LaLaLand was explored Part 1 of this mini series where I walked you through my first mad weekend in Los Angeles at the Girl Boss Rally and exploring the retro Farmers’ Market. Come with me as I fill you in on the new rural escape giving Palm Springs a run for its visitor-friendly money.
7am: Up early with purpose this morning as we were off to spiritual city Ojai, in Ventura County, north of Los Angeles. Despite the looks of utter confusion on Angelenos’ faces, it is very easy to get to on public transport.
11:30am: A $25, 2 hour Amtrak train ride took us from Los Angeles‘ epic and film-famous Union Station, through stations that were almost definitely from WestWorld, past film sets to Ventura where an easy Uber ride dropped us at another accidental hip vegan lunch spot The Farmer and The Cook.
1:00pm: Arrow Heart Yoga in Ojai has a resident masseuse, Lauren who is beyond incredible. We went in feeling like death reheated and came out dancing on rainbows. What was in that tea?
5:00pm: We checked in at great value and super comfy The Hummingbird Inn on the outskirts of downtown Ojai after taking the local old fashioned shuttle from the yoga studio. Changed for dinner we wander the cute main street, checking out thrift stores for the next day and eat the chef’s special tacos at Agave Maria with a local mandarin frozen margarita. This has to be living the dream.
7:00pm: An ice-cream night cap at retro parlour Ojai Ice Cream
9:00am: After a restorative night’s rest we are back on the path again, first thing checking out our hotel’s neighbour the gorgeous 70s style The Capri Hotel with our complimentary morning coffee in hand. In fact, our hotel and The Capri have been purchased by small chain Shelter Social Club who have great plans to bring the hotels back to their former glories with chilled pool parties and super comfortable suites from which to explore the local nature.
12:00pm: Having smashed through the goodies in amazing local thrift stores (2nd Helpings, New 2 You) We fall upon the biggest cinnamon bun we’ve ever seen in Ojai Cafe Emporium with a box salad to enjoy later.
2:00pm: Continuing down the main street we visit gorgeous interior shop DeKor and end up in local outpost of Beacon Coffee for a nitro cold brew (yes, we thought they were making it up too but apparently not, it’s everywhere.)
3:00pm: Now for our real secret and you’ve got to promise that only the truly worthy will hear of this…. To use the stunning spa at the Ojai Valley Inn and Spa, yes, the 5* one where Audrey Hepburn used to stay and real life silver screen legends like Brad Pitt and Julia Roberts frequent …you don’t need to be a hotel guest, just book a treatment and you can spend all afternoon in the Spa. Mic drop.
We opted for the Kuyam, a treatment inspired by the local Chumash Native American Indians, then read magazines and drank local herbal tea to our hearts’ content.
6:00pm: Sitting on the spa terrace we witness Ojai’s famous ‘Pink Moment’ when the sun sets and turns the mountains pink as it does so. We had no camera on us in the spa to capture it for you, you should probably just go and see for yourselves.
7:00pm: We round off our 5* experience with a local beer at Jimmy’s Pub gazing at the outlines of the mountains and all the stars we never get to see at home.
9:30am: We check out new bakery on the block, Knead. If you have to check that the coffee and orange peel studded breakfast cake is, indeed for one person, this is our kind of place!
11:00am: A few more shops to hit up on the search for presents for friends back home ; FIG living stands out for their inspirational quote tea towels and make up bags and for the fact that, as it’s International Women’s Day, they are donating 20% of their takings to a local fund that empowers girls to speak up for themselves. Totally #GirlBoss so we naturally buy everything.
12:00pm: A last lunch in Ojai at colourful 50s style diner Bonnie Lu’s before catching the Amtrak back to Los Angeles for our final weekend.
2:00pm: We didn’t bet on the local cab company taking so long to pick us up (too accustomed to Uber, clearly) so we miss the Amtrak. Grr. However, we do learn that our driver used to be a top chef in LA and hangs out at mountain retreats with Woody Harrelson.
2:30pm: No fear, we can get an Uber out here at the Amtrak station back into Los Angeles. We take shelter from the sun in cute Sandbox Coffee House right by the station and are saved by Frank who is happy to take us the 1.15hr drive back to the city.
3:00pm: Driving through the valleys we blast out Social Distortion, stopping at an incredible local fruit stand and spying Magic Mountain.
4:30pm: A spot of Los Angeles traffic later we arrive at our low cost hotel for the last few nights in LA; PodShare is a budget but well prepared shared working / living space which only sets us back $40/night in Los Feliz
6:00pm: Out in town again, this time to sample the Filipino BBQ delights of The Park’s Finest ; check back soon for the full review of this awesome meaty feast. No vegans allowed!