My family travels together frequently, yet we don't tend to take actual trips. The last trip all of us went on together was to France, and that was years ago. Honestly, I don't even remember what year it was.
This trip was back to California. Going to California feels like we are going back. Back to part of our lives, part of our history. My family lived on the Presidio for three years when I was a little girl. And now, all these years later, we are slowly moving back. My littlest sister moved out to California and now, a year later, I am following her lead and heading that way myself. But before that was planned or decided, we had all decided on Cali as a summer vacation. It became quite the tour de la Cali, with Ojai the start, a little trip up to San Fran + Mill Valley, and then back to LA for a brief weekend.
So here is a little review of our trip and all the recommendations...
We rented a little mini farm house in Ojai with the most stunning of views. Everyday we walked among the trees collecting fresh oranges and kumquats. The oranges my mother juiced; the kumquats, they pretty much just went straight into our mouths.
What to do in Ojai:
Hiking: We only went on an ever so brief hike. Had we had more time, it would definitely have been fun to explore the surrounding hills and vista points.
Day trip to the Ronald Reagan Library: Definitely impressed with the museum here. Make sure to spend a day or at least a good number of hours here. There is too much to read and see to do it in an hour like we tried to do.
Ojai Olive Oil Company tasting and tour: Make sure to check days and times, because it is definitely worth going when you can take a tour and hear about the process of growing olives and turning them into olive oil. We all left with renewed passion for small organic growers and the need to support them. People who are producing the best quality goods they can. It is almost impossible not to give an impassioned speech about organic and sustainable farming practices and the need as consumers to be aware of how and where our food is being produced.
Sunday Farmers Market: support the local food economy of Ojai and get some of the most amazing produce at ridiculous prices...like these dahlias we scoured for $5! And 5 avocados for $3!
Where to Eat in Ojai:
Between cooking fresh produce at our house and taking little day trips around the area, I don't feel like we had a chance to try too many restaurants or cafes in Ojai.
Knead baking company: Hands down the best food we had in town. Super cute little bakery and café.
Where to Shop in Ojai:
DeKor & Co: Absolutely perfect. Spot on aesthetic and a gorgeous curation of goods.
Summer Camp: Set on the way out of town in an old gas station. Love a slew of brands they carry and was happy to pick up some post cards to send to friends while in Ojai.
Ojai Olive Oil Company: What better place to get olive oil than straight from the source, especially when you hear the staggering statistics of how much olive oil we import when California makes a great place for growing olives, especially with their water crisis and olives only needing one galloon of water!
Ojai Baby: With babies being born like crazy among friends and family, this was a must stop.
Bart's Books: seriously the cutest outdoor bookshop! A total must!
Carolina Gramm: On the main street in Ojai, this sweet Italian proprietor makes her own olive oil and vinegar infusions, perfect for making and baking and cooking alike!
California is a dyers dream! With eucalyptus, pomegranates, avocados, and more seriously at my finger tips, I cannot wait to move out there and begin dyeing using what is locally grown and produced.
San Fran and LA were both such whirlwinds, that I really didn't take any pictures, but here are some recommendations from our time.
Where to Eat outside San Fran:
Rustic Bakery in Tiburon
Parkside Cafe in Stinson Beach
Where to Eat in LA:
Ostrich Farm is turning into a must for every trip to LA...their cocktails were pretty phenomenal
Stamp for their Turmeric, Ginger, Almond Milk Latte
Madcapra at Grand Central Market
Where to Shop in LA:
The Arts District