Even though I grew up just 30 minutes away from Ojai (pronounced O-hi), I rarely went there. It's a drive through the mountains and always seemed much farther than it really is.
A few weekends ago, Eric and I decided to take advantage of the beautiful weather and spent the afternoon there.
Our first stop was a restaurant called Feast Bistro. I'd done some internet researching and found this place to be recommended by lots of people. It fit our dining criteria (good looking food, not too pricey, located in the middle of town) and we were both eager to try it out.
The restaurant itself was small and homey. There was also a nice patio area closed in with tall shrubs and twinkly lights.
The open-concept kitchen was right across from our table and I had a prime spot for watching all the action go down. The two chefs seemed like they were buddies, cracking jokes while making meals. They even came over and asked how our food was and we had some small talk. It was a really laid back, friendly atmosphere.
Eric ordered the pulled pork sandwich and I got the burger. Both were EXCELLENNNNT.
Look at all that crispy cheese! Drool.
After lunch, we walked around the downtown section. Which is all of one block, so that didn't take much time. We also stopped into a dimly lit bar that had six other people in it, including the bartender. Two of them had limps, two walked out of a trick door/ wall, one went into the bathroom and never came out, and one was a pirate dressed in Harley-Davidson attire. The jukebox was playing a slow, solem cover of Prince' When Doves Cry. I expected Laura Palmer to come walking in at any moment.
We came across this stairwell that led up to the post office bell tower. Too bad it was no longer open for everyday people to hastily climb up and risk their lives on.
We rode the trolley all through town. It was only $1 per person and a great way to get a lay of the land. It wasn't like the usual touring trolley that shows you town highlights- it was actually Ojai's version of a city bus. So we really got to see shops and neighborhoods we would have never discovered on our own. Like the Ojai Valley Inn and Spa, where the rich and famous stay.
Peace out, trolley.
We also saw a couple having their wedding photos taken at this beautiful venue, The Lavender Inn. Watching their awkward, posed stances made me cringe and I couldn't bring myself to include them in my photo.
We exited back at our original stop and grabbed some goodies before heading back home.
If you've never been to Ojai and you're in the general area, I'd definitely suggest stopping by. It has a different feel from the surrounding areas- almost like you're not in California anymore. The shops are pretty pricey, but you can easily spend a couple of hours here on the cheap.