A windy drive along picturesque Highway 33 will take you from the salty shores of Ventura to the dusty artist enclave of Ojai. The four-square-mile village of a mere 8,000 residents sits in a rare east/west running valley punctuated by oak groves, avocado orchards, and looming mountains. Each evening the setting sun casts a rosy glow on the Topa Topa bluffs, and locals (who include everyone from healers and bohemians to artists and cowboys) stop what they're doing to take in what's known as "the pink moment."
For thousands of years, the Chumash performed healing rituals and soaked in the natural springs known for curative powers. Since then, seekers and philosophers (including the renowned Jiddu Krishnamurti) have called Ojai home—a defining trend obvious in the community's many esoteric shops and bookstores. The Krotona Institute and School of Theosophy welcomes guests to its extensive library, and Bart's Books has a nice selection of spiritually driven reads. Outside of town, the area's sulfuric hot springs are another tool that have been used for spiritual healing and channeling meditation. Many of the springs are hidden off the beaten path, and well-known Sespe Hot Springs can be found a 10-mile hike in from the trail head at the end of Forest Service Road 7N03. If you want to soak, you might have to work for it...but it's well worth the trek. For a less labor intensive escape, head to Ojai Valley Inn & Spa for a relaxing Kuyam treatment (which uses desert clay, inhalation therapy, and a traditional Chumash guided meditation), or a good old fashioned massage. The hotel's luxe accommodations are also a treat, with rooms spread around the sprawling 220-acre Spanish Colonial style resort. Closer to town you'll find reasonably priced, kid-friendly accommodations like the mission-style Blue Iguana Inn (croquet set included), and lakeside campsites are available along the 32 miles of Lake Casitas shoreline.
Known for being home to a great deal of creative energy, Ojai's downtown is lined with art galleries. Celebrated artist and studio potter Beatrice Wood is arguably the most well known of the town's artisans—she lived in Ojai until her death at 104 years old. To meet the current talents creating in Ojai, don't miss the annual Artists' Studio Tour in October, which allows you to hop from one studio to the next and meet the artists in person. If perusing shops downtown for one-of-a-kind pieces, HumanArts carries local jewelry, while its domestic counterpart HumanArts Home offers accessories for your abode.
With healing spiritual traditions, creative energies, restful accommodations, and the fabled "pink moment," you'll feel refreshed after visit to Ojai—whether you're there for a few days or a few hours.
122 East Ojai Avenue
905 Country Club Road
Ojai Valley Inn & Spa
905 Country Club Rd.