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 7,000 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!
andrei gluhovski on June 09, 2020:
Great read and very interesting!!!Thank you so much.
Fran on April 20, 2020:
Well I live in Temecula, California. Woul I be accepted??
Hike queen on April 01, 2020:
Wow!! Why would you write this article under wander wisdom and traveler etc? I’m a LA girl and love going to ojai for the locals, spas, hikes etc if you don’t like it move back to LA! You sound like a whining-entitled person who should be around the likes of the privileged malibu celebrities. How mean of you to try and hurt a small community like that!
I only ran into this article bc I’m thinking of moving there and I have no desire to commute back to this selfish city of LA
greg on January 22, 2020:
Don't come to Ojai, you will never fit in, we have lived here for 36 years and are still not locals, no night life, blue collar community, they won't like you
New resident cont. on January 12, 2020:
I forgive to add it was at MOB bike shop where that happened. I thought the name was a little funny, but after that comment I’m shaking my head saying... “ Was that a threat!?” Is there more to the name? Hard to think I’ve offended anyone here in the 4 months I’ve lived here. Lol
New resident on January 12, 2020:
I loved this article! Now I know why I was told “ Your days are numbered here.” I was supporting a local bike shop instead of buying less expensive a few miles away and was told that as I was paying! Wow, what a welcome! I told the bike shop guy I just moved here a few months ago and was just up the street. Thank you so much for this article. I’m not as offended! I’m not even from LA, I’ve been coming here well over 28 years to hang out on the weekends and only lived 22 miles away. Thank you, thank you!
So Old I'm Young on July 10, 2019:
Interesting comments, in my mid sixties and been here since the 19 50's when my parents moved from Piru! Ojai has always been in a state of change since I can remember with complaints about L.A. tourists. The bumper sticker from the 70's: Welcome to Ojai Now Go Back to L.A. Hippies then, Hipsters now. Rich people always, traffic way more now but less than the L.A. freeway, so some transplants think that's Okay. Ojai does a pretty good job of "trying" to keep this place sane in a sea of madness. Believe it or not, in spite of all the battles over the years to maintain the charm, it's always been a fight, not a foregone conclusion. You have to wonder, if the place was just like every other place, what would the point of coming here as a tourist to soak up the "small town character" the city council tries to guard? Why come here if it's just the same shit show as every other town that's gone down the tubes? As for the author's and others' comments about cliques, etc. I'm pretty ensconced in the fabric of the town and I have to say I kind of know what some people are talking about and in other cases, for all I'd know you're describing some other place or Mars. Isn't that interesting, that we could all have such different experiences in the same place?I thought it was humorous how the 18 year old commenter here talks about how much the town has changed in his "life." Imagine how it must feel to my parents who've been coming here for 70 years!? Having been here since I was still pooping in my pants (and I'll probably still be here when I'm pooping in them on the other end of the age spectrum!) I am always completely amazed when I run into people that others around me in a store or place seem to know like they're good and long lost friends, and I have never in my life even seen them. How is this even possible! Imagine how it all feels to a person who has lived here their whole life to see: increasing traffic, people you've never even seen nor heard of, hipsters taking over the downtown with their "inventions" of wooden tables and avocado on toast; bicycle fenders and beards (original stuff--thank you--things we've never seen before--how you've blessed the rest of us with you cultural inventions!). I guess when you actually come from Ojai, at which point it becomes "ruined" or overrun with druggies, or whatever, there's really no other hometown you can return to--maybe none of us can "go home again." I would suggest however, that if Ojai is too small or insular for you, by all means go somewhere else. It's a big, beautiful world, full of interesting places everywhere. Go there, why not?
Corey Morris on June 18, 2019:
I was born and raised in Ojai, as was my father and mother. I absolutely love it there and will always call it my home, even though I have lived outside of Ojai and California for that matter, for the last 15 years. I know the attitude you are talking about, however, my family and I didn’t have it, even though we were true “locals”. Unfortunately we didn’t have the kind of money that it sounds like you have, so my parents moved from Ojai to retire back in 2005. I actually left before that to go to college shortly after graduating from Nordhoff High School and never moved back. My little sister still lives in Ojai though, which is nice. As you mentioned, there wasn’t any jobs for the field of work I pursued. I sure would love to move back someday though. Will you adopt me? Lol!
BJ St James on January 23, 2019:
Wow, what an eye opener. We drove to Ojai randomly last week from LA to get out of the city and breathe for a few hours. We had a lovely afternoon, ate great food, and drank wonderful wine. Now returning to Australia this week I'm doing some retrospective research in an attempt to understand some of the local history etc. To me, not being aware of any background, I found Ojai to be charming and whimsical. Hopefully residents and and considerate visitors still feel this or similar. I won't re-read the my words, but hopefully there are no typos - ha. Enjoy!
Cheers, BJ. Melbourne, Australia
Brainiac on December 04, 2018:
We were visiting Ojai from Santa Barbara for about 9 yrs when we decided to buy a house there. We absolutely love Ojai and Meiners Oaks areas, and can never get enough of the place. People have always been friendly, kind and welcoming, where else would you know all your neighbours? We think it’s a Gem of a place. The heat waves during summer are not that bad if you have Central Air. The evenings are warn and comfortable.
Simply put, Ojai is magic.. if anyone wants to move to Ojai, check it out for yourself. Don’t listen to hearsay cause everyone forms their opinions, based on their own positive or negative experiences. Some people will try to discourage others from moving to Ojai, just because they don’t want the place to get too populated.. again, Ojai is magic..
ojaires on October 22, 2018:
As others have mentioned, I find this article reveals more about the author than about Ojai. As for me, Ojai is for those willing to forego the trappings of any social hierarchies or bourgeois tendencies for the pleasures of nature, solitude and creative work. It will always remain a transient place for all others.
Dropping Knowledge on August 02, 2018:
Nothing is the same anywhere. That’s the glory of population increase and technological advancement.
At least Ojai has taken steps to remain intact. That’s why my husband and I moved. Being from a low income family & growing up in an inner city on the east coast it’s been my goal in life to sit on a porch swing in a quiet town and drink lemonade (ps. I’m 30). I’m glad a place like this still exists so I can make that dream come true. It’s just sad your multi-million dollar up brining has taught you to try and find social fulfillment vs. happiness in your inner self. Once you have that you can be okay with the “retirement” life of Ojai as you call it and stop caring what others say & think. I hope one day you will find what you are looking for but Ojai is obviously not it. Xx
nash bennidict on June 04, 2018:
I grew in Mnpls with lakes, rain,snow, cool weather and lots of green forests. So Cal is really a desert. I moved to ojai and lived there for several years and in the dry arid heat and dusty envoirnment I missed the lush green landscapes of my home...But it was better than LA by a longshot. But besides...it is very clickly and one really runs out of places to see after a short while...the ground is dusty and hard...the air was way to thin for my lungs and the blazing sun just too much my for my fair skin...In the summer it was so hot for months...from early morning the heat would knock me out of energy...
Nice laid out town...just too dry for my liking...I love water and the comfort of clouds. Ojai weather is just months of relentless heat...some people love the extreme sun...and perpetual summer
Lila Bell on January 14, 2018:
I live down the hill in Ventura and like going up the hill to Ojai, but not too often. When I find circumstances bring me there a bit too much, I slow it down, so I will keep enjoying the place.
What do I enjoy?
• Stopping by the horse rescue to volunteer, scooping poop under a big silent blue sky and with only the horses as company, an incredible high, beyond meditation.
• Going up to the Friends Ranch warehouse and picking up fresh squeezed OJ and lemonade, especially for Easter and holidays. That seems to be when the old timers, the old guys, show up, seemingly sent by their wives, having something to do, a job, and they seem to look forward to it, getting the juice, seeing other old guys doing the same.
• Sitting in the shade watching my daughter play on all the cool equipment in Libbey Park, while at the same time getting a sense of the latest trends from visiting hipsters walking their perfectly sized, coiffed little pooches.
• Going into the air conditioned, quiet, quaint little Ojai Museum. What a respite that is! The tiny gift shop with actual artist made trinkets that they seem afraid to charge too much for, unlike the Getty. Handmade tiles anyone? Cards? And looking over the usual Indian stuff and history is quick before going into the ‘big’ room to see what the latest exhibit is. Staid, boring, wonderful, LUV.
Having grown up in no less than two beach towns that I watched become less and less hometowns and more and more victims of corrupt city councils that allowed corporations and investors to come in and rape the place before leaving them as clogged tourist wastelands, I am adept at seeking out the remnants of small town life that may still exist, and Ojai still has a lot to offer.
As for the rest, yes, I can see it’s all there, and I am glad I am not a parent there, negotiating those cliques that one must to insure play dates and inclusion into their world, so the kids don’t spend all their time bored and lonely. It’s the same in Ventura, and everywhere else I would think, with anyone young enough to be a mom not usually that mature and showing it. Brats with the power to make or break your kids childhood, not fun.
As for the parking, the crowds, the roads, all part of being a cute town in CA nowadays. Not sure why people in Ojai think they are being singled out? At least in Ojai, they have the heat, which keeps a lot away a lot of the time, so you can still go there at certain times and at least the roads are clear and there is still free downtown parking. There is no time of year in Huntington or Laguna Bch or many other beach towns, that it’s not a non-stop party destination even in winter, when locals used to get a break.
That seems to be the death cry for most cute places, when they install parking meters downtown. Watched it happen in Laguna, then Huntington, and now Ventura, where they actually let a private company come in and do it and, last I checked, they were battling for even a small amount of the profits. Stupid and greedy doesn’t begin to describe how they have given their parking away and for what, to burden and alienate their local community.
As for those in Ojai that act like they own the place, there is something to be said for having ancestors that literally built the place. All that Spanish mission architecture, it’s fake. Unlike Ventura or other communities that popped up around an old mission, Ojai had no mission and even the name is made up. Like a Hollywood movie set, Ojai’s downtown changed from dirt and a couple of clapboard bldgs into nothing more than a BID TO ATTRACT TOURISM.
So the next time you find any poor disgruntled descendents of some original family being snotty, which I have yet to find, I seem to meet the most delightful locals, but if you do, feel free to chide them that their ancestors legacy is being fulfilled.
Nordhoff student on January 06, 2018:
I am a student at Nordhoff and I have lived here all of my life. It has been weird to see it change so much just from when I was a little boy. The locals don't hate LA tourists. We want you to have a nice time here and enjoy Ojai like we do. But I would argue that Ojai over the years feeling not quite like Ojai is due to all of the tourists. My parents graduated from Nordhoff. My grandparents graduated from Nordhoff. My great grandparents were the first to come to Ojai. Every now and then you will see someone ride by on their horse and it's just a feeling I miss. I don't care about where you come from, just don't bring it with you. Not meaning to sound harsh but as the more time goes by, the more you get the feeling of LA, or at least something just not Ojai. By the way, attending school in Ojai has taught me that there are going to be pricks and there are going to assholes in the mix with good people. If it has been your dream to live in Ojai then I think you should do it. Don't let this article make you think worse about this town or its people. Respect the locals because we have lived are lives watching Ojai slowly change into a more unfamiliar place. But if I'm being honest, shut your mouth and stop complaining about the locals because if we weren't here to build this damn town with our own bare hands, Ojai wouldn't have been here in the first place. The reason you may love Ojai so much is only due to the fact that my relatives along with many more shaped this town into what it was. Quiet. Peaceful. Happy. You couldn't go downtown or to Vons without seeing at least a few people that you knew. So be kind to the locals because to them you are changing the place that many of us have lived our entire lives in. Now it is busy, and loud, and you can't get away from the bad drivers. So please, we have all been a tourist at some point or another, welcome eachother. But keep in mind you are in somebody else's home when you are here and they are sharing it with you so please respect the valley and Thebes's locals and I hope you fall in love with it as much as my great grandparents did. Have a good day.
Metatrope on November 27, 2017:
Been in Ojai area for 10 years. Moved here from Santa Monica. Neighbors are friendly. We keep our own company pretty much. Occasionally attend local events. When I was still working in Los Angeles, I drove to Oxnard and took MetroLink to Union Station, then the subway and a company shuttle to the office: 2.5 hours each way, door to door. (Read a book, chat, do your homework.) That worked for me until I retired. Like anywhere else, you have to bring your own sense of place with you to live here successfully. If you are an artist, mingle with the artists, etc. Don't expect a welcome wagon to seek you out. Put forward whatever you have to offer, and you will do fine here.
INAREA51 on November 09, 2017:
I was just browsing the web about Ojai... once when i stumbled this article i had to sign up! and write to you, not to patronize or harm you, only with an intention to help, it sounds like you have a lot of baggage and issues from your past or childhood, somewhere in a 16 year old mind who never grew up and never moved on, mostly in materialistic situations happen when trying to filling up un resolved holes within yourself. I truly think you should consider to seek meditation and maybe a spiritual lifestyle (which what Ojai is all about), if you wanted a "Kardashian" type lifestyle you should've chosen hidden hills, or beverly hills. from what I read in your post I conclude you got the wrong impression about Ojai and then your bubble burst! (eventually like everything else).
An amused observer on October 06, 2017:
Lmaoooooooo you sound a lot like the snobby folks that you are lamenting. Also, just curious, why do mention your million plus dollar house so often? Lol
Gordon63 on August 02, 2017:
Several years ago, my boss moved the business to Ojai. Actually, to Mira Monte, which is on the outskirts of Ojai proper, but people in Mira Monte tell everyone they live in Ojai. Why? Because of the false Ojai mystique. Maybe once it was an artistic enclave and spiritual haven, but having spent so many years there, I can report it is just a snobbish, over-priced tourist trap.
Ojai’s much lauded bucholic surroundings, though pretty, are no more beautiful than other California coastal spots, rural countrysides or sequestered villages. It is as rife with crime, drugs and homelessness as other surrounding areas. The difference is the degree of pompousness with which the residents of Ojai regard themselves and the disdain they exude toward those they perceive as outsiders.
In fairness, there is good and bad in any town, however, the people of Ojai whom I consider normal are a minority. Ojai has its share of white trash scumbags living on land handed down to them like pompous Beverly Hillbillies. More disgusting are the gentrified hippies who wrap themselves in the trappings of enlightenment while proving to be disgraceful hypocrites. I am an educated, progressive liberal, so I can attest that the arrogance practiced by these well-to-do flower children is antithetical to everything the Love Generation stands for. In encounter after encounter, these self-professed “enlightened beings” approached me with peace, love and good vibes only to cheat, lie and abuse when it was to their convenience. Despite such moral failings, it is the nature of Ojai residents to gleefully judge those whom they deem to be beneath their level of enlightenment and sophistication. Environmentalism, animal rights, immigrant rights, etc., are not worthy causes to these people, so much as merit badges advertised to justify their self worth. If we could only tap the sense of self satisfaction felt by these privileged posers as a source of energy, we could power the world forever. Sadly, these elitist bohemians will never smell the stink of their own vegan shit. Stay away from Ojai. You’re tourist money is welcome, but you’re not.
Born and Raised on July 25, 2017:
It's a bit of an oversight to dismiss the heritage and history some families have here in Ojai. Some families were fortunate enough to carve out their fortune very early on which is not lost on following generations. The fact that you continue to use terms like "hillbilly entitlement" shows that you still don't get it. It's not about money here. Sure, some people benefit from early relatives staking a claim on real estate; but the money is just an added bonus (driven by LA transplants driving up the housing costs, if I'm being honest). The real point of pride for these "hillbillies" is knowing that their ancestors helped build this town. There is ownership, figuratively and literally. I think the biggest point of contention with LA transplants is often the inaccurate and sheltered perception they have of what it means to live in Ojai. If you've found yourself being subject to cliques and drama, then you've surrounded yourself with the wrong people. True Ojai transcends class and adhere's to one simple thought, "is this a decent person?" Growing up, I would regularly find myself moving from hanging out at my millionaire friends mansion, to the friend with the single mom living paycheck to paycheck, without a thought. Again, Ojai transcends. I can't help but read through your article and feel like you're somewhat bitter that others in town are held in a higher regard or have a larger sense of pride of living in Ojai. This is the typical arrogant LA tone that turns locals off. Where LA may be a place where communities hold accomplishments and wealth in a high regard, Ojai hold history, community, and humility in a high regard. Appreciate Ojai for what it is, assimilate to the local culture, leave your big city baggage and attitude at the door, and you'll be surprised how few locals give a crap that you're from LA.
JoanieMal on July 11, 2017:
Thank you for all this information. As a surfer and an artist, I thought Ojai would be a great place for me to live. It's been a dream, for the last 20 years, to retire in Ojai. But, I guess it won't be the warm and fuzzy country feel I was hoping for. Disheartening but valuable information from all. Thank you
I always get a kick out of the grammar police who criticize someone's writing errors and in the same breath, make spelling errors .
26 year resident on April 09, 2017:
Ojai is changed. That is the fact. It's over. What is was is GONE, GONE. What more to say. Time to move on...
Mariann on April 04, 2017:
Unfortunately, along with the increased tourism and popularity, our career homeless drug pusher population seems to be growing as well. Panhandling is now more common and more and more nefarious creatures are visibly perched in children zones pushing drugs. No caring parent should allow their children to be downtown or in the skate park unsupervised. If you are allowing this, you are asking for trouble. We have lost former employees to heroin overdoses and caught people shooting up in the bathroom. Don't let your child become one of these people.
Mommy2 on December 21, 2016:
There are so many different people here from all walks of life, not just LA by far! So many people say that the LA people bring their upity attitudes & rudeness, ect. What is your excuse for being rude & unaccepting to the other people who are not from LA & who do not cause trouble & are nothing but kind?
It is great to want to protect & preserve Ojai, but it seems that the negative behavior of the locals is not always justified and maybe it doesnt have to be, but you should not complain when people react to being treated poorly! This goes for both sides of the fence.
This is basic human descency! Or have we all forgotten how to be good human beings?
ojai is over on November 14, 2016:
Writing this in November 2016. Highway 33 has turned into a full-on freeway. What was once a quiet little town is now disgusting. No parking for the Farmers Market... now I wait in line for 10 minutes or more at my market that for years I could walk right up to the cash register. The small-town feeling is leaving due to City people escaping los angeles.. all the cars driving around blasting rap music or trap music. Even Main Street in Ventura and Surfers Point have become insufferably crowded. The small-town beauty simplicity and easygoing nature of Ventura County is drawing to a close thanks to City mice with no respect for where they are. They just want to bring Los Angeles up with them. Houses are for sale left and right and these are people who have been here for decades. Everyone sees it coming. The funniest thing is where is the water going to come from? Lake Casitas is almost empty it was man made in the early fifties and has only refilled itself once in 1990. Enjoy the smoggy hellhole that surely will be coming soon to this Valley. The highway is turning into a freeway massive crowds actual traffic coming into town. It hasn't ever been like this in the last eight months the onslaught has quadrupled. I'm just waiting for property values to Skyrocket so I can get the fuck out before it turns into more of a nightmare.
Sherry on September 24, 2016:
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.
Ohigirl II on September 16, 2016:
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...
Ohigirl on September 16, 2016:
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.
Long gone on September 15, 2016:
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.
Michael Morris on September 15, 2016:
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.
mepe on September 15, 2016:
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.
Sk8board King 64 on September 14, 2016:
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.
Nattennis on September 14, 2016:
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.
Alicia on September 14, 2016:
Most town & cities have the same kinds of people & issues you complain about.
disfoo79 on September 14, 2016:
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.
Ojaiklahoma Expat on September 14, 2016:
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
Jethro on September 13, 2016:
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?
Grew up in Ojai on September 13, 2016:
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.
Ojai vibe police on September 13, 2016:
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.
Rebel on September 13, 2016:
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.
Ojaiborn on September 13, 2016:
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,
Lisa on September 12, 2016:
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.
Truth on September 12, 2016:
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.
Audra on September 12, 2016:
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. : )
Mommy2 on September 12, 2016:
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!
Ronelle on September 12, 2016:
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.