The Charming Valley of the Moon, Ojai, California by Bonnie and Bill Neely

We had the opportunity of spending time in Ojai in April. Any time you choose to go is delightful because in Ojai (pronounced “O Hi”) they have four seasons every month! It can range from about 40 to 90 degrees Farenheight within a few days, and nights are almost always chilly. This beautiful little jewel of a town is planned as a perfect getaway from the surrounding huge cities of Los Angeles and Santa Barbara. Up the mountain from the terrific town of Oxnard, California, the mountain climate and serenity of beautiful flowers, tall trees, grassy lawns and parks, and birdsong is a treat for any re-treat.
Our favorite place to enjoy an excellent lunch or dinner is Suzanne’s Cuisine. This is the perfect spot for any celebration if you live in Oxnard, Ventura, Santa Barbara, or Los Angeles area. We ate beside a dancing fire and overlooking the amazing flower garden with fountain and wall of blooms, lighted for evening beauty too. The widely varied menu will please any palate. The cuisine is delicious, whatever you order. The service staff are friendly and experienced and made our meal even more enjoyable. The culinary presentation and ambiance are exquisite, and the wine list is carefully chosen. Suzanne and her daughter have owned this lovely restaurant here for many years, and everywhere we asked locals for a restaurant recommendation, they always said, “Suzanne’s!” They were QUITE RIGHT!
The little town of only about 9,000 people is a great place for walking, created with tourism in mind. With no traffic lights, cars always stop patiently for pedestrians crossing the main street, where you find four blocks of unique shops, not chain stores. You’ll find many different types of accommodations, restaurants, spas, parks, and activities to make any holiday relaxing and fun. Look around in the Historic Ojai Museum, where you will find the Ojai Visitor Bureau, and learn all about this lovely valley, named for the Chumash Indian word meaning “The Nest” or “Valley of the Moon.”
Everyone in Ojai knows and loves to wander through Bart’s Books Store, a tradition in town for many decades and a must for tourists to visit. You can meander among the books in the semi-enclosed and most unique used book store and find almost any title you could want, arranged in categories. Bart’s has long hours and cozy places to sit and read, and if you want a book from the street bookshelves all around the walls outside after the store is closed, you just place your 50cents in the slot and walk away with the book.
And if you want to return home totally renewed and invigorated, be sure to choose The Oaks for your stay. The Oaks Resort and Spa was the first Spa in the United States to combine the massages and beauty treatments of European spas with an extensive and varied exercise program and healthy, low-calorie but delicious menu. Most clients return year after year, fondly calling it their Body Boot Camp, and a return to see friends, which are easily made with the commaradery and relaxed atmosphere. The Oaks is truly a friendly, and nurturing center for health and fitness, rejuvenation and fun. The Oaks is listed among the top 26 spas in the world. It has been a favorite women’s getaway for make-overs for decades, and now men are discovering it too. It is especially popular for Father’s Day week, when men can spend time here and also on the golf courses and tennis courts nearby. Bill really enjoyed his relaxed stay here, getting massages, accupuncture, and eating right while getting in a lot of fun exercise and learning in the classes. Although he was one of only a few men there when we went in April, he says he did not grow boobs!

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