I keep trying to put my finger on what it is I love about Ojai. It's the climate, it's the views, it's the feel, and it's the smell - I wish I could blog the smell. Fresh, floral, and clean. Trees and plants are in bloom everywhere., but even the dirt smells good here. This is the jasmine hedge in front of the house where we park the car. Our guest house is behind this house (not at all visible) so we walk past this hedge many times each day and the smell is AMAZING.
We spent one afternoon in Ventura, which frequently made me think of Valley Presbyterian Church (where Joel and I work). This large cross stands high on the hills overlooking the town. It's described in the plaque, and I wrote out the text because it's hard to read.
The views up by that cross were amazing.
Afterward, we came down from the hills and walked around downtown. The arrow in the center of the picture below points to a circle that contains the Mission Cross pictured above, as viewed from the main street in Ventura.
Again with the reminders of Valley Pres. This time we were walking to breakfast one morning and passed by the home of the "Duck Lady of Signal Street". Anyone who knows Valley Pres knows about Carla and the ducks. Carla works in the office and has about a million rubber ducks, and each week in the e-blast she uses some to create cute and creative photos. I couldn't help but think of her when I saw this house.
Joel wanted to take a drive to Malibu this trip since we'd never visited before. We started with lunch at a restaurant on the beach, then went for a short walk, then just sat and watched and listened to the waves for awhile - and saw some VERY cool stuff. We had our area of the beach mostly to ourselves, and it though it was overcast when we arrived, the sun came out and made it a perfect weather day.
This is what happens when Joel has free time.. He piled so much sand on his feet and legs that his feet went numb. In the photo on the right, we first thought we were seeing a shark. However, it was much cuter than that. Watch the 30-second video compilation to see not only what was coming there, but another creature that swam by shortly after.
Prior to leaving Tucson we wrote up an offer on a house, intending to submit it right before we head home. However, shortly after arriving in Cali the price on the home dropped so we made the offer early. It's been an interesting journey of doing business long distance, but we came to an agreement and have a contract on the house. I don't want to jinx us by getting ahead of ourselves, but if all goes as planned we'll be moving shortly after we get home!
Back to Ojai - we ate more than once at Boccali's because of their amazing strawberry shortcake, and visited Hakan Sushi another time or two. We went back to the park for the Wednesday evening concert and then enjoyed ice cream and sorbet at Ojai Ice Cream on our way back to our cottage. Much of what we love about this town is the town itself, so many of our days are spent walking around it, or up on Shelf Road overlooking the valley.
Joel was being lazy so I (Wendy) took care of the blogging.
We are winding up our first week in Ojai. It's been a few years since we've visited our favorite vacation spot, but little has changed.
We take the daily walks to the town center because, well, it's beautiful, but also you never know what you'll find. One day (apparently every Wednesday) the Ojai band was giving a concert in the park. Kids and balloons everywhere, along with the town folk. Felt like I'd walked through a time warp. Then, another day we caught a band playing at the Ojai Art Center. The band plays in a fenced, outdoor area but one of the many walking paths goes right past it, so we enjoyed both the walk and the music as you see in the video below.
So far we've made two trips out to Rose Valley Falls. It's a short hike out to the lower falls, and along the way (in the photo on the left below) you can see the upper falls in the distance. The first trip was sunny and gorgeous, but then when we went out with Allison and Ryan, it poured rain.
We managed to get a couple of photos before the rain began, but then had to seek shelter under rocks in a failed attempt to stay dry. The second picture is the same view as above, but from under a rock.
The videos below are very short clips. One was taken at a lookout on the way to the falls (which shows the road we came up), and the other is from the parking/camping area at the trail-head to the falls. Two things struck me - one is the view, of course, and the other is the complete quiet. I loved listening to the wind blowing through the leaves as we hiked in, and nothing else.
We drove to Solvang (as we always do) one day. I'll just copy and paste my Facebook post here, because that pretty much covers it.
Today's adventure: Solvang! Now Solvang is a Danish town that apparently falls very high on the "can't miss" list for Asian tourists. They come in buses (Asian America line - no joke) and carry cameras without fail. I found them as fascinating as the scenery and took some intentional photos, but even in my scenery shots, if you look closely at the edges, you will see our camera-carrying visitors ever armed and ready. They managed to photo bomb every photo I took except the one with the brown horse, and I probably just didn't look hard enough at that one.
Other highlights this week included our trip to Ventura Beach with a walk out on the pier and some time spent watching the surfers, our weekend-long visit with Allison (my BFF from high school) and Ryan (her husband) which was fun and funny and long overdue, and a plethora of good food (and though I have photos, I don't post them and make everyone jealous - I save that for Facebook!). We'll blog again next week.