Get Out of Town: Less than Two Hours Away, Ojai and San Diego Are Beckoning to Solve Your Weekend Woes

Five fabulous things you can in the charming towns just outside of Los Angeles.

Ojai

If you haven’t veered right up the 150 instead of continuing north on the 101, you’re missing out on one of California’s most charming towns. Wineries and wine-tasting rooms, hiking trails, ample space, and a bohemian attitude only partially define Ojai, just 55 miles northeast of Los Angeles in the Topa Topa Mountains. Using the Ojai Valley Inn as your base, plan for a relaxed getaway that will surely have you savoring the last of the summer days.

The Ojai Valley Inn is nestled in the Topa Topa Mountains.

  1. Enjoy one of the best dining experiences in Southern California at the property’s Farmhouse. The Howard Backen–designed space features a show kitchen, ample seating and outdoor spaces, and a range of culinary programs from ambassador Nancy Silverton. Upcoming events include an Osteria Mozza Dinner with Silverton on September 19 (and December 4) and Felix’s Evan Funke hosting a chef dinner on September 25.

The Farmhouse at Ojai Valley Inn features an array of culinary activities.

  1. You don’t need to leave the property to experience the on-site hiking, tennis, beekeeping, birdwatching, and even horseback riding and equine facilitated learning. And, even non-golfers will enjoy the sheer beauty of the property’s golf course, originally designed in 1923 by Bill Bell and George C. Thomas Jr., the latter of which also helped create the courses at the Riviera, Bel-Air, and Los Angeles country clubs.

One of the charming Wallace Neff rooms.

  1. As the only Forbes Four Star and AAA Four-Diamond restaurant between Los Angeles and Northern California, Olivella has earned its accolades for its hyper-local cuisine. Coupled with its al fresco setting and acclaimed wine list, and it is the perfect antidote to COVID-dining blues.

 

  1. Located on 220 acres swathed in ancient oak and olive trees, the property is the perfect backdrop to inspire artistic creations. Head to the Artist’s Cottage for an array of activities including pottery painting, candle making, custom oil blending, and paper marbling.

The property’s stunning golf course.

  1. Needing more privacy? Book the 10,147-square-foot Casa Elar (from 6,500/night). The Tuscan-inspired villa features dual master suites and two additional bedrooms, as well as 12 fireplaces, a private pool and outdoor kitchen with pizza oven, and entertainment room with car table, bar, and a 61-inch TV.

 

La Jolla

The quaint beach community in between Del Mar and San Diego features some of the most beautiful beaches in the state alongside charming Spanish architecture, including the La Valencia hotel, which was originally built in 1926. With San Diego one of the first counties in the state to ease COVID restrictions, business—including gyms and spas—are open in limited capacities and accepting guests while still taking precautions.

La Valencia is also known as the Pink Palace, originally built in 1926.

  1. Grab Fido and book your stay at the pet-friendly La Valencia hotel (there’s even a pet menu and dog beaches nearby). Among its 114 rooms are a selection of poolside villas accessed through breezeways and featuring balconies—some of which feature outdoor fireplaces—all of which take in the ocean air.

Villas at La Valencia feature balconies with ocean views.

  1. Explore the region’s caves along the La Jolla shores. Just a five-minute drive from the property are kayak, paddle board, and snorkel rentals. Look out for the native sea lions, which are drawn to the region’s microclimate (it’s 50-90 degrees year-round).

The property’s swimming pool.

  1. Don’t wait until Sunday to enjoy brunch. The pink palace’s Bubbly Brunch with Veuve on Saturdays and Sundays features outdoor dining with ocean views (and indoor dining at a limited capacity) as the perfect backdrop for champagne toasts.

 

  1. Concerts might still be a ways off, but live musicians perform on property Friday evenings and throughout the weekend.

Brunch on property features bubbles and live music.

  1. Spend the afternoon meandering through the local shops, galleries, and cafes along Prospect Street and then continue on the path along the coast for a walk that winds down back at the hotel.

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