Whether you’re trying to keep a New Year’s resolution or need a healthy getaway, aim for Ojai, a community devoted to fresh food, fitness, and improving the mind-body connection. Bike or hike at sunrise or meditate at sunset, when the Topatopa Mountains glow a radiant pink. You can check into a spa for a health overhaul, immerse in spiritual teachings at the Krishnamurti Foundation of America or the Krotona Library and Research Center, or join the locals for a DIY wellness retreat with leisurely walks amid the peacefulness of a beautiful small town.
Pick up an Ojai Village walking map for details on shops, spas, classes, and metaphysical products. Explore rolling hills, the beach, and everything between with guided hikes, bike rides, and rock-climbing tours from Trails by Potter ($50 and up). Go freestyle with rental bikes from Bicycles of Ojai ($26 per day) or the MOB Shop ($29 per day). A reader’s paradise, Ojai offers the downtown public library, the outdoor indie bookstore Bart’s Books, and thousands of volumes on spirituality, philosophy, and religion at the Krotona and Krishnamurti libraries.
Fine dining at the Ojai Valley Inn has a new name, Olivella, a new chef de cuisine, Andrea Rodella, and a contemporary new look. A little Taittinger Champagne lifts the spirits and adds bright acidity to an appetizer of local heirloom tomatoes and burrata ($18). The four-course, gourmet meals ($85) can be made vegetarian by request. At the Hip Vegan Cafe, try the Vietnamese coffee ($3) or a vegan wrap or salad with tempeh or tofu and a choice of dressings ($8 to $15). A date shake with raw cacao is great post-workout fuel ($7).
The all-inclusive downtown spa The Oaks at Ojai operates more like a super-healthy overnight camp for adults. Morning hikes, all-day exercise classes, evening workshops, and a relaxed atmosphere make getting healthy fun and friendly ($250 to $710 per person). For a $130 day pass, guests get access to all meals and classes. The Ojai Valley Inn and Spa ($309 and up) offers the benefits of deep meditation, without the years of practice, with a session in the futuristic Somadome meditation pod. Slip into the pod’s recliner and headphones, lower the hood, and let light and inaudible frequencies relax you ($45).
Ojai is about 120 miles northwest of Orange County, just 30 minutes north of and inland from Ventura.