I was so excited when Grant asked me to go to his hometown of Ojai for a little mini vaca. This was my first time to visit this picturesque town and I instantly fell in love. I lived in Los Angeles-Burbank to be exact-for a couple years, yet never made the short (depending on traffic, of course) trip to the smallest city in Ventura County. We flew into LAX and Grant’s mother Lucinda was there to pick us up and was kind enough to be our chauffeur! We took our time driving up the Pacific Coast Highway with a few stops, one being Marmalade Cafe in Malibu for a little brunch and mimosas! Marmalade Cafe has always been a favorite of mine and I was a frequent visitor when I lived in LA. I even had my going away brunch there before I moved back to Texas. Next stop, Champagne Ranch in Malibu! Gotta love that name, right?!! Larry and Lynn Welk, who own this beautiful ranch, have horses with Grant and we wanted to check out life on the ranch Malibu-style…
I’ve heard a lot of wonderful things about this charming city, one being about the world famous Ojai Pixie Tangerines! Agave Maria’s Restaurant & Cantina is known for their patio, but more importantly their Pixie Margarita! Caution!!! Not only are they delicious, but they go down a little too easy…
The Ojai Valley Inn & Spa is one of the most beautiful spas in one of the most surreal surroundings that I’ve been. The spa is over 31,000 square feet of absolute paradise. Lucinda (Grant’s mom) surprised me with a girls’ day at the spa, just the two of us! I went with the relaxation massage and the moisturizing facial and they truly were some of the most amazing treatments I’ve had.
You can’t go to California without a visit to the beach. Grant and his brother Jake took me to the spot where they grew up surfing, Hobsons Beach. Although the waves were small, it didn’t stop us from enjoying a perfect day at the beach. And to top the day off, we saw whales in the near distant breaching!!! I could watch that all day-so special!
That evening we dined at Boccali’s in Ojai, it’s a favorite spot of the Setnicka clan. The Boccali family has lived in Ojai their entire lives and have been serving Ojai’s most authentic and freshest Italian food for years. I suggest getting a little bit of everything to share family style, but don’t forget to end your meal with their famous strawberry shortcake!
The next day we traveled just a bit north to Santa Ynez Valley. We had a full day planned. First we had lunch at Dos Carlitos Restaurant and Tequila Bar-Great California Mexican cuisine!
We fit a lot into this short trip, and even got to send my dad and the rest of the Rancho Vistadores members off at the official kick off parade. It is quite a sight to behold-check it out!
We then headed to our first winery, Gainey Vineyard in Santa Ynez. My pick was the 2012 Pinot Noir for my red and the 2012 Sauvignon Blanc for my white. Curtis Winery , a Firestone Family Vineyard in Los Olivos was our last stop. The 2012 Syrah and the 2012 Heritage Blac were my favorites.
Before heading back to Ojai, we met my Uncle Dan and Aunt Debbie for dinner at The Red Barn Steak House in Santa Ynez. Such a treat!! One of my favorite restaurants in the area! Fantastic menu and such a cool bar area!
OK, this is totally random, but many of you commented about this yellow and grey maxi dress when I posted a pic on Instagram. Well, it’s from Forever 21, but I can’t find it anymore online. However, I found a dress that is almost exactly the same HERE! And with a $32.99 price point, it’s a steal! Alright, back to the vacation…
Ojai has all the qualities of a small town. You really get a sense of why it’s such a popular destination-you are able to get away from the hustle and bustle of life in the big city and enjoy that classic, small town feel. With every great vacation, time seems to fly by! Even though our trip to Ojai was short, I see many more trips there very soon!
Bird “McKenzie M.”