Retreat to Ojai
I can’t believe it’s been over a month since my mini vacation in Ojai. Have any of you been there? It’s a beautiful city to escape to and forget all your troubles.
Before planning this 3-day trip, I’ll admit I didn’t know what was there to do in Ojai. I know some people who visited the spa at Ojai Valley Inn, some who went for weddings, and I’ve also heard it’s the place for amazing produce. I was worried we wouldn’t find enough things to do and be bored out of our minds. But my husband and I were pleasantly surprised at what Ojai had to offer!
DAY 1 :
There’s no better way to start a trip than with a treatment at EarthTonics Spa, right in downtown Ojai. The owner, Daron Hope, was so sweet and helpful when booking our appointments. Her spa is very cozy and smelled amazing upon entering. My husband opted for the 60-minute customized Swedish massage while I chose the botanical back cleanse. The scrub, lotion, and mask felt luxurious all over my body. I was so relaxed I fell asleep at one point.
The girls at EarthTonics told us to go to Food Harmonics for some great healthy food. It’s located in the heart of the historic Ojai Arcade, a few blocks from the spa. I thoroughly enjoyed the small-town charm as we leisurely strolled down the streets. The restaurant is gluten, sugar, soy, and GMO-free, and 100% organic. I had the red lentil dahl soup and my husband ordered the bison burger served with a sweet potato mash. You could taste the high quality and freshness of the food. I would highly recommend it if you’re looking for flavorful, healthy food options.
With our tummies full, we decided to check out the iconic Ojai Valley Inn. This premier resort offers an array of amenities on its impressive 220 acres — golf course, spa, pools, an apothecary, and various restaurants and cafes. Even if you aren’t a guest here, you still have access to some of the amenities but of course their guests have priority. We easily spent a few hours just roaming around the grounds and admiring the lush greenery and oak trees.
Afterwards it was time for dinner! I swear all me and my husband ever do is think about food especially on vacation. We were really craving some comfort food and The Nest of Ojai was the perfect spot. The restaurant looks like a Spanish-style home with a casual patio set-up. The menu had classic foods like pizza and sandwiches but with unique, delicious twists. There are weekly specials and a few fusion items like tacos and bao buns as well. We settled on the beef hot dog with sweet chile aioli, relish, and pickled mustard seed on a toasted hawaiian bun with a side of fries and black garlic aioli (Mmmmmmm…….)
DAY 2 :
The next day, we woke up bright and early to get a snack and a caffeine fix at Beacon Coffee. We ordered a macchiato, turmeric latte (for me since I can’t handle too much caffeine), ham & cheese croissant, and another pastry. Our drinks were excellent but the food was just okay — good enough for a quick bite. I wouldn’t say our breakfast was ideal right before a hike, but since we had planned to do a relatively easy hike anyway it all worked out.
Ojai is a hiking paradise! So my dear husband braced me for an EASY 3-mile hike called the Pratt, Foothill and Fox Canyon loop. Keep in mind, my husband is an avid hiker and I am not (AND I was getting over a minor knee injury). About halfway in, we realized this was not going to be as easy as I was hoping for. There were a lot of switchbacks and I did not expect the elevation gain. The worst part was going down the steep hill at the end — my poor knee was throbbing from all the impact. But it’s ok, and at least now I have a good reason not to go on any hikes! Regardless of the pain I endured, the hike was definitely worth doing for its breathtaking views.
After we got back from our hike, we spent some time relaxing (while I iced my knee) in our Airbnb. Our Airbnb host graciously let me bring my bunnies Cookie and Gizmo so we let them run around in the backyard. As the sun started to set, we had to bring the bunnies in. And of course we had to figure out where to eat for dinner :)
I don’t remember how we chose Sama Sama but it was the perfect way to end the day! Just a note that the Sama Sama in Ojai is based on the restaurant that is in Santa Barbara so that may be confusing if you look them up. So Sama Sama is located inside the Topa Topa Brewing Company (again there is a Topa Topa in Santa Barbara so make sure you go to the right location). Having these two places together is genius! The rich Indonesian-inspired food paired very well with a cold crisp beer. The ‘crack’ wings are a MUST!
We ended the evening with a walk around downtown Ojai before returning to our Airbnb.
DAY 3 :
On the final day of our trip, we headed to the Ojai Farmers’ Market, which has a reputation as one of the best farmers’ markets in California. It was a good sized farmers’ market with at least 50 vendors — produce, flowers, food, and specialty items. The Ojai pixie and page tangerines were in season so we made sure to grab some of those.
Before driving back home, we wanted to make one last stop to the kombucha bar Revel — yes, it’s kombucha on tap! I’m actually not a fan of kombucha because I find most just taste like vinegar. I feel if it tastes like vinegar, I might as well just drink that because it’s a lot cheaper. But my husband loves kombucha so I tagged along for him. We did a flight which gave us a choice of 4 flavors. I will admit these were the best kombuchas I’ve ever had. There was still a tint of the vinegar taste that I don’t love, but it was not overwhelming. My husband was taken aback when I said we should buy a jug to enjoy at home.
With our produce, kombucha, packed bags, and bunnies, we were ready to finally head back to La La Land. I’ll miss the tranquility of Ojai, but I’m excited to get back to my routine and sleep in my own bed.
If any of you ever visit Ojai, do let me know your favorite spots!