Ojai is home to more than 35 artists working in a variety of media; most have home studios and are represented in one of several galleries in town. The best for jewelry and smaller pieces is HumanArts, 246 E. Ojai Ave. (tel. 805/646-1525; www.humanartsgallery.com). Artisans band together each October for an organized Artists' Studio Tour (tel. 805/646-8126; www.ojaistudioartists.org). It's fun to drive from studio to studio at your own pace, meeting artists and perhaps purchasing some of their work. Ojai's most famous artist was world-renowned Beatrice Wood, who worked until her death in 1998 at 104. Her whimsical sculpture and luminous pottery are internationally acclaimed, and her spirit is still a driving force in Ojai.
Strolling the Spanish arcade shops downtown and the surrounding area will yield a treasure-trove, including open-air Bart's Books, Matilija Street at Canada Street (tel. 805/646-3755; www.bartsbooksojai.com), an Ojai fixture for many years. Antiques hounds head for Treasures of Ojai, 110 N. Signal St. (tel. 805/646-2852; www.treasuresofojai.com), an indoor antiques mall packed to the rafters with treasures, trash, and everything in between.
Residents of the Ojai Valley love their equine companions -- miles of bridle paths are painstakingly maintained, and HORSE CROSSING signs are everywhere.
Ojai has long been a haven for several esoteric sects of metaphysical and philosophical beliefs. The Krotona Institute and School of Theosophy, 46 Krotona Hill (tel. 805/646-1139), has been in the valley since 1926, and visitors are welcome at their library and bookstore.
In the Lake Casitas Recreation Area (tel. 805/649-2233; www.lakecasitas.info for visitor information), the beautiful Lake Casitas boasts nearly 32 miles of shoreline and was the site of the 1984 Olympic canoeing and rowing events. You can rent rowboats and small powerboats year-round from the boathouse (tel. 805/649-2043) or enjoy picnicking and camping by the lakeside. Because the lake serves as a domestic water supply, swimming is not allowed. From Hwy. 150, turn left onto Santa Ana Road and then follow the signs to the recreation area.
When Ronald Coleman saw Shangri-La in Lost Horizon, he was really admiring the Ojai Valley. To visit the spot where he stood for his view, drive east on Ojai Avenue, up the hill, and stop at the stone bench near the top -- the sight is spectacular.
Note: This information was accurate when it was published, but can change without notice. Please be sure to confirm all rates and details directly with the companies in question before planning your trip.