By Nancy Powell
Why You Must Go: Located just 15 miles from the ocean, in a tranquil valley ringed in by mountains and oak groves, Ojai is small town Mayberry with a bite of sophistication. Ojai boasts the world’s largest outdoor bookstore in Bart’s Books and a biblical garden at the Ojai Presbyterian Church. Let’s not forget the plethora of museums and art galleries along the main drag (Ojai Avenue), more health and organic food stores than one can count and world-record bass fishing at Lake Casitas. Right in the middle of all this is The Lavender Inn, a converted schoolhouse that is both modern and sophisticated, yet retains the antiquated charm of a traditional B&B. Most rooms have terraces that open out into the town square or the quaint gardens below. You can treat yourself to an evening of quiet contemplation beneath the oaks with the calming scent of lavender in the air, or curl up in the garden hammock. Every day, the innkeepers start mornings off with a hot breakfast (usually a quiche) and an assortment of fruits and not-your-continental-variety pastries, and end busy afternoons with a blessing of wine and cheese to restore your katra.
Where To eat: Jim and Rob’s Fresh Grill serves up a mean achiote burrito, enough for two, and a rajas con crema quesadilla that really hits the spot. Bonnie Lu’s at the Arcade dishes up old fashioned breakfasts with a smile that’ll brighten any day.
What Else To Check Out: Shareen Prashanthi Torres of 52 Weeks of Peace offers a 90-minute integral yoga class for only $15 that will leave you in balance with the Force.
Lavender Inn, 210 E. Matilija Street, Ojai, (805) 646-6635, www.lavenderinn.com;$115-$300, 7 rooms plus one private cottage, “Foodie” and “Bed, Breakfast and Bikes” specials at 10 percent off the room rate.