Food and travel – and especially in combination – have always been a huge part of my life. From the time I was pretty young, I have had a serious travel bug. I’m thankful that my parents were game for exploring with young kids and were also supportive of my wanderlust when I got a little older and headed off for exotic new places. Over time, my travel has slowed a little as life has been filled with young kids and busy jobs, but I still love to get away and experience new places and cultures as often as I can. Recently, Lane and I had the great opportunity to head to Ojai, California for a work conference and man, did we love it. We were able to spend four days in Ojai where we experienced tons of great food and explored a new to us region that I will definitely be heading back to soon.
Where To Stay
We were fortunate to stay at the gorgeous Ojai Valley Inn, located just a few miles down the road from the town center. The historic inn is an absolutely stunning property settled in the Ojai Valley, surrounded by the Los Padres national forest and the Topa Topa mountains. The resort itself is built in classic Spanish style architecture. It has been open since 1923 and was renovated in 2015. There is an amazing spa on site, in addition to golf, a trolley that takes guests to town, fantastic food (see below for more info on that!), and gorgeous views around every corner.
The weather was a bit cool when we were there but there are also four (!) pools, including the beautiful adults-only Indigo pool, where we enjoyed a sunny afternoon with drinks and snacks.
One of my favorite things was the Illume art installation, featuring 28 hand crafted wrought iron and glass lanterns in a 200 year old oak tree. It is absolutely magical and made our evening walks around the resort so beautiful. Nestled not far from the beautiful tree is a series of fire pits surrounded by adironak chairs that were perfect for after dinner drinks! They even brought us blankets to keep cozy with. The guest service at this resort was amazing.
We also spent an afternoon at the fantastic Spa Ojai, getting pampered with massages, facials, and body treatments. I took full advantage of the fantastic gym on site before my facial and then lounged in the hot tubs and steam room for a good chunk of the afternoon. It was heaven and I can’t wait to go back!
The food in Ojai definitely did NOT disappoint! We arrived in town late on Monday night, having driven in from LA. We stumbled on the Ojai Pub right downtown, and enjoyed some drinks and late night food. The next evening, we had reservations at Nocciola (below). It was fantastic. Located in an old house right in town, the restaurant focuses on local, organic foods and it did not disappoint. I had some wonderful salmon and an incredible corn soup with scallop that was out of this world.
The next night we walked to dinner at Olivella, part of the Ojai Valley Inn. They have a valley-to-table philosophy that supports their modern Italian food. It was fantastic. The location couldn’t be more gorgeous and the restaurant is a study in airy, classic California design. We closed down the restaurant that night, leaving with full bellies and lots of laughs. I’m still thinking about the amazing olive oil cake we had for dessert!
While a good portion of our time in Ojai was spent in class meeting a bunch of other cool emergency physicians (hi new friends!), we did get out to enjoy some of the surrounding area. We took a beautiful hike one afternoon, hit up the spa, and spent an afternoon and evening visiting friends on their nearby avocado farm. We loved getting up into the orchards and tasting some of the amazing fruit they are growing. Oh, and the view from their soon to be home (see below) wasn’t too shabby either.
Our last day was a mix of class and then a trip back to LA to catch our flight to Minneapolis. We decided to take the PCH on the way home and, despite my car sickness (yuck), it was a stunning drive. We stopped for lunch in Malibu – fish tacos! – and then headed on to LAX where we boarded the plane that took us back to the winter wonderland we know as Minnesota. All in all, it was a great trip and one I hope we can do again.
As a disclaimer, none of the stuff featured in this post was sponsored in any way. We just really loved it all and thought you might, too!