I was born in Los Angeles and have had the opportunity to visit almost every nook and cranny of it in my 74 years. All of California seems like paradise to me, but my favorite three places to visit, however, are Mammoth in the Eastern Sierra, Santa Barbara, and Ojai in Ventura County. If you click this link, you'll see an interesting article about this small town's quaintness -- and that there are a few celebrities who have ranch properties there.
For the first time in three years I spent the weekend in Ojai, where I have friends, celebrating the 75th birthday of one of them. Though I did not take scenic photos this weekend, the weather was spectacular, mid-80s, and the 100-mile-drive was smooth and gorgeous. The mountains, the city and the coast are crystal clear right now. There is a lot of agriculture in this and surrounding towns and most the homes are just regular family homes. Here are two photos of Ojai. If you unfamiliar with it, I suggest you put it on your list of places to see.
This photo taken by Leo Braun is the Ojai Museum and Visitors Center. It is near a famous old outdoor bookstore called Barts which is where I went first when I got into town.
The birthday party was billed as a "hen party and potluck" but our hostess, Sallie, decorated her dining room as though we were at the finest of restaurants. Today I went to church with Sallie at St. Andrews Episcopal Church where they have built a new labyrinth you can see if you click the link. Afterwards we went to lunch at Suzanne's and then to the annual sale at a small town department store, Rains. I bought out their supply of Ojai's famous Garlic Gold for holiday gifts. To die for!
There were some years when I was studying the work of Krishnamurti and Theosophy when I often visited Ojai to stay in the retreat centers. At one point, when two of my friends moved there in 2002, I looked at property there and then chickened out about leaving L.A. family and friends.
An interesting thing has happened to me the past few years, however, and that's that I have stopped enjoying the drives to some of these places further from home. It's an aging thing, I think, although the freeways were wide open this weekend. I have no excuses not to visit these days either. I don't even have to pay to stay because friends always invite me.
By the way, if you are a hiker, Ojai is your kind of place--and there is something cultural or cutting-edge going on there all the time. Check out the visitors link. Not only is it a spiritual center, a place with very special energy, it is just so doggoned beautiful. It reminds me of the Sunland-Tujunga area where I grew up as a child.
Now--if there was some way to "Beam me up, Scotty," I'd be hanging out in my special places a lot more than I have been the past few years. I've just got to get back my road confidence when I'm driving alone.
To see many other people's Postcards from Paradise entries today, check out Rebecca's Recuerda mi Corazon.