Ojai

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Just a few miles up Highway 33, but a world away from the headaches and traffic that thwart much of Southern California is the small town of Ojai. About 12 miles inland from Ventura, Ojai is the smallest city in Ventura County, and we are darn proud of it.

Ojai’s charms are many. The community has long been known as a haven for artists, musicians and health enthusiasts. A village ”as we locals call it”of about 8,000, Ojai is a vibrant place with so much natural beauty that it gained fame decades ago when the area was photographed to represent Shangri-La in the 1939 movie, The Lost Horizon.

Filled with delightful shops, art galleries and a host of places to retreat from the fast-paced lifestyle that can knot the nerves, Ojai invites you to walk its oak-shaded paths taking some time to drink in the serenity of it all.

Ojai nurtures its art and artists. The Ojai Center for the Arts, Summer Art Stroll, Ojai Studio Artists Tour and Art in the Park offer venues for an abundance of artistic expression. Numerous galleries show the work of local artists and those from afar. A work of art is displayed publicly in the Arcade Plaza, a newly redeveloped area behind the shopping Arcade where a bronze poppy fountain sends water flowing freely over its broad base. Art is even shown in City Hall where the Ojai Arts Commission rotates artwork every few months to feature a different artist.

Ojai’s reputation as a golfing paradise brings many to the city. The Ojai Valley Inn and Spa is listed as one of the top 25 golf resorts in North America. The course is as challenging as it is lovely. The Inn undertook renovations a few years ago to emerge more beautiful than ever including an already famous spa that is available to work out any kinks picked up on the award-winning golf course. Soule Park, a beautiful public course that delivers great value for the money along with spectacular views, is just past downtown on Ojai Avenue.

All that outdoor activity can make one hungry and Ojai is a perfect place to locate just the right food to nourish body and soul. Numerous restaurants dot the village, many taking advantage of local harvests with an abundance of fresh food.

For a taste of small-town Americana come to Ojai’s Independence Day Parade and festivities. The parade is the epitomes of small town charm. Everyone who is not in the parade is watching the parade from their lawn-chair seats that line Ojai Avenue for a day or two before the event. The parade features a few homemade floats and lots of kids and horses. See local cheerleaders, dancing young girls in tutus, boys in their judo gear and others on bicycles decked out in the red, white and blue. There is no better place to be to appreciate the joy of being a free American than watching the townspeople applauding one more time at the sight of their own marching to patriotic sounds.

Ojai community information provided by city website

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