| SoCal’s Eco-Friendly Oasis |
With family in the ant swarm of the Los Angeles basin, we are frequently pulled southward from our tranquil northern California home. And to ease entry into (or out of) the notorious SoCal sprawl, we often seek out a nearby oasis to “prepare” or “regroup.”
Ojai fits the bill perfectly. Just a couple of hours drive from our L.A. destination, this lovely, serene way station is a sigh of relief, a mix of natural beauty, history, culture and mysticism, all percolating in a picturesque valley flanked by rolling hills and forested mountains.
We like it that “the village,” as locals call it, is completely free of chain stores—retail and fast-food—which are banned by local ordinance. We like it that the area has been known as a sacred healing place from the time of the Chumash Indians, the valley’s first residents, whose word for “moon” lent the town its name. In a previous century, the Los Angeles Times claimed this was the “magnetic center of the earth.” Even today New Age gurus are drawn to “The Shangri-La of Southern California,” Ojai’s self-proclaimed sobriquet inspired by Frank Capra’s 1937 film classic, Lost Horizon, which used the valley as a model for its mythical paradise.
A lifestyle of health, spirit, art
Today’s Ojai is as about as close as it gets to a real-life paradise, as it fosters a lifestyle focusing on ecology, health, organic food, walking/hiking, spirituality, music and art. Local festivals promote peace activism, ecological awareness and an understanding of multiculturalism…read more