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May 20, 2013

Postcards From… Ojai

C’s social correspondent Stephanie Steinman took the weekend off from her usual party hopping duties and unwound with a serene escape to Ojai. Here, she shares a few of her favorite places in the charming town she’s already itching to revisit.

There is nothing I love more than being able to enjoy a weekend getaway in my own backyard. As a C correspondent, Ford Motors offered me a chance to test-drive its new hybrid, and I literally jumped at the chance! I picked out a silver C-Max, plugged my destination into the navigation (seriously one of the best navs I’ve ever used), put my Goyard luggage in the trunk and set off for Ojai. I adjusted the radio, used the voice-command and zipped my way up North (plus, it barely used any gas—genius!).

Just over an hour later I was in Ojai. It’s a mix of rustic, folksy and chic, not a combination that usually fits together, but this is one of California’s prettiest escapes.  There are art galleries, boutiques and wineries galore and plenty of hiking trails and hot springs to indulge your outdoorsy side.  I had the most blissful few days. (Dear Ford, I’m ready for another car!).

OJAI VALLEY INN & SPA It’s honestly THE place to stay in Ojai and for good reason.  Mountains, trees and the most beautifully manicured grounds surround this incredible property which is known for its golf course.  The hotel provided us with bikes which was a fun way to explore the area.  There are a number of swimming pools where you can sit and sip on a cocktail (which is exactly what I opted to do).  As for the rooms themselves, many have fireplaces, balconies and four-poster beds—very California chic!

S’MORES My favorite part of my stay was enjoying s’mores around a fire on my first night—complete with a starry sky!  It was beyond dreamy.

BOCCALI’S The red-checkered table cloths at this darling rustic restaurant had me swooning the moment I arrived.  Boccali’s is casual and simple and loved by visitors and locals alike.  The pizza is incredible and don’t even get me started on their famous strawberry shortcake—I’m still dreaming about it!

AZU The Mediterranean-inspired cuisine and tapas menu include perfectly prepared paella, which was out of this world.  Bacon-wrapped dates, and pitchers of sangria were the perfect way to enjoy dusk.  Make sure you order their incredible homemade gelato.  It was so good I lost count on just how many scoops I actually had.

SPA OJAI Located on the stunning grounds of the Ojai Valley Inn, the spa is legendary and is the perfect way to relax and unwind in style.  They have every type of treatment you could possibly think of, but I opted for a basic 60-minute massage and was in complete and total heaven.  If you’re looking for amenities, you’ve hit the jackpot; sauna, steam, cafe, boutique, gym—there’s even a private pool!

OJAI VALLEY FARMERS MARKET The perfect way to start your Sunday morning, the local farmer’s market in downtown Ojai will have you gushing over the abundant amount of organic produce and golden-colored jars of honey.  There are lots of other treasures to be discovered and I was lucky to find a fantastic straw hat (which I can’t wait to wear on an upcoming trip with my Eres bikini).  I also brought home the most perfectly fragrant flowers.  A genuine Ojai experience that’s not to be missed.

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