Charm, Oak Trees, Fall Colors, Mountains, Hikes, Bikes & More
A sunny Sunday morning in December just before the hectic schedule of the holidays felt like a perfect day for Ojai. Just an hour drive from our house in the West San Fernando Valley, but a world away from busy malls, freeway congestion and the news.
In this oasis, we found a dreamy golden hour, oak trees decorated with charming lanterns, a majestic Christmas tree with a golf-course and mountain-top backdrop, quaint restaurants and shops, Spanish style archways wrapped in bougainvillea, walking and bike paths and lots of green space for kids to play.
Our first stop was brunch at the Ojai Valley Inn, a historic luxury resort with a family-friendly vibe, centuries-old oak trees and dramatic views of the mountains. The Oak Grill offers all outdoor seating and locally sourced products, many from the resort’s own gardens. The signature Sunday brunch buffet includes classic favorites of French Toast, omelet bar, peppermint bread pudding, fruit, plus a carving station, raw bar and an array of desserts.
On our Sunday visit, bluegrass musicians were performing under one of the towering oaks decorated with charming lanterns and kids were dancing on the grass. Families, couples and friends were gathered around the many fire tables overlooking the golf course and visitors were taking turns taking photos in front of the grand Christmas tree.
After enjoying a leisurely brunch, we headed to the tree-lined walking and bike path that led us from the resort to downtown Ojai. The half-mile walking path felt like we had been transported into a magical storybook as the sun streamed through the trees. Downtown Ojai is filled with little shops, art galleries, restaurants, olive oil and wine-tasting rooms.
Downtown Ojai is also home to Libby Park – a great spot for a picnic and for the kids to play. It’s clean, well-maintained and right in the center of the village. Kids will love the large wooden fort-like structure with treehouse, rock wall, slides, maze, swings and other fun features.
Whether you’re looking for a relaxing day away from L.A. or a weekend getaway, this charming town has a lot to offer families, couples and friends. There’s a bounty of scenic trails for hiking, biking and horseback riding for all ages, plus food and farms to explore and a variety of spas with a focus on mind and body wellness.
Pick your day and head out to this not-too-far away oasis. Trust me, you will come back rejuvenated.