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Outdoors: Ahh, Ojai

Tucked away in a valley filled with orange groves fewer than 90 miles from central Los Angeles is the village of Ojai-an oasis from stress, home to artists, health devotees and other urban escapees. Surrounded by burnished peaks, its grasses green in spring and gold in summer and fall, the Ojai Valley was the setting for Shangri-La in the 1937 Hollywood movie The Lost Horizon. It is still a place where you can retreat from a fast-paced lifestyle to find serenity on oak-shaded paths.

Ojai’s main drag, Ojai Avenue, is filled with unusual little shops and restaurants nestled in a block-long Spanish arched arcade. Start your day with breakfast, served all day at Vesta Home and Hearth. In good weather, choose a table in the courtyard. Bagels and croissants are $3.50 to $11.95 (with lox), and a scrumptious brioche French toast with berries is $6.95. Browse through this cozy home furnishings shop-cum-restaurant for gifts for friends or luxurious treasures for yourself.

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