Ojai, California Grand Finale: wine, shopping, cocktails

The final day of my girls getaway to Ojai, California just might have saved the best for last: shopping, a vineyard tour and cocktails. I really did not want to come home! Being so used to all of the name brands that dominate the Strip in Vegas, I found Ojai’s boutiques especially  adorable, and I loaded up on unique knickknacks to take home. Catherine and I also talked up the owners, who knew everything about Ojai and the surrounding areas. It had been a long time since I’d spent 20 minutes in a store just chatting! But we had nothing but time, strolling the main drag in the California sun. This was my kind of day.

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Learning How Olive Oil is Made in Ojai

travel, California, Ojai, MercedesWhen Catherine came to pick me up for our first adventure in Ojai, it was in a cherry red Mercedes, oh yeah. How do I look in the passenger seat? Our first stop: Ojai Olive Oil, for a fascinating few hours. In addition to learning what kinds of oils different olives yield, we learned so much about the industry. Instead of using a press, most olive oil manufacturers now use a centrifuge. Ojai’s equipment is Italian (of course!) and goes through 800 lbs of olives in an hour. They’ve decided that keeping the pits in yields better taste — so they’re not separated until the very end! Ojai Olive Oil’s owner, Ron Asqith, will take you through the whole process, from washing to paste to the separation of all water, if you take his tour.

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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.

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