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Moving to the Ojai Valley, by Trent Jones 

One day my wife Olga and I woke up our in our one of a kind  English Tudor Burbank home and looked at each other and said “lets move somewhere else.”  We were both tired of big city living and after years of being the top real estate agents for the area longed for something new in our lives.


Both of our two daughters were nearing the end of their college careers  and with money in the bank and a home that had doubled in value we agreed that it was time for a change.

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On a whim we purchased a motor home and immediately began driving up and down the coast of California looking for a new community.  We wanted something different from the big city life.  Someplace where you could easily find organic foods, where the air was fresh and we were surrounded my mother nature.


When our daughter Cassandra was very young we had considered putting her in a private school in Ojai.  We had remembered our visit to Ojai to check out the private schools.  The Ojai Valley had made an impression on us with its tall mountains that turned pink at sunset.  So we differently  put Ojai on our list of possibilities.   

In our new motor home we ventured up the coast from one California community to another. We put an offer on a property in the Santa Maria area.  Another buyer beat us out.  A little disappointed we headed back to Burbank.  On the trip back we accidentally drove down the winding highway 150 passing views of  Lake Casitas and the mountain ranges of the Ojai Valley.


Immediately we knew we had found our new home.

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By a stroke of good luck and the help of a local Realtor Vivienne Moody  we found the perfect property to purchase in the Meiners Oaks area.  It was a 3 bedroom home and a separate two story  duplex on 3/4 of an acre with views of the surrounding mountains and in walking distance to the Ventura River Bottom where we found amazing hiking and swimming holes.  The property was perfect because it had a place to park our motor home and we could rent out the units as we traveled about the country.   We soon built a garage on the property as a place to store all of our belongings from our home in Burbank.


With all three units rented, our belongings safely stored in the new garage we  packed up the motor home and took to the open highway for what would become a two year adventure of exploration, bonding, soul searching and the creation of a new life style.


The Ojai, Meiners Oaks property was perfect in that we had a place to come back to from time to time and just hang out.


I remember, after long happy motor home journeys returning to the Ojai Valley parking our motor home on the back side of the property.  Here we would put out our lawn chairs to watch the mountains turn pink as the sun would set.


We would eat organic food at the Farmer and the Cook, take long hikes in the surrounding mountain areas and just hang out in the downtown areas.

Then we would pack up the motor home again and hit the road for more adventures.


For us, moving here back in 1999 was one of the best decisions we ever made in our lives.  We have lived in many places but Ojai is by far our home forever more.


Ojai Valley so amazing and beautiful that Frank Capra used it to represent Shangri-La in his film the Lost Horizon.


As our years rolled on iwe were able to convince both of our amazing daughters to move here where they have created families and given us four loving grandchildren.


And oh yes, we went back to work.  I returned to the Real Estate business with my son in law Andro Kotula as my partner and Olga went back to school and became a certified financial planner with Ameriprise.


And that is our Ojai story, still unfolding as I write this and still always bringing us new adventures and joy.


Located only two hours northeast of Los Angeles, Ojai is the perfect small town getaway. Valued for its mediterranean climate, orange blossoms, lavender farms, golf courses and spas, Ojai is a bucolic tourist haven. The valley is unique geographically in that it is positioned east to west, which every day creates stunningly pink sunsets. The land is populated by fragrant chaparral, sagebrush and oak trees. Ojai is also considered by many to be a vortex of spiritual energy. From around 1874 people came to the town in horse and carriage, and later, train to “take the water” in the various hot springs in the area. Today, Ojai remains a place of prominent spiritual appeal.


Ojai means “moon nest” in Chumash. The chumash were one of the first native people of the Ojai Valley. For many years before his passing, local Chumash elder Vincent (Beaver) Tumamait held ceremonies in the valley. He helped preserve the cultural and spiritual legacy of his people, and today his daughter Julie Tumamait-Stenslie continues his work of cultural preservation.  


Many artists, intellectuals, spiritual teachers, and seekers have made Ojai their home. Jiddu Krishnamurti created a school and center for his teachings. Dr. Annie Besant(then president of the Theosophical Society, an organization dedicated to the study of Divine Wisdom) delegated land, referred to as the Happy Valley, to be used to promote education that was spiritual, artistic and intellectual. Besant and Krishnamurti, along with famed writer Aldous Huxley and beloved potter and artist Beatrice Wood(among others) gathered together to have discussions and share wisdom. Another prominent spiritual figure to shape the town was the silent(non-speaking for over 40 years) mystic Meher Baba who visited Ojai in 1956. A spiritual center was created in his honor in the mountains of upper Ojai near a giant oak called the “Baba Tree.” Today, pilgrims come together to celebrate “divine love and oneness” at his center called Meher Mount.

Find the full article Restoring Your Spirt In Ojai, CA at


The Ojai Valley where Dreams Come True 

As little California towns go Ojai is a great place to visit, live, discover, and follow your dreams. 


The Ojai Valley has and expansive art and cultural scene and was recently designated, by Expedia as one of America’s most artistic communities.  


Ojai has a plethora of artistic offerings, including many local artist displaying their art in local art galleries, the famous outdoor used Bart’s Books, the Ojai Valley Museum and art related events such as the annual Ojai Music Festival, Ojai Storytelling Festival, Art in the Park, the Ojai Film Festival and numerous live theater production at the Ojai Art Center.  


Art and creativity are a way of life in the Ojai Valley.  


Surrounded by natural beauty it is easy to get and stay inspired here.  


Peter Haldeman of the New York Times in this 2017 article The Ojai Oasis… “Certainly, the Chumash people, who gave Ojai its name, felt the pull of what they believed were the valley’s healing properties. So did Krishnamurti and his disciples, the Theosophists, who settled here in the 1920s. Edward D. Libbey, a glass manufacturer from Ohio, who in the same decade rebuilt downtown Ojai in the Spanish colonial style, was lured primarily by the mild winters.” “Ojai is an art-centric enclave of writers, photographers, artists, musicians, composers, and spiritual seekers. The city embodies the essence of a thriving arts community with world-renowned artists, downtown Ojai art galleries, an inspiring public arts program, a dynamic art center, and a calendar packed full of cultural events.”

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Art In Nature Residency Program 

Taft Gardens and Nature Preserve offers one eight-month Artist Residency per year in a remote setting dedicated to preserving and protecting nature and wildlife. During that time, artists will have Studio and Garden access throughout multiple seasons to allow for thoughtful reflection and development of their work.  Learn more at

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