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The Ojai Valley

The Facts

Ojai is an easy drive from Los Angeles—about an hour north of the city. As for weather, the summer can get very hot. But the beach is only 20 minutes away.

Hotels
Ojai Valley Inn & Spa 905 Country Club Rd.; 800/422-6524 or 805/646-5511; doubles from $245. The address is no fluke— the Ojai Valley Inn & Spa feels like a country club, what with its golf course and country-club clientele. The 211 rooms are spread across 14 buildings, flowing down a hill. The ones at the spa (they're newer) are nicer, but farther from everything.
Blue Iguana Inn 11794 N. Ventura Ave.; 805/646-5277; doubles from $95. Homey, with an emphasis on local art. Spend more for a room away from the road.
Moon's Nest Inn 210 E. Matilija St.; 805/646-6635; doubles from $95. A former schoolhouse, now a B&B. The people who bought it three years ago have given it a fresh makeover.
Ojai Foundation 9739 Ojai-Santa Paula Rd.; 805/646-8343; from $25. Sleep in a yurt and help with the chores.

Restaurants
Maravilla Ojai Valley Inn & Spa, 905 Country Club Rd.; 805/646-5511; dinner for two $110. Ojai's best restaurant by far. Interesting combinations—seared ahi tuna with tempura asparagus on a Chinese pancake—in a vaguely rustic room. Suzanne's Cuisine 502 W. Ojai Ave.; 805/640-1961; dinner for two $60. The menu is all over the place: salmon on sauerkraut; tomato, feta, and onion salad. But the place hops as Suzanne works the room (she's the one who looks like Linda Evans after a tussle with Joan Collins on Dynasty).
Ranch House S. Lomita Ave.; 805/646-2360; dinner for two $75. Ojai's most famous restaurant has a pretty garden with patio seating; the food has lost its luster, though.
Boccali's 3277 Ojai-Santa Paula Rd.; 805/646-6116; lunch for two $20. A white building across from an orange grove, with picnic tables. Pizzas, pastas, Italian sandwiches.
The Summit 12689 Santa Paula-Ojai Rd., Santa Paula; 805/933-9898; lunch for two $12. Old-fashioned fast food, from bacon cheeseburgers to chili fries.

Shops, sights, spirituality
Local Hero 254 E. Ojai Ave.; 805/646-3165.
Bart's Books 302 W. Matilija St.; 805/646-3755. Legendary 36-year-old outdoor used-book store.
Krotona Institute of Theosophy 46 Krotona Hill; 805/646-1139.
Krishnamurti Library & Study Center 1130 McAndrew Rd.; 805/646-4948.
Lake Casitas Recreation Area 11311 Santa Ana Rd., Ventura; 805/649-2233. For boat rentals, call 805/649-2043.
Ojai Ranger District Office 1190 E. Ojai Ave.; 805/646-4348. Get trail maps here.
Center for Earth Concerns 2162 Baldwin Rd.; 805/649-3535. By appointment only (and they mean it).
Meditation Mount 805/646-5508. Meditate in a group or on your own, with a wonderful valley view.
Pink Moment Jeep Tours 805/653-1321; from $35 per person. They'll take you up the mountain to view the sunset.

Artists
George Stuart's Gallery of Historical Figures 805/646-6339; open weekends May-December.
Studio of the Hills 805/646-2000. Home of Zubin and Shahastra, who've set up a walk in the woods with stops that challenge you to think about who you are. By appointment only.
Carmen Abelleira-White at Art Detour Studio 805/646-9809. By appointment only.

Outside the Ojai Coffee Roasting Co. (337 E. Ojai Ave.; 805/646-4478), there's a quirky poem taped word-by-word onto a lamppost.

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