35 miles E of Santa Barbara; 88 miles NW of L.A.
In a crescent-shaped valley between Santa Barbara and Ventura, surrounded by mountain peaks, lies Ojai (pronounced Oh-hi). It's a beautifully serene environment, selected by Frank Capra as Shangri-La, the legendary utopia of his 1936 classic Lost Horizon. The spectacularly tranquil setting has made Ojai a mecca for artists and a large population of New Age spiritualists, drawn by the area's mystical beauty.
Life is low-key in the Ojai Valley. Perhaps the most excitement generated all year happens during the first week of June, when the Ojai Music Festival draws world-renowned classical artists to perform in the Libbey Bowl amphitheater (for more information, call tel. 805/646-2094 or visit www.ojaifestival.org).
Pink It Up
While in Ojai, you're bound to hear folks wax poetic about the "pink moment" -- a phenomenon first noticed by the earliest Native American valley dwellers, when the brilliant sunset over the nearby Pacific is reflected onto the mountainside, creating an eerily beautiful pink glow.