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 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!