Ojai Tower photographed by Joe Virnig.
Think a visit to a Southern California beach is the best way to escape the stress of the city? In summer and fall, think again. Far too often, beaches are jammed with tourists and finding a quiet spot (let alone a parking spot) is about as stressful as your day job. If you really want to escape the crowds and feed your soul (instead of a parking lot attendant), you may want to consider heading inland instead, to Ojai.
Just north of Los Angeles and directly east of Ventura Beach, Ojai has established itself as California’s oasis of chill for those seeking quiet, solitude and wellness. Nestled in a picturesque valley surrounded by hills and aromatic orchards, Ojai invigorates all those who visit with a quiet charm and healthful buzz that proves infectious.
Case in point? The small town’s 12-unit Ojai Retreat, where the focus is on quiet reflection, not TV. There are no TVs in rooms, and who needs one when views are as good as they are at this spiritual-feeling resort that caters to those seeking solitude. Check their library in the main check-in area, or watch the sunset near the resort’s fountain surrounded by well-manicured flora.
For additional solitude, inspiration and meditative silence, drop by Meditation Mount, whose mission statement is to “promote the building of an enlightened and compassionate world through the power of creative meditation.”
While a day at the beach sounds relaxing, what is actually far more relaxing is tapping into Ojai’s well-known people power: the small town’s 10,000 or so are famous for having hundreds of world-renowned spiritual practitioners, all who are happy to assist anyone seeking forget the stress of the big city.
One such urban refugee perhaps typical of Ojai is Julie Hahn. The Reiki Master left her native Boston, where she helped countless Boston bombing victims heal after the attack, and has set up shop in Ojai, offering a suite of spiritual services from her Spanish style home, with care and demeanor befitting of a board certified Chaplain (which she is). The relaxation doesn’t come any better than a Reiki session here, but Hahn is just one of dozens of certified healing professionals in the area offering up incredible massages, spa services and spiritual minded body work for those wanting to proverbially, and in many cases actually, re-align chakras.
It’s hard to put your finger on what makes Ojai so relaxing, locals point to the “electromagnetic vortex,” a supposed force field generated by plate tectonics that gives the valley its special feels. But rest assured, a visit here is worth the turn inland off the 101, especially if there is traffic towards Santa Barbara. Who needs the oceans when you can create your own (spiritual) waves.
Further information on events and places to relax this fall can be found at http://www.ojaifoundation.org/ or at http://www.ojaivisitors.com/.