Oh Hi, Ojai
I’m giddy ’cause I’m going to spill the beans about one of my favorite places, and arguably one of the most spiritual wellness getaways in the world: Ojai Valley.
Growing up, I heard about Ojai plenty because my mom attended boarding school here. I got lucky, because my high school sent us to Ojai for our senior trip. We slept in tents, hiked, soaked in hot springs, and shared bonding time in a sweat lodge. As far as I knew, all there was to do in this red rocked valley was meditate in hot caves, swim in mud and go to sleep-away-school. Decades later, I came to discover so much more. And, I’m relieved to report the foundation as I remembered is still standing.
Much of this world is being torn down, rebuilt and “improved” only to destroy its original character. This is the place to go to recharge your spirit and find peace. It’s easy because, at its core, Ojai is still it’s authentic self. The moment I veer to the right and exit the 70, all my stress melts away.
Today, I’m taking you on a wellness tour of this majestic town via my heart.
Lets begin off the main drag, a quieter road that parallels the strip where the Ojai Farmers Market takes place. I specifically arrive on Sunday so I don’t miss this event. Yes, there’s a farmers market in my area, but the valley vibe is different. There’s the usual suspects, like fresh herbs, veggies and Harry’s Berry’s (quite possibly the sweetest and juiciest of the strawberry breed.) I always grab a box to have a snack when I’m driving home on the coast.
You’ll browse unique arts and crafts like handwoven bags, baskets, and perhaps even a dreamcatcher or two. Dried fruit is a childhood favorite. I almost passed out when I found these little beauties, Apple Jalapeño Roll- Ups, from Ha’s Apple Farm. They’re bundled up in the cutest bite size wrappers, so you don’t over eat (but lets be real, I ate a whole bunch.) Tangy, sweet and spicy –a perfect adult fruit roll up.
Meditation is synonymous with Ojai so it’s only fitting they have their own private place especially for that very thing. Meditation Mountain is just a 10 minute drive outta the main town. The road to peace is just as fantastic as the hilltop itself. Just past a few citrus farms is this spiritual land, where you can participate in yoga, take a stroll through the botanical park or just sit and reflect at an inspirational stone engraved with one of the Six Universal Principles, like “Essential Divinity.”
Tucked peacefully in middle of the village is the wonderful Arrow Heart Yoga. When I discovered it, I was pleasantly surprised to see a full schedule with an abundance of practices to choose from, including Beginner, Restorative, Vinyasa Flow, and Pilates mat. I can’t wait for my next trip to try the Candlelight Flow! And, in true Ojai spirit, a monthly “featured artist” is highlighted on the website to expand on their love of community.
Now, the piece de resistance, the one and only Ojai Valley Inn and Spa. The resort is vast, the perimeter of the property a premier golf course. The view of the Topa Topa Mountains visible from everywhere. At sunset a bell rings so guests can gather to watch the famous “pink moment,” when the sun hits the tops of the hills creating a sunset like no other. Linus Bikes are available to rent and you can pick up a picnic lunch at Libby’s market, ride down to the Orchard below and set up your outdoor lunch at one of the T-houses nestled in the herb and tomato garden.
The Spa itself is a wonderland, the ultimate in tranquility. An indoor-outdoor lounge area to sip fruit infused water while waiting for your treatment. Soak and relax in mud rooms, mani-pedis, seasonal body scrubs like lavender/rosemary, and a new edition, the Soma dome, AKA: Peace in a Pod. A personal meditation pod of LED lighting, color therapy designed to promote energy flow to align mind and body. Listen to music or a soothing voice send messages like, Heal, Manifest and Love.
Bon voyage, happy trails and may the Ojai force be with you.