Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Destination: Ojai, CA

Ahhhhhh. I am still in a romantic haze from my anniversary weekend. The husband and I wanted a quiet, intimate, weekend in nature and Ojai, CA won over Idyllwild, CA. We do love Idyllwild, but with gas almost at $5 per gallon, Ojai was closer and we have never spent a weekend there. We have stayed in the past at the fabulous Strawberry Creek Inn in Idyllwild. For you Angelinos looking for a romantic weekend away, we cannot recommend it enough. Their breakfast is sooooo good.

After too much money was spent at Victoria’s Secret (my husband thinks that statement is an oxymoron) we hit the 101 north Friday afternoon along with every other person in Los Angeles. Or so it seemed. Ojai is only 70 miles north of LA, but crawling at sometimes 10 miles per hour makes it seem much farther away. However, traffic and stress simultaneously melted away once we came into the beautiful Ojai Valley.

We rented an adorable stone cottage with a private garden next to the Day Spa of Ojai and the historic Theodore Woolsey house. It was too cute! They even had candles scattered throughout the cottage and a great surround sound system with an iPod dock. Nice!

Our weekend started with a couples massage in the garden of the Day Spa of Ojai where we got great recommendations from our masseuses of where to eat & where to hike. Our massages were fantastic! Dinner Friday night turned into the biggest treat as we found the tiny place that our masseuse Frances told us about—the Farmer and the Cook organic market & restaurant. Funky, hippy, earthy, and fabulous atmosphere and food. The live French folk music was icing on the cake for the evening. Or was it the chocolate strawberry cake? I don't know. It was seriously good, good food. The best we’ve had in a while in fact. The hippy people watching was extremely enjoyable as well--one of the cooks came out into the garden by our table to do a hand stand at one point. Much healthier than a smoke break! I think it's required to do Yoga to live in Ojai. I could handle that.

Saturday we followed the map drawn by Frances the masseuse. Armed with sunscreen, a picnic lunch, and water we set out to find the elusive hot springs. We never found hot springs, but we did find a wonderful place to swim in the river.

5 hours of hiking/bouldering, a picnic lunch, a refreshing swim in the river, and a beer(s) at the groovy Deer Lodge made us hungry. Dinner reservations that evening were for the garden at Suzanne’s Cuisine. Also a noted (mostly) organic restaurant. The people watching was not as fun as the night before, but the food was yet again fantastic. So was the wine. Who knew that Ojai was such a culinary Mecca? Yum!

Sunday brunch was at The Ranch house, another organic restaurant down yet another tiny road. It was again divine. I know I have been gushing this whole blog, but I'm not joking about how good it all was. This restaurant has had reviews some of the top culinary magazines and it was romantic and gorgeous. The gardens are stunning--they even host weddings there.
After brunch we swung by the world famous Ojai Valley Inn and Spa so I could see their wedding & reception sites—I’ve had that on my must see list for a while. The Spa is a five star resort and is faaaaabulous. I can’t wait to do a wedding there.

After that we headed up to Meditation Mount to see the view of the valley. Weddings can also be held up on the Mount, but no alcohol is allowed as it is a spiritual place.

Ojai is the perfect Southern California spot for a romantic weekend or a destination wedding. Whether you are a country club girl looking for a 5 star resort with a Mediterranean feel or a Yogi girl looking for that perfect earthy, green, organic place--Ojai is for you. And did I mention the food?!

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