By Justin Chao
When Lishan—our visitor from London--was here, we went to Ojai for a quick overnight trip. I highly recommend Ojai as an easy weekend trip from Los Angeles. Ojai is only an hour and a half drive away, but it feels like it is worlds away from hectic LA.
On our way into Ojai, we stopped at Old Creek Ranch Winery. Old Creek Ranch Winery is located on a charming 850-acre cattle ranch. Unfortunately, the vineyards were lost during the 1980’s to Pierce’s disease. The owners now bring in wine grapes from other vineyards for the Old Creek Ranch Winery label. For a $10 tasting fee, we were able to taste nine wines. My favorite was the Viognier which tasted of apricots.
After the winery, we checked in at the Ojai Valley Inn. If we weren’t so short on time, we probably would have spent an entire day just relaxing at the pool and spa there. The architecture takes advantage of the weather in Ojai and provides spaces that draw you outside to enjoy the scenery. Highlights included the organic vegetable garden and the beautiful swimming pools scattered around the property. In addition, there were fireplaces in all of the outdoor spaces so you could sit outside and enjoy the warm summer night. We were lucky enough to check-in on a Thursday when they have their Manager’s Reception which included complimentary wine and cheese.
After the reception we had dinner at Suzanne’s and then headed over to the Ojai Beverage Company. Ojai Beverage Company is a wine store with a bar in the back. The bar offered 20 different beers on tap. We decided to do a five beer flight for $10. My favorite of the five beers in my flight was the Firestone 805 Blonde Ale. In addition to the bar, they also had a great selection of local wines for sale in the store and very large selection of beers.
The next morning we went horseback riding in the Ojai Meadows Preserve. Even though I was a little nervous at first because I don't have a lot of experience horseback riding, I had a great time. Unfortunately, because it was summer, the river was not running. However, the beautiful mountains and trees still made the trip worth it.
After horseback riding, we stopped at our friend's organic orange grove. The 20-acre grove was located on a creek and was filled with beautiful oak trees and river rocks. After we finished lunch and were getting ready to drive back to LA, our friends told us that to stop by Ideal Seafood on our way back. Ideal Seafood is located in a very unassuming drive-through stand. If we hadn’t gotten a recommendation, we probably would not have seen it. We bought the ahi sashimi tuna and swordfish. The fish was all incredibly fresh, and they even put it in a cooler bag for us with ice.