What to do in Ojai

by Misty Hall

There’s a lot of “ideal” to be had in a place like Ojai. As someone who grew up in the community and has deep roots here, my Ideal Ojai Day would include a blend of more popular hotspots and best-kept-secret spots.
The day would start at NoSo Vita, where I’d meet with friends on the patio for a leisurely coffee, pastries, and conversation. I’ll plan for extra time there, because chances are, we’ll run into lots of people we know.
Then I’d head west to the neighborhood of Meiners Oaks for a massage with Summer McComas of Enhanced Day Spa & Boutique. This gal knows her stuff; I swear her fingers are magic. Formerly known as Summer’s Dawn, Enhanced got a name change and face-lift recently, but it still consistently ranks among the best Ojai has to offer.
There’s lots of lunch choices to be had within steps of Enhanced, but my go-to would have to be Papa Lennon’s Pizzeria. You can’t go wrong with any of their pizzas, although my favorite is the tomato, basil and garlic; the rosemary chicken panini is also killer. And eating on the Mediterranean-in- spired patio is a must! The ivy-covered walls, the sound of the fountain, the little bistro tables ... perfection.
After lunch comes a drive up Highway 33 for a hike in Rose Valley with some good buddies. If we’re too full to hike, the drive alone makes for a great way to spend an afternoon. The smell of sage fills the air, and the yellow Spanish Broom — while invasive — is dramatic and gorgeous.
I love going up to Rose Valley Lake,
exploring the surrounding
area, and sitting
near the edge
of the water,
where there’s
almost always
a cool breeze. It’s especially exciting
to go up there this year, when the lake is full again after being bone-dry just a short time ago. We’re still in a drought here in Ventura County, so seeing that lake so full is a particularly beautiful thing.
If we’re feeling a little
more adventurous, we
might keep going past
the lake and head up
Blanca trailhead for a jaunt around the huge white rocks. It’s a playground whether you’re 5 or 55.
If I’ve been hiking all day with beer fans, there’s no question as to where we’re headed: Ojai Beverage Company (OBC). I’m all about the IPAs, so I really appreciate OBC’s mas- sive selection of draft and bottled beers — as well as their servers’ beer-brain power.
Don’t be afraid to ask for a little sip of an unfamiliar draft; they want you to enjoy your choice! But even with that huge selection, more often than not, I’ll end up with my favorite beer ever: Topa Brewing to the Piedra
Company’s Chief Peak. Co-founder Jack Dyer lives here in Ojai, and has tasting rooms in Ventura and Santa Barbara.
Even if I’m hanging with friends who aren’t beer fans, Ojai Beverage Company has us covered with their huge selection of cocktails, and wines by the glass or bottle. And just in case you thought we would be drinking our dinner, don’t worry — OBC’s menu is extensive and tasty. I mean, come on, who can say no to truffle fries?!
Like at NoSo Vita, OBC offers a great place to hang out, so we’ll probably end up spending a few hours at the end of the day the same way we started it: with good vibes, in the company of good buddies

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