The Ojai Valley
The serene inland valley town of Ojai, California (population approximately 8000), located about twelve miles north of the coastal city of Ventura on Highway 33, has long been a gathering place for farmers, ranchers, artists, educators, and health and spiritual seekers. The Ojai Valley consists of two small valleys each about five miles long and two to three miles wide, connected by the steep Dennison Grade. The valleys are flanked on the north by the Santa Ynez Mountains─rugged mountains of the east-west oriented Transverse Range, and on the south by the lower Black and Sulphur Mountains.
The highest point are the striking Topa Topa bluffs at 6200 feet. Sunsets create beautiful alpenglow on the mountains locals call “the pink moment.” Hiking trails abound in the Los Padres National Forest that borders the valley and on Ojai Valley Land Conservancy preserves. The upper valley, at about 1400 feet in elevation, is still predominantly ranches and open country, while the town is located in the lower valley at 750 feet in elevation. Citrus and avocado groves blanket much of the east end of the lower valley.
Ojai is a vibrant family town with oak and sycamore covered pathways, sunny skies and spectacular views. Ojai is most noted for its annual Ojai Day in October, the Ojai Tennis Tournament (since 1896) in April, and the Ojai Music Festival (since 1947) in June. Prominent features of the town include the Mission Revival arcade, pergola and post office tower, originally built in 1917 by architects Frank Mead and Richard Requa. Many community events take place throughout the year in the lovely tree-covered Libbey Park with its plaza, bandstand and Libbey Bowl performance venue.
Photos: © Elise DePuydt