Tuesday, January 28, 2020

Ojai Dreaming and Hello 2020

Happy 2020 guys. I am back :) Hope you had a good start to the year. As for me, 2019 ended on a good note with a short vacation to Southern California. 2020 on the other hand is off to a crazy busy start. However, that is a story for another day.....for now, lets look back as I relive my trip with you.

Sunshine, olives, lemon and orange groves......the Pacific ocean, stunning architecture and retail therapy....my SoCal trip had it all :) During the Christmas break we based ourselves in Ventura which is a delightful little town on the Pacific coast. A series of day trips from Ventura took us to some incredible places. I have to admit that while the coast was spectacular, my favorite place on this trip was Ojai.
Ojai is further inland and beautifully tucked in between mountains and amid fragrant orange groves.  It’s a miracle  how peaceful and bucolic this place can feel, despite it being so close to the Los Angeles metropolis area. Ojai has a Mediterranean air to it with a laid back vibe and somehow I instantly felt relaxed there. What really stood out for me is that the town of Ojai has absolutely no corporate chains. All the stores are local and everyone seems to know one other. Hiking is almost a religion here. We drove up to Meditation mount to look at the view and go for a short hike but they were closed at the time. 
We really lucked out as we drove out of Ojai back to Ventura.  We got to see Ojai's famed sunset. The entire valley was bathed in a surreal pink hue and is often referred to Ojai's "pink moment"

One of my favorite stops in Ojai was at the Ojai Olive Oil Company. The main olive grove on the ranch was planted in the mid-1800s, back in the era of the Spanish Missions, when there was a communal olive press in the valley. We got a fascinating tour of how olive oil is made. Olive Oil is a third-generation family owned and operated organic and sustainable farm. Needless to say I came back laden with olive oils and some delightful olive oil cream.

At The Ojai Olive Oil Company....






Ojai Rotie is a French Lebanese style restaurant, we stopped for lunch here and loved the food. 



Another fascinating stop in Ojai was Barts Book which is  the largest independently owned and operated outdoor bookstore in the United States.

In 1964 Bart’s Books was little more than a sparkle in the eye of Richard Bartinsdale whose collection of books had gotten so overwhelming that he constructed a series of book cases along the sidewalk so that passersby could peruse the titles. In lieu of a cash register, “Bart” left coffee cans atop the book cases. People would select a title or two and leave payment in the cans, giving birth to Bart’s world famous tradition of selling books via the honor system.
Since that time Bart’s Books has become host to nearly one million books ranging from the thirty-five cent specials which line the outside walls and are still for sale on the honor system, to rare, out of print first editions, and art books valued in the thousands of dollars. Nearly half a century after its inception, Bart’s Books continues to mystify patrons, journalists, and book lovers with a character and charm that beggars description and a selection of books that is beyond compare"
Fascinating right?



As for the lemon and orange groves around town. I could not get enough of it....




 Orange groves.....I could spend a lifetime here....





Fall was lingering on in Ojai......it was a lovely sight.




Our last view of the Ojai valley as we drove back to Ventura......





Back in Ventura, the Pacific ocean was there to greet us.....




So if you make your way to Southern California make sure you say Hello to Ojai for me :) Keep on traveling......and see you around.

All Images taken by Me : Copyright My Dream Canvas


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