Moving To Ojai From Los Angeles - Important Tips Before You Do

For Locals Who Have Commented

So sorry for bursting your bubble. I can see from your comments that there is a lot of unhappiness in the valley. Other "Ojai locals" actually named dropped their longtime Ojai resident parents names (Konig? Never heard of him and I have lived here for more then 15 years) and this proved my point. This hillbilly "entitlement" is only one of the reasons why I wrote this article. They are probably the ones waiting for their inheritance! Judging from comments that I deleted I'm glad the crazy people here do not know me. There are drug problems, especially with teenagers here (private and public schools) and older residents also which I will write about next. I have left some comments to show the different sides from various locals. Actually the one's I did leave say it all.

Enjoy the circus here in this comment thread! I have a lot of friends in the valley and I am always embraced by many and I am NOT an "outsider." Too bad Some locals can't control themselves but this is a good thing so you can witness the truth. This article needed to be written. This is for people who want to move here and are expecting a wonderful nice little town that embraces them and helps them change their lives. A lot of marriages do not make it here when you are commuting all week. Enjoy the comment thread. I did my job here judging from the "50" plus comments and over 4,000 reads. Hopefully I saved some marriages!

Ojai, California Is A Beautiful Place!

Before I moved here I spent a weekend at The Ojai Valley Inn with my ex-husband. We were enchanted with Ojai to say the least! It was a great combination of both of our backgrounds. He came from a small town and went to prestigious schools. I came from a wealthy area near the beach in Los Angeles. Ojai had a "magical" feeling the more time we spent here and when we decided to sell our million dollar plus house and buy a home with an orchard for less money, we were ecstatic!

We could finally live "both worlds." One or both of us could make the commute to Los Angeles to our company offices when we needed to. Our kids who were very young at the time could grow up in a safe and beautiful place and attend great schools with a close knit community. When we first arrived, everyone was eager to give us advice. The first time we showed up at a local restaurant dressed all in black attire, I heard a waitress say "310." This was the beginning of our "Ojai Takeover!" The funny part is when we first moved here, there were very few Los Angeles families and a few celebrities had a second home here. Now it is the "cool get away" from the stress of a city life. Malibu has gotten too commercial for LA locals, so now they need to come to an oasis even further away. This is what happens when places change. It doesn't really bother me because most locals including myself here avoid town when tourists are here and we know what times are the best times to go into town. Most of us wait till everyone is gone or only go to the town outside market once in a while to make an appearance and say hello to locals.

Social Networking As A Local In Ojai

You will not be hanging out with celebrities or popular town people here unless they invite you and most people who are wealthy with big ranches keep to themselves and are retired. Some come from trust money families or marry into one and only hang out with age 60 or older. RETIRED. This word is important because Ojai is a resort town and this is a place that tourists come to visit and the older retired people never leave. I have been invited to many fundraisers at private homes and also many events here throughout the years and I have only attended a few. This town is so small the gossip flies like wild fire! If anyone is having an affair, everyone knows "who, "what" and "where." This can not be avoided, so if you are single or a single parent, avoid dating in this town at all costs. Best to date in Ventura, Santa Barbara or Los Angeles. When things go wrong here, it can get "nasty." Everyone dates the same people. Beware! I have never dated anyone who lives in this town, even after my divorce.

If you are a parent, you will mostly meet other parents through the school system here since this town is so small. Most of the parents and families my kids grew up around all had their kids signed up in sports at the local Recreation Center or at Libby Park. I will talk about the issues with "sports" here in another article.

One thing you need to know is that Ojai has a different kind of social "snobbery" and it is not based on how much money you have, your size of your home or what car you drive. Blue collar families here think they are privileged if they have history here in the valley and are second, third or more generation of a family that owns a house, land or has a lot of history here. Think Beverly Hillbillies without the country accent and living in a shack until their family members die....well "sort of!" ha

Even if a woman who comes from a poor background marries into their family, she will have an attitude and pretend she is something she is not. Even if she is the third or fourth wife of her husband the plumber or handyman who is related to old people who have history here, she will think she is very important. I have witnessed this with quite a few families. It gets pretty annoying when all they do is talk about how privileged they are because they married into money and how their husbands have history or come from trusts or families that lived here for 100 years. In my world, you were respected because you did something "worthy" or achieved something really meaningful, not married someone who will inherit land or money. This is not how this town works and I credit this behavior to a very low self esteem issue in a very small town. Most of them have clicks of friends in various organizations like the churches, local organizations and more. I used to avoid them at all costs and still do because they gossip the most and they hate their husbands and only stay for the money or the "possible" inheritance if they can hang on for that long!

The Service Industry In Ojai

Whatever you do make sure you get estimates from a few companies, especially pool maintenance. There have been stories of elderly people getting ripped off by companies here. All referrals are not necessarily a good idea. I have lived here for more then ten years and have really lucked out regarding people and companies I have hired. I do know quite a few people who hired the wrong contractor here and more and had a very bad legal issue with them. People here will try to help their "small town" friends first (even if they do not do a good job), so best to get a few different companies to give you their opinion and price even if they are not located in Ojai.

Commuting From Ojai To LA

You think to yourself, well an hour and a half to two hours in my car listening to music I love is worth it. Well it is, BUT it is not easy to do. Eventually you will tire of it and there is no work here. The only way to survive here without going to LA is you have to start your own business and it takes a long time to start making good money. The locals are not supportive of people who just move here and do not have history here (especially from LA) and they will help their friends first. You can get a job in Ventura or your spouse can do the commute while you stay here and raise the kids. Not many people can pull this off and as a local once told me. "Ojai spits people out from Los Angeles after a year. They either belong here or they do not and a person has to be able to fit in the valley." So with this advice, it maybe best to rent first to see if you can handle it all. That's if you can find a rental in this small town (there are not many available). That is another story!

One of the cheaper hotels in the valley

Do Your Homework

It is important to do your homework when you are thinking of moving to a small town, especially here. It is always best to live somewhere first or visit a few times before you commit to buying a house in a place that you have never lived. I have known many people who have tried to move here and have since left because of various reasons. Ojai can be lonely unless you hang out with the same people all the time. I love small town life, but I was prepared to move here and found out a lot of inside information through various parents and social situations. I have known a lot of couples who have divorced since they moved here because it is hard to afford it, the commute is long and it is a small town. A lot of people from Los Angeles do not realize that even though this place is MAGICAL, you have to love the simple things in life and be ok with HOT summers.

As my children are getting older, I find myself having less of a reason to stay here. This would be a beautiful place to retire if you really love it. Bringing my kids here when they were young was one of the best things I ever did. They are grounded, happy and very secure. We are all witnessing the changes here and this once small magical town will change like Malibu did eventually. One thing for sure, most people here are very kind, but you do find some "loonies" here. This place attracts all kinds of people. That's what makes it special! I think the best "tip" I can give a newcomer is to be ok with the quiet and venture out to self discovery first before you try to mingle with locals. I still get attitude from yuppy hippies here if I am driving in my expensive car with dark shades on. They give me the "annoyed" look if they don't recognize me. I want to say...."HEY YOU, I have lived here for many years now! Get over it, this place is changing and that's just the way it is!"

I grew up in LA and in regards to ATTITUDE, this is EASY to deal with compared to living there!


Ronelle 6 weeks ago

One of the greatest aspects of living in Ojai was not mentioned. Folks are attracted here for its healing quality (Ojai Valley Inn and SPA, massage, crystals, sound healing, yoga, Byron Katie, Krishna Murti Foundation, Gay and Katie Hendricks, OHM/Sanctuary). The Ojai energy has a way of bringing up issues for personal growth. I found I had to leave when I didn't want to do that. When I came back, I was willing and it was rough, but has lead to a joyful, peaceful happy life.

Mommy2 6 weeks ago

The sad thing about this article is that it is true. It's not just LA people that get the cold shoulder & rudeness from the locals, it's anyone who is not Ojai native. Some may feel offended by this article, but you obviously have not been on the receiving end. What is so difficult about giving people a chance? Those that have this negative mentality to outsiders may meet some wonderful new friends. I have lived here for quite some time now & still get treated this way for no reason other than I was not born here. Mind you I am not from LA. I try my best to be nice to everyone regardless, but there have been and will be times that I will have had enough and will stand up for myself & my family.

I have never understood why Ojai natives don't realize that this mentality only makes them look like bullies. Why they don't realize all they are doing is putting a negative label on themselves. If you are proud of your community, one would think you would want to encourage positivity & happiness here, not contribute to & create the divide. You should set the example for what you desire for your community. Negativity will always attract negativity. Try smiling & being nice for a change, you may like the result!

Audra 6 weeks ago

I think it just safe to say this is just your opinion and experience and not the TRUTH. Just to keep my response simple I think the greatest thing that is so annoying when people move in from LA, or anywhere else, is not understanding that the GREATEST thing about Ojai has been its community. So I think the best tip you could have given in this article that is missing is be prepared to learn how to live in a community of small town folks from all different walks of life. It's a beautiful gift and above all that's the big piece anyone new coming into town needs to know. What I get turned off by LA people is they come with there judgements and unfriendly attitudes that is the biggest annoyance there is.

Sadly Ojai was the best kept secret for a very long time.

But a las here we are. So I hope anyone new to Ojai comes more so than anything, open to meeting more friends and more people. And to let go of there ego and pretense and enjoy the simpler beauty of life. Basically lose the LA attitude and you will do just fine. : )

Truth 6 weeks ago

I am a semi native Ojai person who was technically born in Santa Barbara but mostly raised in Ojai. I have noticed what you describe; however, I find some of your comments off putting and can see why some locals haven't fully embraced you. You seem to carry that "LA" air that is the stereotype of why Los Angeles people are considered annoying to a small, nature loving, ranching, rural community. You have that typical haughty tone of a snooty city person talking about selling your million plus home, fancy sunglasses, expensive car, private schools, etc. Those things are not as relevant to a true Ojai resident. We love and live for a simpler and quiet life - we don't want monetary wealth, we want undeveloped nature. It's frustrating having your slice of heaven slowly get devoured by trendy LA people pretending to live off the grid all the while ridiculing the true "blue collar" fabric of a ranching community. It's almost laughable how you are describing this new LA invasion as if it's a recent phenomenon. This was happening over 20 years ago when I worked at the Ojai Valley Inn and Spa in college. Locals are welcomed when they are humble and excited to join the community. However, I will agree I have witnessed the rude reception by locals if you carry your LA attitude into the valley. I have a sneaky suspicion you may unknowingly exhibit a snooty LA vibe that is turning people off. The Ojai culture is the antithesis of LA - it's nothing personal. Ventura and Santa Barbara counties enjoy the distance from over developed LA & Orange counties. I think some of the animosity towards LA people is Ojai locals fear our community will turn out like a Malibu. Ojai has worked hard at trying to keep growth limited.

Lisa 6 weeks ago

I moved to Ojai seven years ago after visiting the community on and off for thirty years. I took ten months to decide to live here. I'm not from L.A. and I moved here for very different reasons. My experience has been totally the opposite from the person here except for the dating part. I found my the man who is now my husband in Santa Barbara and looked elsewhere to be discrete dating since I already knew how small town life was growing up in a fairly small town in Michigan. What I can say is for the first few years I kept to myself mostly because I was doing healing work. In the first six months of living here I ran into a difficulty and I was embraced by almost total strangers who offered to help me. I have since met numerous wonderful people. But, I hang out in a totally different crowd than this woman does. I don't even know anyone who lives in a mansion around here to my knowledge. But, then the crowd I hang out with are mostly into spirituality and they have given me a very warm reception. I also know that I have focused mainly on what I can contribute to the community. I do this because I understand that is natural for people to be wary of new people moving in. especially in a tourist community where people with enthusiasm have to meet reality and they don't often mesh. Maybe it is just my upbringing having come from a small mid-west town, but after the first few years when I hid out and did some healing, I have been very active doing things for others including many business members. I feel very welcome here and the people have always been very warm and friendly. But, then I am not from L.A. and am originally a small town girl myself, so maybe I just get the psyche.

"Ojai Beverly hillbilly" 6 weeks ago

Your right. We have been here our whole lives. And we do hate you. We hate that we can't send our kids out to walk to the park anymore because it isn't the same safe quiet Ojai that it was when we were kids. We hate that every time we step into a crosswalk we might get hit by some idiot from LA driving a tesla way to fucking fast. We hate that you have come to our quiet peaceful valley that was once filled with farmers and country kids and changed the whole scene. The truth is that any real native of Ojai, which mind you you ma'am are not, does not like you! We do not want our tiny town to transform like Malibu did. We want to still be able to shop at the fucking grocery store in town and not wait in a 45 minute line of yuppie assholes.. Not to mention we would like it if we could even still afford to shop in the valley, because prices have driven up so much! This entire article was basically you bashing Ojai for it not being LA. And how you can't have an affair here without everyone knowing. That is just sad. Go home to LA. And take all the other LA ASSHOLES with you. We do not like you.

Ojaiborn 6 weeks ago

Thank you author for writing this article. I was born and raised in Ojai. After 40 years of living outside of Ojai I wanted to come home to my beautiful little valley of my birth. I did.

I regret it. My experience has been different than the author of the article but it comes down to the same basic issues. Ojai is full of cliques and you will be snubbed and ignored by all of them even IF you were born here. At a several community service events I attended and participated in as a newly returned resident I was "snubbed" by everyone. It was the first time I felt like I was back in high school as an adult. I have a few friends but they are "outsiders" as well. Now I remember why I left in the first place. Ojai is exclusively for those who conform to the cliques. The political cliques, business owner cliques, parents of kids in the cool school cliques, artist cliques, yoga cliques, country club cliques; all have the same thing in common; you are not welcome. Perhaps some of the "insiders" could take the message in this article and reflect on how they treat others. We "outsiders" come to Ojai live a new life or return to our roots with love and open hearts; good ideas, major life experiences and excitement, only to feel like kids in a brand new school. I have raised very amazing kids, been married for 40+ years, been a highly successful entrepreneur and community activist. I came home and share my ideas thought and talents to be rejected by my birth community. Once the tourists leave, and the outsiders leave and the poor people leave the system will collapse. Who will shop at your stores? Who will the politicians be left to govern? Who will clean the houses and yards of the country clubbers? Yes, growth will be limited and those horrible tourists who sustain the town will be gone. Then all the cliques can proudly join together and delight

In their success at creating a ghost town,

Rebel 6 weeks ago

I lived in Ojai for 25 and raised my kids there. Seems to me people looking for attitude find it. I moved 3 years ago and visit often. It's the tourists and transplants from LA that make the visits less than perfect with similar attitudes and weird expectations that Ojai should embrace them. Simple solution: leave.

Ojai vibe police 6 weeks ago

Yes we are a selective bunch, we have to like tourists because they pay bills. Once you decide to reside with the intentions of "fitting in",good luck. Most locals can't even fit in. Some parts of this article is somewhat accurate. Actually thankful there is a negative article about Ojai so maybe it will change a few people's minds to make a life where they may have a better life experience.

Grew up in Ojai 6 weeks ago

See I grew up in Ojai, since age two, and moved away for college. I have to say being an Former Ojai local now living in a big city, this article has a lot of truth to it. I can see how people's feelings got hurt but I think it's those that have had family roots for a 100 years and don't see the perspective from the outside in because they are in it. To their defense they can be picky, their families helped make Ojai what it is today , small town, everyone knows everyone, Friday football nights, AMAZING 4th of July celebrations, and tradition. That's every small town.

I have seen people who aren't local chastised. And I have to agree with the gossip. My mom was a shop owner in Ojai for many years and everyone always new everyone's' business young and old but I wouldn't have traded it for the world! As a child I hated it, was bored, had a lot of friends and was active, but it was the same ol same ol.

On a positive note I long for my childhood that made me a secure, happy independent woman...growing up in an orange orchard , walking to my friends house around the corner, the whole down shutting down for the the forth of July and by 8-9 pm

Every night. I wish my family still had a house there as I long to show my kids what a magical town it truly is.

All in all I loved this article, it was meant to be an inside perspective from someone looking in if that makes sense. And the jokes made me laugh because it's true. People love drama wherever you go.

Jethro 6 weeks ago

I have to give it to "truth" for putting it so succinctly. It's about how you come at and together with people, regardless of the size of the town. My first trips to New York felt rude and cold but when I took the time to understand the culture, it made sense. There isn't time for small talk. The same is true with small towns. If you come in all haughty you will only find contempt. What draws people to the valley is our quaint, slow paced life, filled with natural beauty. You have to come into any small town slowly. Feel out the space and personality. It's going to be difficult if you come from the big cities because you instinctually go on the offense/defense. Yes, small towns have cliques and a hierarchy based on heritage. Accept it and understand it. The Ojai Valley is possibly the last bastion of "small town" left in the 805. It's well worth protecting. Isn't that what you fell in love with during your temporary visits?

Ojaiklahoma Expat 6 weeks ago

Every single paragraph is spot on!! After trying to make it work living in Ojai for 5 years, it's clear that it's a combination of Green Acres and Gilligan's Island. I grew up in a very rural area and dealt with small town issues before, but the level of narcissism and pseudo-spiritualism in that town WAAAYYYY overshadow anything that's genuine (it's there, but a small spattering of great people that stay to themselves). You've shined a light in the valley of darkness and now the Children of the Corn are going to hiss at you. LOL

disfoo79 6 weeks ago

I enjoyed growing up in Ojai. I left when I was 26 to go find myself, surprisingly in Los Angeles. Alot of things were true in the article, but I really want to express Ojai has the same trappings of the big city. Just because it is small does not entirely make it safe. It is a spiritual nexus, but other than that, it's just L.A. without smog and the attitude.

Alicia 6 weeks ago

Most town & cities have the same kinds of people & issues you complain about.

Nattennis 6 weeks ago

After completing a research paper on the Ojai community and having lived here 27 of my 29 years, it's apparent that the comments made in this article, though maybe fully felt and experienced truly lack a foundational background on accuracy.

Opinions are fine, but they don't elicit change. Ojai has a lot going on UNDER the surface that defies the 'outsider' or even 'insider' perspective that we are a resort and spa town that thrives on wealth.

We are a depressed economy and basic stats found through American Fact Finder or Social Explorer will show these stark discrepancies between the rich and poor.

Ojai youth have a drug problem? Yes! But there are REASONS behind that. The conversation I had with my 16 year old friend shared how her friend has been a meth addict the past year. This girl is 15.

'Hillbillies' or 'bullies' - those are opinions and valid to your experience, but if that is your impression or experience, why do you think people are the way they do? Why are there misalignments between perceptions and actual reality.

Yes, locals are going to support local businesses and they are going to refer their friends who have contracting businesses to new comers in the town, you know why? Because that is what a COMMUNITY DOES. If you have a tight knit network, and close friends, you support and care for one another.

It was hard reading your article. I'm in social work and have large heart for this valley - problems and all. We can complain and vent and rant, BUT what is our goal behind that? Do we want to inspire people to make change for the better? Do we want to be an agent of change in the community in which we live? Maybe not. And that's your freedom to choose that.

I'd love to meet up for coffee and talk to you in person more about where you are coming from and your perspectives on the valley. I'm always a proponent of more communication and bridging gaps, even if it's hard.

Andrea M Clarke 6 weeks ago

The article was quite interesting, and despite the roughness of some parts, she was sharing her truth.

Now, I would like to share mine.

I moved to Ojai sight unseen in 2010 with my daughter, who is an artist with special needs. I wanted a small artsy, h0listic community that would welcome us and provide an atmosphere for my daughter to thrive, be inspired to create and make new friends.

Being self-employed, I work remote so I cannot comment on local employment. I was single, in my 40's and had no intention of dating, it's difficult enough without the small town element. Right?! ;-)

For too many years my daughter faced discrimination and out-right hate from society and within the public school systems. We wanted Ojai to be different, so I set the intention and off we went.

The few "crap-storms" we dealt with in Ojai were far outweighed by the unconditional support and love we experienced from total strangers and some of the teachers at Nordoff High School.

No, we were not apart of any cliques, but that is not our style anyways. We did make friends and when we could attend local functions, we did. We enjoyed visiting the vendors at the farmers market, which became a ritual and were always made to feel welcome as part of the community.

Staff within the local stores who would stop to say hello, and ask how we have been if they had not seen us in a while. With the exception of one Major Grocery Store/person, all establishments were cool and welcoming of her service dog.

There were local businesses who were openly supportive my daughter. They handed out art cards and invitations to one of our short films. A short film that was shot in Ojai, by a film crew who was introduced to me by a local, who learned of us through a staff member at the local health food store. A local coffee shop opened their space to host an Art Exhibit for my daughter to help promote the short film screening at the Ojai Film Festival. Yes, we got into the festival last minute. Totally awesome, right?! :-)

Our neighbors who would hear my daughter singing over and over again were not bothered, but laughed when sharing they joined in while doing the dishes. They were also very cool when she would loudly melt down.

For most, they saw her as a whole person, not her disabilities.

For that alone, Ojai was magical.

While our residency was just under 2 years, my daughter asks to go back often. And while that would be nice, the reality is, it's not currently in the cards.

The cool news is, we still have friends there and will always hold them and Ojai's perfect weather, awesome Farmers Market and her glorious Pink Sunsets in our hearts.

In closing, life is what we make it. Yes, there are issues everywhere, more-so for special needs families. But Ojai...well, she wrapped her arms around us. 'Nuff said.

~ Andrea M Clarke

Dude 6 weeks ago

Lolz, you are all whiners. Everyone here. No one needs to accept you. You csnt stop progress

Sk8board King 64 6 weeks ago

Skate Park= privately funded, Libby park Play structure=privately funded,

This city fails its children and young families, all the other stuff has some truth but the issues are caused by the city's inability to serve it citizens. Every issue in this article has its base in the lack of leadership and tourist dollars being the number one concern.

mepe 5 weeks ago

I love this article, so much more than those fairy tales that get people like her to move here......hopefully it will scare a few of them off.

Michael Morris 5 weeks ago

You start out bragging about you and your "ex's" wealthy lives growing up and selling a home worth over a million dollars to purchase another with an orchard in Ojai, and then talk about locals who brag about what they have? Sounds to me like not only are you a hypocrite but very narcissistic as well? I went from Kindergarten (Ojai Elementary) (Matilija Jr. High) (Nordhoff High School) through 12th grade there. Then I married my high school sweetheart and our children went through Kindergarten through the 12th grade there as well. When I was growing up my family couldn't afford to own a home of our own so we always rented. I was finally able to purchase my first home there after working hard and saving. Although 2 of our 4 children still live in the area, my wife and I decided to move just about 5 years after you moved there. We watched as the city allowed condominiums on South Montgomery, 34 two story units "Low Income" housing on less than 2 acres on North Montgomery Street, our old home on North Montgomery torn down and a hotel allowed to be built in it's place by someone who was on the building commission.This all came too fast for us and so we searched for a town that reminded us of what Ojai used to be. We found it just outside of Spokane Washington. You are correct in saying that there is a clique of people who feel entitled because of one reason or another but having lived there over 50 years, my experience was never that people who lived there thought they were better or richer than others. This Attitude came in from people such as yourself who always made sure that let everyone know they sold million dollar plus homes before moving there, like that makes you more deserving than the "Hillbilly's who've always lived there always.

Long gone 5 weeks ago

Wow, lots of feathers ruffled on both sides. Been gone 38 years but born (actually at Foster Memorial because there was no hospital in Ojai then) and raised in Ojai...we weren't special, but didn't know it, weren't rich, but didn't know it, didn't know what to think about the Hari Krishna people but didn't care, hippies blew up the wall...what? People were our neighbors and we knew them, wandered the valley on foot, horseback and bikes absolutely clueless about safety. We all knew that when the drunk from the bar drove down the street to his house, get off the street then laugh at how he ran over his wife's flowers. Life was simpler and kinder then. I have wonderful memories and wouldn't change a thing. Nothing is the same when you go back...things change.

Ohigirl 5 weeks ago

Not a bad article, other than right off the bat, 4th sentence a grammar/spelling error (I've lived here longer then 15 years, rather THAN 15 year). Oh well, otherwise OK. Each to his own.

Ohigirl II 5 weeks ago

Yes, Ojai is not what it was. It is somewhat ruined, but the mystic is still there. Many of the original great people are moving out due to the inundation of LA peeps and others. Yes, things do change...

PR 5 weeks ago

Amusing comments!

Sherry 4 weeks ago

Only Native Americans should have the argument that they have a superior right to be in Ojai. Unfortunately, most of them are now gone, because of genocide. After that time Ojai was an old stagecoach route for people to visit and enjoy nature, the arts, spirituality, and peace. In our current times, we should remember this! Let's not develop an exclusive mindset, lest we kill the beauty that we all seek.

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