If you’ve followed my travels for a while, you know I love a good weekend trip to Ojai. There’s always less traffic than driving south–from LA. It’s a prettier drive, and you can stop for some outlet or antique shopping along the way.
I’ve been visiting Ojai for over 20 years now. The Ojai Valley Inn has always been my go-to. A quick escape away from home. I’ve loved it since my first rose petal treatment… which I believe they’ve stopped offering. I will always savor my stays there. But it’s changed over the years. The pools and shops for better; the customer service for worse.
I should clarify actually – the onsite service and staff still remain as lovely as ever. It’s the Reservations team and pre-arrival customer experience that has felt cold and unaccommodating the past few years. But, as I’m admittedly picky about hotels and not a huge B&B lover, the resort has always been my first choice in Ojai.
I hadn’t been back to the area since before the 2017 fires, and actually didn’t even know what was still standing. So when I got an invite from the town’s PR team to come visit for a summer solstice shopping event, I was all about it.
Turns out there are plenty of other lodging accommodations in Ojai – camp sites, lodges, B&Bs, and intimate hotels.
I stayed at the Lavender Inn—an historic B&B that my sister told me was charming. And it was! Late afternoon wine and cheese offering. Complimentary wifi. Morning breakfast buffet. Multiple outdoor and indoor spaces to sit and chill. Or work in my case. Lots of little touches to make you feel at home.
I’ll always prefer a luxe hotel stay, but it’s easy to be charmed by the pride of a well-maintained landmark B&B. Built in 1874. It was originally Ojai’s first schoolhouse! Like the Inn keeper at Lavender Inn, the local shop owners we came across all upheld an attitude of gratitude. It’s a town that’s endured disaster and has come out the other side.
I even spotted groups of chairs set up randomly along Ojai Avenue. When I asked what they were for, I was told that the older locals secure their spots weeks in advance for the annual 4th of July parade… and it’s well-known not to mess with these chairs. Amazing! Such small-town spirit is completely foreign to a city girl. I laugh thinking what would happen if people set chairs out prior to a Laker parade, or the like. If LA ever gets another Championship parade, I’m going to set up chairs the night before and see what happens.
If you visit Ojai (and you should!), I recommend stopping in at these charming shops:
- Bart’s Books –A haven for book lovers. New & used since 1964.
- Cattywampus Crafts – For creatives who appreciate hand-made anything.
- Fig Curated Living—For those shopping for art, jewelry & home finds with a hint of inspo.
- Heavenly Honey Company—For those who covet locally-sourced honey products.
- Human Arts Gallery—For the whimsical art lover + collector.
- In the Field—For the shopper of Boho chic fashion + curations of home décor.
- New Leaf—For a customized day spa-style treatment + luxe skincare & gifts.
- Ojai Valley Brewery/Azu Restaurant & Bar—For those who crave locally-brewed beer, craft cocktails + unique menu options.
- Treasures of Ojai – For those who love to get lost in a classic antique store.
#shopojai #ojailove #ojai