Ojai or Why I Don’t Go To L.A.

travel, California, OjaiLas Vegas and Los Angeles are so close, just one affordable 70-minute flight away. But I have not been back once since I moved back to the United States more than a year ago. The huge elephant in the room is that L.A. was not good to me, and I really don’t have any affinity for the place at all, although I have two very dear friends there. But while I do like to get all riled up about the place, saying “why would I ever go back?” blah blah, the truth is simpler. My life in Las Vegas is ridiculously, over-the-top, out-of-control busy. I moved here from a town of 3,000 people, people. When I want a weekend off from Sin City, I am not headed to L.A., where I get lost and sit in traffic and can’t find parking. When I can get away for a few days, I want peace, a charming little getaway where I can see lush landscapes and get outside.

Enter Ojai.

Ojai, California, travelMy friend Catherine was headed to southern California to do a story for a little magazine called Vegas. I’m not sure how it all got started, but I somehow invited myself, and it somehow all worked out. We were so excited!Β Our fireplace suites at Ojai Valley Inn & Spa (you know how much I love hotels)Β were breathtaking: crisp apples laid out in bowls, fresh lavender on the towels, views of the lush valley… That place is a dream. I slept in until 8:30 the first morning! It was no wonder — we both agreed it was the most relaxed we’d been in ages.

With a welcome basket like this, there’s almost no need to leave the property!

Ojai, California, travel

These soaps filled the room with the fragrance of the freshest local herbs and ingredients of Ojai.

travel, Ojai, California

The Inn’s beds all but guarantee a good night’s sleep.

Ojai, California, travel

L.A. does have beautiful views, but I have never found a place there with comparable peace to what I felt in Ojai.

Ojai, California, travel

Where do YOU go to get away? And at what expense? I really would love to have a week in L.A. to meet up with contacts in my industry and see my friends. But there is only so much time!

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I'm a life-long travel junkie journalist who works hard to find adventure in everyday life after two years of travel and expat living.

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  1. Wow. Sounds amazing – and I definitely want that welcome basket. Cheese, please!

  2. That cheese basket made everything ok and happy again!

  3. When I think of Ojai, I think of the movie “Easy A” because I think parts of it were filmed there (this is one of my guilty pleasure movies!). The scenery is really pretty.

    To get away, I love going to my grandma’s place in the Okanagan Valley. The landscape is similar to parts of California – rolling hills, orchards, vineyards. I love it!

    I’m so glad you got a chance to get away!

  4. Ohhh I’ve never seen that! I’ll have to go see if I can find it. I love that you have a place (with family!) that is similar to my getaway!

  5. Ojai is within my region of coverage for Frommer’s and I STILL haven’t been (such a long drive from SF). But I definitely plan to head there next time I’m doing a guidebook update!

  6. Looks delightful! Is 8:30 am really sleeping in though? πŸ˜‰

  7. Kristin — you have to go to Ojai!! I will post some more photos next week to entice you. πŸ™‚

    Andrea — yes! haha. I am definitely an early riser!

  8. That looks quite literally like heaven. We need to spoil ourselves with something like that very soon. πŸ™‚

  9. That looks quite literally like heaven. We need to spoil ourselves with something like that very soon. πŸ™‚

  10. Do it! We all need soothing “mental health” days!

  11. Embarrassing to admit this, but the only thing I know about Ojai is that the Bionic Woman used to live there. πŸ˜‰ It sounds lovely, though. And I’m not surprised that you wouldn’t want to go to LA on your time off; you need a totally different experience when you “get away from it all” and Las Vegas and LA are too similar. I mean, LA comes to YOU all the time–why should you feel the need to go to it?

  12. All I know about Ojai I learned from Brothers & Sisters (the TV show) … looks like I need to visit for myself! Beautiful!

  13. I lived in LA for 4 years and have been back several times since (it was college, so LA was VERY good to me), but I’ve never been to Ojai! It’s on my list of getaway spots for whenever we move back to California though, so we’ll get there eventually. Looks like a lovely trip! (Although I’m worried that you think 8:30 is sleeping in)

  14. This place looks absolutely lovely and it’s nice to hear that you two got to relax a bit! πŸ™‚ We skipped Ojai when we were in So Cal but I would love to stop there one day!

  15. All of you skipped Ojai???! It’s so funny. The year I lived in LA I never went. πŸ™ That’s why I jumped at the chance to go this time!

  16. That is the best welcome basket ever!

  17. I dream about that cheese plate.

  18. OMG. I want to go there!! It sounds amazing!!!! So glad you enjoyed the trip. Can’t wait to see more.

  19. It was so wonderful and peaceful. Rejuvenating. πŸ™‚

  20. Ahhh……this looks like the perfect getaway, but as a homeschool mom of 3 girls….I’d probably say that about almost anywhere. πŸ™‚

  21. Now that is my kind of welcome basket!! It looks like we both got some much needed R&R this weekend. I’m happy to hear you had a great time!

  22. Wow, it does look like a dream escape, you’re right that food basket really makes you want to stay in πŸ™‚

  23. I love mountains with little snow and always love to visit.

  24. Creative — I had no idea you homeschooled. No wonder you always have activities to write about!

    Yes, ladies. It was the perfect R&R escape!

  25. I’d like to get away to Ojai. Haven’t been there, but you’ve sold me. I’ll have to look up the best way to get there from S.F.

  26. I’d never heard of Ojai before I read this post… I may have to go there soon! Alex and I want to do a quick getaway, but we do NOT want to go to L.A. Who would?!

  27. The fruit, bread, cheese… really no need to ever leave πŸ™‚
    Ojai – is that in a wine-growing area?

  28. You had me at lavender. Looks like a perfect getaway!

  29. This place looks super cute! I’m glad you gave it a shout out!

  30. I have to admit I have never seen a welcome basket like that one!

  31. I couldn’t rave about this place anymore! And yes, we did an amazing vineyard tour and visited an olive oil “press.” I’ll write about those next!

  32. I haven’t been to Ojai, but I here it is very nice. I’d have to say I think Napa Valley will become my get-away retreat – it’s now a potential repeat weekend spot for me/us, since moving to the west coast, and having a major client in San Fran means I can try to set my meetings at the beginning or end of a week in order to do the weekend in Napa and have my airfare paid for.

    Once January/February arrives, I think I will also be ready for some sun – like in Hawaii. I like the fact that Seattle is the second largest market for Hawaii, so it makes the airfare reasonable.

  33. Looks and sounds fabulous! I’m not a big fan of LA the city either, but I have had some good memories on the outskirts of town. Ojai seems like a hit for you and your friend. I love that they put lavender on the towels – shows how much they take care of the details, which likely meant, they took really good care of you, too.

  34. Don, I’m obsessed with Napa! I highly applaud your decision to make that a common stop. πŸ™‚

    Sherry, yes, you’re right. The attention to detail DID mean every guest was treated so wonderfully!

  35. Yummy, I want that cheese!

  36. #amazing

  37. darn – i still need to get out there!! i will go before the end of this year!!! Ojai Valley Inn & Spa is just too good to pass up! πŸ™‚

  38. CHEESE! God I miss cheese.

    I would get the room just for the cheese. I kid you not.

    It looks relaxing! Glad to hear you finally got some sleep!

  39. Haha cheese in Central America just isn’t the same!

  40. OMG- look at that cheese platter! I live in LA and while I see some beauty here, I can totally understand not wanting to come back. I often say- I don’t know why people would want to travel to LA.. just because it’s not what the movies make it out to be. glad you found peace in Ojai!

  41. It was a dream!! I really do need to get to LA sometime soon though…

  42. I have heard so many wonderful things about Ojai recently… not a huge LA fan myself – worked there my first 2 years after college – was great experience – but enough. Would love to go next time I’m out there to mix it up a little. I love to go to the mountains around Asheville, NC, to get away for a short and relaxing getaway… Can stay in the mountains and get into Asheville for eating and shopping πŸ˜‰

  43. I used to go to camp in Asheville! It’s so peaceful. I think that a foodie trip through Ojai and Santa Barbara is perfect. πŸ™‚

  44. looks like you had a peaceful and relaxing weekend!!

  45. Friends of mine won a trip to the Ojai and they said it was phenomenal. I want to go to there!

  46. Oh, it is! So relaxing and chill… Santa Barbara’s great, too.

  47. I’d do just about anything for a cheese basket that looks so delectably yummy! Seriously though, I totally can to not wanting to visit a hectic city when you’re already living a fast paced lifestyle.

  48. In one year, everything changed. Last year, I partied hard in Vegas because my life in Costa Rica was so chill!

  49. Oooh, this looks beautiful! Can’t go wrong with fruit, cheese, and California. I’ve never been to Ojai, but I’ve also heard that it’s peaceful and beautiful. Sounds way more relaxing than LA!

  50. I needed to relax!! Just got talked into going to LA in two weeks. I love that all of these places are so close!

  51. !!! !!!!!!!! I would stay in a shack if they gave me a free cheese and crackers platter!

    I would also like to hear more about why you don’t like LA?

  52. I pretty much agree… I was in gorgeous Ojai and didn’t want to leave the room after that platter was delivered!!

  53. Wow, what an awesome welcome “basket”.

  54. I have not been to Ojai but have heard great things from a friend as well. I love your hotel and would love to stay there!

  55. That is the best welcome basket I’ve ever seen. Hello, cheese!

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