Imagine a place untouched by the flurry of our modern world. A place lost in a quieter, more meditative time. A place of solitude.
There is something to silence, something to solitude and the sustainment of a state of being that lulls a mind into its quiet nooks and rifts, cocooning thoughts into circuitous notions and immovable meditations.
–Tessa Love | The Art of Staying Still
The Ojai Valley has captured the imaginations of many. In recent years, it has risen as a hidden treasure. As I entered its comforting embrace, I could almost feel my soul shedding the burdens of anxiety, expectations, obligations. Free of advertisements, billboards, chains, Ojai offers a sanctuary from the world. Without really planning to, we left electronics behind to fully engage with the peaceful setting around us.
After we arrived here, Michael and I realized that this was the first time since our honeymoon that we’d been able to go on a trip with just the two of us. The few days we spent here also coincided with the bridging of 2015 and 2016, so we inadvertently began a new family tradition: to have a time at the end of each year to pray, retreat, reflect, and re-examine our direction.
- Tico Studio: This adorable Airbnb studio is conveniently located near downtown Ojai. It’s quiet and peaceful, which is just what you want when you go to Ojai. It also has a binder full of recommended places to visit and eat, compiled by the local owners, which was wonderfully useful.
- Bart’s Books: Touted as “The World’s Greatest Outdoor Bookstore,” Bart’s Books is a unique experience. It’s pretty huge, with a wide selection to choose from, ranging from first edition copies to brand new.
- Fig: This was definitely the most enjoyable and interesting store we visited. We wandered in here, drawn by the cool ivy-lined “ceiling.” They have the coolest home decor and plants you can find.
- Meditation Mount: This place is the epitome of Ojai culture. If solitude is what you were looking for here, this is where you’d go. Atop one of the many hills surrounding the valley, Meditation Mount offers a site to reflect, pray, and meditate. It’s also known as the best place to experience Ojai’s famous “pink moment.”
- Suzanne’s Cuisine: We got super lucky because we decided to try this place out on a whim, and managed to score the only table that wasn’t reserved. I’d never experienced fine dining before this moment, and I have to say, I should never eat properly good food, because it’ll turn me into a snob that can’t settle on the ordinary anymore. The lamb chops I ordered were out of this world, melting in my mouth like butter..
- Ojai Cafe Emporium: Michael once ate an amazingly moist, fluffy scone somewhere, and since then has been on the search for another like it. Tragically, he had almost given up because most scones end up dry and flaky. Finally, in a small Ojai bakery, he gave their boysenberry scone one last chance. …And the scone has triumphed! It now holds the title of “best scone ever.” The End.