Our Whirlwind Stay-cation At The Ojai Rancho Inn

April 2nd, 2015 - filed under: Furthermore » Inspiration

Ojai Rancho Inn

Ojai is one of my favorite places on the whole planet. Because Ojai is magic.

Maybe it’s because I grew up going there with my New Age-y dad, attending cleansing ceremonies, drum circles, late-night dance parties in dried-up riverbeds . . . you know, totally normal kid stuff.

But I don’t think it’s just my formative “crystal-twinkie” experiences that left this impression of Ojai on my mind. No, it’s more than that. Located half an hour inland from coastal Santa Barbara, nestled in a valley at the base of the Topatopa mountains, warm and still and sheltered, and strangely situated along a perpetually-dry white-rock river bed. There’s just . . . there’s just something about Ojai!

If you’ve ever been there, you know what I mean. There’s something in the air there – the way it seems to crackle even when it’s unnaturally calm. Magic.

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Jeremy works 6 days a week, and he only ever has Mondays off. Monday is a big day for me with school, and it’s usually booked with meetings. So it’s rare these days that Jeremy and I get an actual day off together.

Until spring break! And this spring break, we seized upon our single simultaneous free day, and we milked that sucker for everything it was worth.

36 blissful hours in Shangri-La . . . er, I mean Ojai. From Sunday evening through Tuesday morning we stayed at maybe the coolest hotel I’ve ever stayed in – The Ojai Rancho Inn (we paid full price in case you were wondering – this is not an add, I just really loved them), we ate at my favorite spots like The Farmer and the Cook and Hip Vegan (reuben spring rolls!) and Vegan Mario’s and Rainbow Bridge, we took nature walks and drank black lemonade (with activated charcoal, it was kind of mind-blowing), rode bikes in the twilight, and finished it all off with a perfectly romantic picnic.

It was good. It was just what we needed after working so hard for so long. Our trip, in pictures:

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So cheers, Ojai! And thanks, until next time . . .

  • Sarah C.

    Oh that looks amazing. I want. But seriously, so glad you got to have such an amazing, if brief, vacay.

    But I reeeeeeally want to know more about the black lemonade – what’s the benefit, what was the experience/taste like, all that stuff!

  • Agus

    How beautiful! I love the succulents and the cacti everywhere…
    Palo santo does not mean holy tree though, it means holy stick!

  • http://www.theveganchickpea.com theveganchickpea

    it looks so magical.

  • Sara MM

    New vacation spot to add to the list :)This looks like it was such a lovely getaway.

  • lysette

    Oh wow! We’ve been talking about going to the Ojai Music Festival for years -I think next June we’ll finally make it. Thanks for all these recommendations! Looks very rejuvenating, totally appeals to the ‘crystal twinkie’ upbringing I had too ;) Did you make that up cause it is hilarious!

  • Deirdre


  • Bianca

    Ooooh, that looks like the perfect get-away!!

  • http://howtofeedawookie.blogspot.com/ WookieWifey

    This place looks amazing!! O.O I want to go one day! Your skin looks just absolutely radiant and lovely, btw.

  • http://bonzaiaphrodite.com/ Sayward Rebhal

    Thanks Agus! It really is such a beautiful place.

    So I think maybe Palo Santo translates to “Holy Wood”, and refers to this specific tree. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bursera_graveolens

  • http://bonzaiaphrodite.com/ Sayward Rebhal

    Activated charcoal is hard to make sense of because there’s so much “woo woo” stuff about it, haha. But it definitely removes “toxins” – in the most scientific, non-pseudoscience way possible – because that’s what they give you at the ER if you’ve swallowed pills or poison. It binds to the harmful chemicals and reduces their toxicity.

    Aside from that it’s supposed to be great for digestion. It helps fight bloating and gas and eases the digestive process.

    As far as how it tasted in the Black Lemonade, they say it’s flavorless but we definitely . . . noticed its presence. I found it LOVELY. I really enjoyed the very subtle texture t added, and it also cut the sweetness of the agave ever-so-slightly. Basically it was the best thing I’ve had to drink in ages and I want to drink it every day! =D

  • http://bonzaiaphrodite.com/ Sayward Rebhal

    It was! ♥

  • http://bonzaiaphrodite.com/ Sayward Rebhal

    Oh man, if you can get there you really should. It’s so special!

  • http://bonzaiaphrodite.com/ Sayward Rebhal

    Haha, no I heard it somewhere long long ago and it’s always stuck with me. Pretty perfect though, right? Basically describes all my dad’s friends!

    If you make it to the Ojai Music Festival this year let me know – I’m planning to go as well!

  • http://bonzaiaphrodite.com/ Sayward Rebhal

    Thanks! It really was.

  • http://bonzaiaphrodite.com/ Sayward Rebhal

    Thanks Bianca, it was pretty perfect. ♥

  • http://bonzaiaphrodite.com/ Sayward Rebhal

    Oh man you would love it there! Right up your alley – I hope you make it some day!

  • Sarah C.

    Thanks! Now I want it too! We’ll have to see if we can find it available online somehow. I need all the digestive help I can get!

  • Agus

    Oh yes, that’s a better name for it! Holy tree just doesn’t sound right. I’m from Argentina, where you can find all sorts of bowls and cups and cutlery made of palo santo, which smell amazing!

  • Cary Markin

    I would love for you to do a post on activated charcoal. I know how it’s used in the ER and I’ve found some stuff on what it binds to and what it doesn’t. I’m really curious as to how putting it in lemonade does any good. Wouldn’t it bind to the healthy stuff too? I currently take a few charcoal pills after a night of not so good for you vegan food and drinking. I’m afraid to pair it with anything that I consider healthy. I know you’re super busy, but you always do an incredible job of finding the real science behind things.

  • http://kellisvegankitchen.com/ Kelli

    Looks like a wonderful time away! I would also love to know more about the black lemonade and about the activated charcoal. And I’ll definitely add this to my “weekends away” list!

  • Laine

    Looks like you had the most magical time! You and Jeremy look so blissfully happy!

  • Robyn

    Ojai is like stepping through the wardrobe into Narnia…every time. And I live there! It’s so wild. Coming home every evening is the greatest gift I could ask for–that crackling in the air? Yup. Magic.

  • Rebecca Carnes

    I have always heard amazing things about Ojai. After seeing your pictures now I know a visit is a must! :)

  • Cristinalcherry

    I absolutely looove Ojai! it really is a magical place. and the Rancho Inn is amazing! the last time I stayed there I accidentally left my favorite pair of boots behind and they kindly shipped them home to New Mexico for me. I look forward to visiting there as a vegan next time :)

  • Jennifer Ruth

    So… my husband and I are planning our August travels down the California coast to LA. Somehow I heard about Ojai and had it in my mind, then I go to check your blog (longtime reader here)…to see this post! SYNCHRONICITY! Your photos convinced me and we are booked 2 nights at the Rancho Inn and can’t wait to explore its magic and vegan offerings. My husb even suggested we renew our vows there <3 <3. We'll also visit Santa Barbara and look forward to playing in your lovely home city. Happy spring, blessings, and seriously Rancho Inn should consider cutting you a bit of their profits… :D

  • Jaclyn

    Ojai is now on my short list of long weekend getaways… is it kid friendly? We have a toddler and we love exploring the outdoors, hiking, etc.

  • vegyogini

    Looks like you had the full, magical Ojai experience in a short amount of time. I love palo santo and use it at home; I always have a pack on hand.

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