m on vacation, I crave peace and nature.  My cousin suggested we spend our Galentine’s Day weekend in the Ojai Valley which is just 90 miles North of Los Angeles.  Ojai is a small town nestled underneath the Topa Topa mountains which turn pink (pink moment) at sunset.  Ojai is a haven for artists, spiritual seekers, health enthusiasts, and nature lovers.  We ate organic meals, went hiking, and watched the sunset in silence so needless to say, it was the perfect place to zen out.  Ojai is a very special place and everyone I’ve spoken to who’s been there has said the same thing.  I’m not quite sure what is it but you will have to go and experience it yourself.  This is my weekend guide in Ojai to help you on your way.

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STAY:  If you have the funds, the Ojai Valley Inn and Spa is pretty darn amazin’ but if you’re like me and you love luxe-for-less, we stayed at the Hummingbird Inn which was a quaint little nn.  It was in close proximity to everything in town and I love a place that puts goldfish on your pillow instead of chocolates.

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EAT:  Knead Baking Company was the perfect spot for a snack when we were getting hangry.  They also serve breakfast, lunch and dessert.  The flatbread pizzas were amazing!!

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DRINK:  In my opinion, a girl’s weekend wouldn’t be complete without a little vino.  We went wine tasting at the Ojai Vineyard which not only had a beautiful space but they offered some really nice local wines.  It’s the kind of place I would want to hang out for a while drinking a bottle of wine with my girlfriends. | Photo Source

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SEE:  My favorite part of the trip had to be going to Meditation Mount to see “The Pink Moment.”  During sunset, instead of looking West towards the sunset, you look East at the Topa Topa mountains which reflect off a pink glow.  We were told this is the must see thing to do in Ojai.  Unfortunately, the pink moment didn’t really happen but it was still an amazing experience because everyone on meditation mount was silent during the sunset.  I’ve never watched a sunset in complete silence with a bunch of strangers before.  It forced me to savor the moment which I’m thinking was the point.  The grounds of Meditation Mount are breathtaking and worth visiting.

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We didn’t get to see the pink moment but on the drive back to the hotel, the sunset just kept getting better and better.

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DRINK:  Before dinner, we got a drink at the quaint little bar at the Ojai Rancho Inn.  We would never have gone there because from the outside it looks like a creepy motel but my girlfriend Lucy told us there’s a cute hipster bar there and we had to check it out.  We walked in and we thought we were privy to a little secret.  There were only about 6 chairs at the bar and a fireplace so it felt really cozy and intimate.  The cool decor made it really quirky aka my kind of place.

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EAT:  For dinner, we went to Azu for California tapas.  I loved their vegetable dishes which were all fresh and from local farms. I never thought vegetables could be so flavorful and delicious.

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DRINK/EAT:  After dinner, we got drinks at Deer Lodge which is reminiscent of a cozy log cabin.  It’s been around since 1932 and it used to be a gas station and grocery store.  We’ve heard from many locals that this is the place to have dinner because you get locally sourced food and live entertainment.

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GO/EAT:  They say every trip to Ojai is not complete without at least one visit to Ojai Valley Inn.  We couldn’t quite afford to stay there but we did want to check it out and experience a little bit of luxury.  We decided to have a fancy brunch there on our last day. The resort grounds are breathtaking and is a destination all on its own.

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SEE:  When I heard about Bart’s Books I thought, how cool can a bookstore be?  Well, the fact that the bookstore was partially outside made it really unique.  Since we live in a time of electronic books, it was dare I say nostalgic to see actual books?