A Weekend In Ojai, California
California is such an amazing state! I never thought I would love a place as much as I love Michigan, but everywhere I go in California makes me love the state even more. My husband and I did a trip to Ojai, CA this past May for a friend's wedding and wanted to make sure to get the most out our time there. Our son spent the weekend with his grandparents so we were free! The town of Ojai is very quiet and peaceful. I can see how someone would want to live there or have a second home there. Coming from Los Angeles, we felt like we had entered another state when we got there. The people are very down to earth, the backdrop of the mountains is beautiful, and there are so many quant and peaceful places to go to. I wanted to share some of my favorite places in Ojai for anyone who is planning a trip there OR looking for a fun place to visit in California.
My favorite place to eat during the entire trip was Knead Baking Company. I am not kidding when I say that we ate there every day of our trip! When my husband and I were researching places to eat in Ojai, this bakery was very highly recommended by friends, and a number of different websites. It's not only a bakery though! They have AMAZING sandwiches and meals for breakfast and lunch. The bread is outstanding. They have a variety to choose from including their Italian roll with herbs, brioche, and bagels. Everything is made in-house. I died and went to heaven...and probably ate way too much bread. Their counter is filled with morning buns, muffins, fresh breads, etc. I highly recommend their morning bun (check out my Instagram for the picture). The breakfast sandwiches include eggs, cheese, bacon (depending on the day), and roasted tomatoes that I couldn't get enough of! If you go to Ojai, then you need to go to Knead. (Make sure to check the days and hours for when they are open www.kneadbakingcompany.com)
This is not just for yogis! Meditation Mount is a quiet place to enjoy a beautiful view in a peaceful setting. It's very calm and uplifting. Meditation Mount is a place you drive up to, park, and then enter. If you are looking for a workout type hike, this is not it. It's a place to go for a breathtaking view and serenity. They have different inspirational settings that are dedicated to teaching people to be appreciative and centering. It has that great "yogi" feel of inner peace. We loved going there to appreciate the beauty that Ojai had to offer.
When we were having breakfast at Knead, we asked the people working there about an area where we could hike. About a mile or so from the restaurant was a place with a number of hiking trails off of Signal Street. My husband and I wanted to get moving, so after we went to Meditation Mount, we went for a hike. There are different hiking options on the map when you get there. The views on the hike are amazing. We also saw avocado trees and orange trees! It was a really fun little adventure.
Around the same area as Knead, there is an entire area to shop on Ojai Ave. From artwork to custom olive oil, there are a variety of stores to check out. I loved the olive oil tasting room. There were interesting mixtures for balsamic vinegars and olive oils. I couldn't leave without buying the lemongrass vinegar and bay garlic chili extra virgin olive oil. So good!
Of course we had to find some wine! The Ojai Vineyard tasting room is right in the heart of the town and it's definitely a place to add to your list. We had so much fun at the tasting room talking to the staff and trying all of the wines. We became wine club members and bought a few bottles for the rest of the trip. I am usually not a Rosé fan (weird, I know), but I loved the one I had there. Even their Chardonnay was balanced and not overly oaky. It's a fun place to stop in and do a wine tasting!
Ahhh the hotel! I can't tell you how excited I was to sleep. Being away from my son wasn't easy, but sleeping definitely was. I loved the Ojai Valley Inn and Spa. We had such a wonderful experience. The grounds are filled with massive trees, a bright green gold course, and perfect little details everywhere. From fire pits to comfortable sitting areas, it's impossible to not relax when you go here.
Our room was quiet and and peaceful. The bed and sheets were very comfortable. Once thing in particular I have to say impressed me...the turn down service. Most of the time at hotels the turn down service isn't even that noticeable. At the Ojai Valley Inn, they get your bed ready, turn on classical music, lay out your robe, dim the lights, and top it off with a few chocolates. They also do a very nice job setting the bathroom space for you. I had my hair dryer, curling iron, and brushes out, and they placed them all on a towel. They placed my shampoos and things on a towel. It was all just very intricate. It made the experience of coming back to the room very calming and fancy.
When you walk into the lobby of the hotel you will smell their signature scent, which is a mix of lavender and oranges. They have flavored water and pixies displayed for you to enjoy. Pixies are small oranges that are extra sweet. I'm pretty sure I ate a million of these little guys.
We also spent a day at the spa enjoying the saunas and pool. One of my favorite parts about sitting at the pool was lunch (of course). They bring your lunch to you on a tray that stands on the chair...like breakfast in bed! The food was perfection. My husband had a sushi roll, and I had a quinoa salad with black beans. That may not sound exciting, but it had a ginger vinaigrette that I could eat all day long.
Before dinner we sat outside to enjoy a cocktail while overlooking the golf course. It was part of "Jimmy's Pub," where we also ended up a couple nights after the rehearsal dinner cocktail party and after the wedding. On our last night my husband and I sat out on these chairs to have a drink together. The lavender lemonade cocktail, pictured above, was light and refreshing. I'm determined to create it at home. The fresh lavender makes it really fragrant and special. I may have had more than one.
Joe n' Go is a cute little stop for people on the go. You can get a quick meal and coffee to go.
The Oak is the main restaurant at the hotel. We had a really fun night eating and drinking in their outdoor setting. I had the hardest time deciding on what to order because the menu itself was very interesting. My husband I split their caesar salad as an appetizer that had a perfectly poached and cooled egg overtop thinly sliced kale and lots of cheese. It was not your typical caesar salad, which I loved! We also had to start with champagne and oysters, one of my favorite pairings in the world. I'm pretty picky when it comes to oysters and these tasted like fresh salt water. The mignonette sauce for the oysters had a slight shallot flavor that I really love, which went well with the cold champagne. I had the salmon for my meal, and it was one of the best salmon dishes I have ever had. It was perfectly cooked with a nice crust on the top, over al dente black rice. We had to end our meal with dessert...obviously. It was a chocolate chip cookie baked in a cast iron skillet. They bake them to order so that it's hot and melty. The service was on point! We had a great experience.
If I couldn't get enough of The Oak for dinner, we made our way their for breakfast as well. In the morning the view is beautiful overlooking the golf course, which makes it so nice to sit outside. They start you out with a complimentary mini smoothie. The breakfast menu, like the dinner menu, had some fun things that make decisions difficult. They also offer your coffee to go, and they bring you a nice, freshly poured, to-go-cup.