Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Celebrating Independence in the Valley of the Moon

This past Fourth of July weekend (Happy Birthday America!) my darling and I visited one of our favorite places in the world, OJAI! Ojai is a quaint, friendly town nestled in a fertile valley in the hills above Ventura, California. The first people to settle here were the Chumash, who named it Ojai, which translates to "Valley of the Moon." You'll know why when you go on an evening stroll during a full moon!

Ojai is well known for their arts community and especially for the farms and gardens that grow so readily here. The climate, geography and soil make for a perfect environment to grow almost anything. From the moment we arrived, we were dining on locally grown Ojai produce, including the best strawberry shortcake ever from Boccali's Pizza!

Throughout the weekend, we hiked in the hills and took strolls around town, but most importantly, we relaxed poolside at the Herb Garden Pool!

When we weren't busy being lazy in the sun, we continued eating great meals around town, including an Italian themed lunch at Osteria Monte Grappa of Rosé, Stuffed Artichoke & Calamari and Polenta Salad!

The food was as wonderful as the setting:

We saw fruit nearly ready to be picked off the tree!

The highlight of the trip was a visit to New Oak Ranch's Lavender Farm where we picked bunches of lavender in their field.

The smell was simply heavenly, and the bees were so happy to share the blossoms with us!

A horse named Pal came over to see how we were faring with the lavender picking!

Heading back home we had to stop at this fruit stand for the tastiest plums ever, organic and just $1.00 per bag!

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