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Rustic Ojai transports the eyes and the taste buds to a spiritual plane

Ojai is a weekender's paradise, a place to browse stylish shops, meet the artists and artisans who create one-of-a-kind pieces, taste the produce of organic farms, and soothe the soul in the spas and meditation centers the town is known for.

The bed

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Whenever I visit the area, I pop by the Ojai Valley Inn & Spa to stroll the grounds, which harbor magnificent 200-year-old oaks, and, sometimes, visit one of the inn's four restaurants. But this time I splurged and spent the night in a spacious, dog-friendly room with a fireplace, balcony and golf-course view.

Dining in? The inn's Olivella restaurant specializes in traditional and contemporary Italian food; the Oak offers California cuisine, most of it locally harvested by Ojai's organic farmers.

At the spa, consider the Somadome, a high-tech, pod-like chair you crawl into to receive meditation counseling and color therapy.

The meal

Two other local dining options: Suzanne's Cuisine, where guests dine on contemporary European cuisine served on a lovely patio filled with trees and flowers, and Azu, where my dog was allowed to join me as I enjoyed zucchini pesto "pasta."

The find

And save some time for olive oil tasting. Try the Ojai Olive Oil Co., for starters, one of the top attractions in the area.

Miles, one way, from downtown L.A.

About 88

Resources

Ojai Valley Inn & Spa, www.ojairesort.com; Suzanne's Cuisine, www.suzannescuisine.com, Azu, www.azuojai.com,  Ojai Olive Oil Co., www.ojaioliveoil.com.

Have an incredible road trip story or a useful tip? Share your memories and suggestions with us in the comments.

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