by Francoise Rhodes | April 11, 2019 9:13 pm
By Françoise Rhodes, Host of Traveling With Françoise radio and television, CEO – President of Artifacts and Arts Across America, Inc.
For many visitors the Coachella Valley is an outdoor wonderland featuring many preserves, oasis’s, hiking trails and desert glory. However seldom is the valley referred to as a spiritual retreat . In fact, those of us who live in the CV tend to expect it to be fantastic and head to other areas for our spiritual experience, with the first area being Sedona, Arizona, famous for the many vortex’s and natural-spiritual healing vibes.
Perhaps it’s time to consider Ojai, known around the world for health and wellness retreats, resorts and outdoor adventures. I remember on my first trip to Ojai I wasn’t sure what to expect. Eating healthy and exercising is a given, but I also like to indulge in not so healthy food and sometimes relax and enjoy the outdoors and not try to conquer it.
I was pleasantly surprised to find Ojai charming, beautiful and with an abundance of choices regarding my quest for spiritual healing or well being. Located in Ventura County and the Ojai Valley, Ojai is northwest of Los Angeles and east of Santa Barbara and about 15 miles from the Pacific Ocean. The valley is about 10 miles long by 3 miles wide, surrounded by hills and mountains and bordering the Los Padres National Forest .
Downtown Ojai is filled with small locally owned shops, restaurants and art galleries. Except for a few gas stations, chain stores are prohibited making the stroll through town delightful. The year round population is about 7,000 and everyone seems to know everyone who lives there. Yes, Ojai is also a tourism destination known for its boutique hotels, recreation opportunities, hiking, spiritual retreats and farmers’ market of local organic agriculture. I found the lodging interesting as I stayed a few nights at a B & B on the main street and then moved over to boutique resort. The Ojai Valley Inn is famous, large and grand…..making me realize the options are plentiful in Ojai.
According to sources the origin of the name Ojai has historically been known as derived from an Indigenous word meaning nest, though the specific Indigenous nation is not identified. The city’s self-styled nickname is “Shangri-La” referencing the natural environment of this health and spirituality-focused region as well as the mystical sanctuary of 1937 film adaption of James Hilton’s novel Lost Horizon. With greenery in every direction I got the “Shangri-La” reference and not once did I have an inkling to visit the beach as I found Ojai to be bursting with colorful flowers in every direction and quite refreshing.
Besides all of the outdoor activities and spa’ing, don’t miss Bart’s Books – The Largest Outdoor Bookstore. It’s a little off the beaten path and fun to visit this maze of racks and racks of books. From used to new, I was amazed at how the staff knew exactly what part of the store to send customers looking for that special book. Even if you aren’t a big reader you can’t go to Ojai and not visit Bart’s.
There’s so much to do, or not do in Ojai I think it’s time you go explore the area yourself. During the summer months it can get a little warm but with the late afternoon comes the cool ocean breezes. I’ll drop you a line the next time I’m headed to Ojai!
For more information about Traveling With Françoise or Artifacts & Arts Across America, Inc., visit TravelingWithFrancoise.com .
Source URL: https://coachellavalley.com/ojai-california-an-outdoor-retreat/
Copyright ©2021 Coachella Valley unless otherwise noted.