Happy Thursday! You may remember a recent trip I took to Ojai: a small town in Ventura County, California. Set in the Topatopa Mountain Valley, Ojai is brimming with beauty + charm. So much, in fact, you may find it hard to believe that's it's only one hour outside of chaotic LA.
I had never heard of Ojai before, but my photographer Katie had been wanting to go and I'm always up for an adventure. It didn't take long for me to fall hard for this idyllic little town that's somehow managed to be kept a secret (for the most part) from the masses. So if you're looking for a retreat from the hustle + bustle of southern California to enjoy scenic landscape, delicious wine and the perfect touch of quirkiness, look no farther than Ojai.
I can honestly say I wouldn't have loved Ojai as much as I did if it weren't for our accommodations. We had the great pleasure of staying at Caravan Outpost- a community of beautiful Airstream trailers set in an awesome garden setting. Not only is the concept of staying in an Airstream cool, but so is everything else about the property. They have a slack line, corn hole boards, bicycles and picnic tables all available to use freely.
I'm not much of a fan for "roughing it" but Caravan Outpost is hardly that. They have in-unit refrigerators, bathrooms and even vinyl players (with plenty of records you can choose from). There's also a bathroom in each Airstream, but also the option to go indoors at their main outpost to use modern, full-functioning showers + toilets.
My favorite part of our stay was the community fire pit where you could always find people to chat with (and great music always on). We had so much fun talking with the owners and learning more about Ojai.
Long story short, Caravan Outpost gives you all the charm of camping without any of the hassle (plus a comfortable bed instead of a sleeping bag). It was hands down the most unique place I stayed on my road trip and someplace I'll definetley return.
KNEAD BAKING COMPANY
For breakfast one morning, our friends at Caravan Outpost sent us (by bike of course) to KNEAD- a family run artisan bakery that specializes in cakes, pastry, desserts, breads, breakfast, lunch, picnic fare and more. Their baked goods are all about texture- whether it's crumbly, chewy, crunchy or creamy- you'll want to eat all of it. Their recipes are a reflection of a life long love of food that truly shines (not to mention, they use local ingredients like orange-tangerine honey organic walnuts + seasonal fruit/veggies). It was the perfect place to enjoy a delicious breakfast on the patio and soak up the Ojai sunshine.
The next morning, we took another recommendation (along with the bikes) from Caravan Outpost + went to Beacon Coffee. This cool little coffee house has a great atmosphere and even better coffee. The owners spend several weeks per year visiting with all their producers all over the world in hopes to bridge the gap between the grower and the consumer. We had some insanely delicious avocado toast and struck up a conversation about travel with a local couple who was heading to Cambodia the next day. We went back again our final morning on the way out of town for one last cup of coffee, and I'm already looking forward to the next one I get to drink there.
If you haven't noticed by now, we didn't drive anywhere in Ojai. Why would you when the weather is perfect and you can reach everything by bike? To continue the time outdoors, we went to Bart's Bookshop- a bookstore unlike any other because it's outside. We loved browsing the selection while simultaneously soaking up the California sunshine.
As if Ojai weren't amazing already, did I mention they have great wine? We biked to Topa Mountain Winery, which is situated under the watchful eye of the Topa Topa Mountain range in the Upper Ojai Valley. They boast exceptional wines made from grapes grown in the Ojai Valley Region, but that's not the only great thing about this place. Their tasting room and entertaining grounds are the perfect place to enjoy Ojai's beautiful weather. Set under the mountain scenary, you'll love unwinding with a glass of wine, live music or a game of corn hole.
We also biked to The Ojai Vineyard for a tasting. While they don't have the large entertaining grounds like Topa Mountain Winery, they have a beautiful indoor tasting room and a delicious selection of Ojai wines to taste.
Overall, Ojai is a dreamy little destination that's a great addition to add to the itinerary if you're planning a trip to LA or Santa Barbara (stay tuned for more on those destinations next week!) I'd say the most ideal months to visit are September and October or April and May (although we went in February and it was gorgeous). Summers are hot and dry, so if you don't want that I'd avoid July or August. Temperatures in the winter (November-March) can drop to single digits during the night, so just be mindful of what you're likely to encounter and plan accordingly.
So there you have it! I hope you get to experience Ojai for yourself so you can fall in love with it as much as I did. Stay tuned tomorrow for more about my recent trip to one of my favorite places- San Diego!