Ojai is our favorite little town in California. It seems like whenever I tell people that, they either TOTALLY get it and are in agreement, or are kind of confused. It’s a very small Southern California town, without the world fame of Palm Springs or the recreational activities of Big Bear/Lake Arrowhead, but it’s so very special. We plan to live there one day.
For now, we love spending our special weekends, birthdays, anniversaries, etc. We’ve stayed in pretty much all of the main hotels/resorts in town over the years, and this year for our anniversary we tried somewhere new - the Lavender Inn! It was adorable and we’d definitely stay again.
Today I want to recap our sweet first wedding anniversary getaway weekend in Ojai, and I hope show a little bit about why we love this town so much.
We left town on Friday afternoon with Willie in tow (Bean stayed at his favorite doggie “summer camp”) and made the quick two-hour drive up to Ojai. We checked into the Lavender Inn, where I’d booked the Provence Cottage. The Cottage is a separate building from the rest of the Inn, so we had our own little garden and yard for Willie, which was a huge selling point. The Inn is tiny—only about seven rooms total—and it’s a bed and breakfast, so we had a full breakfast every morning and wine, cheese, and board game night in the evenings. We loved it!
We had a cute little kitchenette too, which was nice for keeping champagne chilled and preparing Willie’s food. We loved that the Inn was dog friendly (not all the rooms are - so check if you are thinking of booking), and having our own cottage was so nice! It had the space and privacy of an Airbnb, but with the amenities of a bed and breakfast. A dream! Our little garden was so cute:
I think Willie really loved how lush the Inn was, and they were so sweet to him there. A dog named June Carter lives at the Inn, so of course Willie Nelson and June Carter had to meet!
Our first night in Ojai we decided to walk down the street from the Inn to a cute place called Hip Vegan. They had an outdoor patio so we could bring Willie, and the food was SO GOOD! Looking back at the photos of the food we got is making me hungry.
The people there were so friendly to us and to Willie too. Spoiler for the rest of this post, it’s a lot of relaxing, trying out local restaurants (the Inn was walking distance to everywhere in town), resting and reading in our garden, and just enjoying small town life. There’s no major secret to what’s fun to do in Ojai, we just really enjoy the pace of life, how friendly and welcoming everyone is, the mountain views, and the amazing restaurants.
The next day we enjoyed the breakfast at the Inn, followed by strolling around town and checking out cute shops.
We absolutely loved Bart’s Books, an all-outdoor book store (yep!) that welcomed Willie in to browse with us.
Bart’s had a whole section just on Antarctica travel (somewhere I’ve always wanted to go), so I loved perusing and picked out a book about the white continent. Grace got a true crime book.
We had lunch at The Nest, a restaurant we’ve been to and loved before.
Probably some of the best fries I’ve ever had! And again we ate outside so Willie could be with us.
After spending some of the afternoon napping, relaxing, and doing more walking around town, we enjoyed the Inn’s happy hour with wine, cheese, and board games you can borrow. We played scrabble at a cute little “secret garden” corner of the Inn and it was so lovely.
After happy hour, we went back to our garden before going out to dinner and popped some anniversary champagne (served in the flutes we toasted with at our wedding), looked at our wedding album, and read our wedding vows.
The dress I’m wearing here is the dress I wore to my bridesmaids’ luncheon the day before our wedding! I love incorporating sentimental things like that on special dates.
For dinner, we walked to a place we’d never been called Ojai Rotie, which I had seen described as “upscale picnic food”. That piqued our interest, plus they had a dog-friendly patio for Willie. It was another incredible meal! Ojai restaurants really do not disappoint, in my experience.
We got a bunch of little bites like a cheese and bread board, deviled eggs, cucumber salad, labneh, and more. It was the perfect “snacky” meal after we’d already had two heavy meals that day.
The next day we headed home to LA! We ended our anniversary weekend with takeout from Tatsu Ramen (our favorite local ramen shop) and the defrosted top tier of our wedding cake, which ended up being perfectly preserved. Just writing this post is making me miss this incredible weekend. The whole weekend felt like what we love about Ojai - slow, sweet, familiar yet fresh, and delicious :)
I can’t wait to plan our next trip!