Monday, January 19, 2009

Don't Worry, Be Happy

What do you do when you’re sad? Take a trip to Happy Valley, of course. I’ve been running around like Chicken Little since 2009 began…unfortunately, the sky in my world truly is falling and I’ve been so incredibly stressed out and upset that I’ve felt like I deserved a medal for doing what every one else does without thinking -- getting up out of bed, participating in some (never enuf) personal hygiene and getting to the office on time and being alert and aware for eight hours. A little diversion was in order…and we found just the thing as we planned a spur-of-the-moment day trip up the coast to Happy Valley – also known as Ojai.

Ojai is a quaint little village nestled into a picturesque valley between Santa Clarita and Santa Barbara. The beauty of the area and rural setting has attracted an intriguing group of artists and horse people. The best-known tourist destination in Ojai is the very swank Ojai Valley Inn. It is gorgeous…beautiful, sprawling Spanish-style buildings on well-kept grounds. All of the rooms had balconies that overlook the golf course surrounding the hotel. It's dead quiet. You could hear a golf club pinging in the distance. There’s a beautiful fancy schmancy restaurant under some live oaks…and on the far end of the resort there’s a spa. You can get all kinds of mud, clay and herbal treatments there that are designed to work the kinks out of your back and the money out of your wallet. I felt calmer just walking through the spa with the scent of lavender and rosemary wafting through the air. The day was perfect for summer…for January it was unbelievable – in the 80s with a turquoise sky and not a cloud in sight.

After exploring the hotel, we went back to the main drag where we indulged in delicious salads at the Ojai Café – a tradition since 1922. Then we drifted down main street in and out of art galleries, wine bars, and T-shirt shops. At the end of the street we discovered the most magnificent thing
Rains of Ojai – a locally-owned and family-operated department store. When I was little in Dearborn, Michigan we shopped at Muirhead’s. In Traverse City, Michigan we shopped at Milliken’s. I was so surprised to see a department store like that thriving – especially in the current economic environment. Turns out they have a website and you can shop online. I highly recommend you check it out – yes, online is cool but, in person would be better – in Ojai. It was just what the doctor ordered to chase the clouds away.

Intriguing article here about the woman who’ll really have the power after Obama is sworn-in on Tuesday. And it turns out that television executives have finally discovered what we’ve known all along – There is life after fifty. Yay!

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