Nestled in the hills thirty miles south of Santa Barbara, the Ojai Valley was first well known for its citrus fruit and cattle ranching, but in the 1870's, eastern newspapers began to publicize the area for its qualities as a winter resort and tourist haven. Its popularity greatly enlarged after this influx of tourists.
Ojai has provided a shelter for artistic temperaments and free spirits since the early 1900s. Over the years, the valley has been home to illustrious residents including Aldous Huxley, Krishnamurti, Beatrice Wood, and Maynard Ferguson, who migrated to Ojai for its beauty, serenity, and low-key lifestyle.
Vital to the community is its artistic soul, celebrated through music, theater and a multitude of painters, sculptors and designers. Only ten miles in length, the valley fosters a great number of visual and performance artist.
The arched arcade in the center of Ojai hosts a variety of small shops, restaurants and galleries, filled with unique artwork from valley artists and OSA members. Resistant to outside influences, the town rarely allows national chains into its midst, making the shopping and dining experience an adventure in new tastes and styles.
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Photos by Carole Topalian