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Music Festival’s Holiday Home Look-In





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MONTHLY Real Estate & Visitors Guide

Cover Photo Nora Davis, LIV Sotheby’s • See Page 47

ANACTOR’SLIFE David Taylor’s Ojai Odyssey

DOYOUHEAR? The Story Behind the Songs

Visitor Information • Hikes • Events • Activities • Lifestyle Tips & Tactics See More At OJAIHUBCOM

Authentically Restored This historic Spanish Colonial Estate was originally built in 1926 by famed architec t Ar thur E. Har vey, creator of the Château ÉlysÊe in Los Angeles; it has incredible views and is situated on almost 8 lush acres near the edge of the Arbolada. The main house was authentically and beautifully restored with an architec tural historian from the original blueprints, utilizing the finest materials by Allen Construc tion. The goal was to blend the old with the new and modernize this stunning estate with exquisite attention to detail.

T H E E L TO R O E S TAT E This proper ty is truly a work of ar t; from the historical tiles to the arched entr yways, ever y one of the original elements invokes a sense of appreciation. With an expansive and eclec tic energy, it feels like you are standing in a modernized California Mission. The main house has 7 bedrooms, 6 baths, and the proper ty includes a water well, a tennis cour t, a pool, and a 2br/2ba guest house. Ecological landscape design facilitates water retention that feeds the goji berries, guavas, bananas, figs, papayas, grapefruits, mulberries, apricots, plums, and avocados. The self-sustaining farming methodology creates an environment that has enabled the fruit trees to thrive in harsh weather conditions.

Price Upon Request


Presented by

(805) 340-3774


+a s s o c i a t e s O JA I



A SLICE OF OJAI PARADISE This impeccably renovated 1928 East End cottage designed by Austen Pierpont enjoys a most magical 1.1 acre setting and unparalleled privacy for the 3 Bedroom 2.5 Bath main residence plus newer 1 Bedroom guest cottage. The enormous renovated kitchen with Wolfe, Miele & Sub-zero appliances will inspire any chef and the remodeled baths are absolutely classy! Relax by the Saltwater Pool or retreat to the very cool 1920’s vintage stone outbuilding: a perfect hideaway for your wine cellar and tastings with friends. Come enjoy the magic!

$3,695,000 CHAR MICHAELS (805) 620-2438 OJAIHOMES4SALE.COM DRE# 00878649


6709 BREAKERS WAY Located Near a Legendary Surf Area with in the private beach community of Mussel Shoals... Great opportunity to own a beach cottage. $895,000

2144-2150 BALDWIN ROAD OJAI Private estate 85 plus acres with 6 legal parcels. $5,000,000

920 LOMA DRIVE Enjoy Entertaining on the Spacious Deck with Amazing Valley Views. Custom Home built amidst home is aprox. 2030 square feet of living space. $1,199,000

98 KUNKLE STREET Enjoy the incredible views looking towards the Sine Qua Non vineyards! Living room offers vaulted ceilings and fireplace with deck access to the amazing views. 1.5 Bedroom guest quarters. $1,095,000

110 FULTON STREET been remodeled with quality materials and designed with attention to detail--from the open space living area to the easy care yard, a spacious kitchen including farm sink and newer stainless appliances. $695,000

4821LOT GRAND AVENUE VALLEY VIEW Highly Desired End View lot located on dead end street.Ojai BuildEast to suit Recent Extensive 3+3,at.90 an acre. with utilities and 3/4Remodel water meter theofstreet. $2,700,000 Easy commute to Santa Barbara and Ventura. $159,000


In the Real Estate Industry Since 1986 (805) 798-0960 • OM — November 2019




Editor’s Note


Calendar of Events


Featured Event: Holiday Home Look-In


Featured Professional:

David Nelson Taylor


Avoiding Mortgage Insurance

16 26

30 My Garden — Feeling Grateful 33

Sold in Ojai


Who’s Who In Ojai


Stay Ojai — Hotels Guide


Chef Randy — Pumpkin Soup


Eat in Ojai — Restaurant Guide

40 Top 7 Hikes Into Ojai’s Backcountry 42

Ideal Ojai Day


44 Ojai Facts & Founders



Music Festival’s Holiday Home Look-In



Editor & Publisher, Bret Bradigan Realtor/Partner, Ross Falvo Contact Us: Ross Falvo, 805.207.5094 The contents of the Ojai Monthly may not be used, reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means without the written consent of the publisher. Cover: Property represented by Nora Davis/LIV Sotheby’s

0 MBER 2

MONTHLY Real Estate & Visitors Guide

Cover Photo Nora Davis, LIV Sotheby’s • See Page 47

AN ACTOR’S LIFE David Taylor’s Ojai Odyssey

DO YOU HEAR? The Story Behind the Songs

Visitor Information • Hikes • Events • Activities • Lifestyle Tips & Tactics See More At OJAIHUB.COM OM — November 2019



OM — November 2019




OJAI MONTHLY HOMEGROWING SOLUTIONS Ojai has been on the upswing since the Thomas Fire’s devastation. For those grim, ashen days at the charred end of 2017, it seemed like our world was ending. Downtown was a ghost zone, with only a few mask-clad venturers out and about. We were so busy evacuating and/or looking out for our neighbors (thank you to Travis Escalante and Trevor Quirk, among others) that we didn’t really stop to absorb the dread.

Bret Bradigan

When we did, we discovered that the resiliency of Ojai was a force to behold. The #OjaiStrong movement drew tens of thousands of supporters, promoting local wares and local businesses. The Inn pitched in to keep the visitors bureau operating during that key time. We at Ojai Quarterly and Ojai Monthly started the Ojai Hub, which answers weekly the common question: “What’s going on in Ojai?” So by most measures, Ojai’s economy rebounded smoothly and strongly. The fire’s fallout had a slight impact on our two primary indicators — the transient occupancy or “bed” tax and the sales tax revenues — are projected to be around $2.85 million and sales tax revenues of $1.5 milion, very close to normal. In the bigger picture, I have my doubts about pure capitalism — incentives can be skewed, inequality seems an inexorable quality, and far too many get left behind. Yvon Chouinard, Patagonia founder and perhaps the business world’s foremost philospher of sustainability, recently said in Fast Company magazine, “Ultimately, capitalism is going to lose its customers. There won’t be anybody to buy the product because everybody is going to be so poor.” Despite that, I have faith in a system that rewards innovation and hard work, if, regrettably and all too often, not equally or fairly. To paraphrase Malcolm Gladwell, “Doubt isn’t the enemy of faith. It’s its companion.” Now our downtown scene is flourishing — the foot traffic alone on a typical weekend is more than I’ve witnessed in my 20 years in Ojai. The traffic, sadly, is getting thicker. But compared to what? Just try getting across the 101405 interchange at any hour, or getting from one end of Santa Barbara to the other, and you’ll see worse. There are solutions, for sure, that would require will and risk and political courage and innovative spirit. Chief on that list is affordable housing. Creating more affordable housing addresses four or five problems at once — traffic, inequality, air quality, social infrastructure among them. The worst of our traffic is during commuting hours. If those people lived here — the teachers, the police, the hospital staff, the hospitality workers — traffic would diminish significantly. These are not problems that lend themselves to free-market solutions, however, because housing prices in Ojai dictate that profits are maximized with more expensive developments. Ojai’s prior affordable housing project, Sycamore Homes, was finished in 2003. The 25 single-family homes were targeted to first-time buyers with an income of 80 percent of the area median income. At the time, the median home price was $400,000, and those homes all sold for less than $178,000. But it wasn’t a simple collaboration — a partial list of agencies involved include the Cabrillo Economic Development Corporation (which won an award for the development), the City of Ojai’s Redevelopment Agency, Ventura County, Neighborhood Reinvestment Corporation, construction lenders Wells Fargo, Rural Local Initiatives Support Corporation, Federal Home Loan Bank of San Francisco, Washington Mutual Bank and the state of California CalHome Program. That’s a lot of moving parts for 25 homes that barely make a dent in the need. We need a lot more interagency cooperation and money sources, a lot of long-term planning and entrepreneurial vision to steer Ojai into its best possible future. The first step would be a campaign of consensus building and persuasion to figure out exactly what the best possible future looks like. OM — November 2019


Dale Hanson

Ojai Valley Real Estate (805)646-7229

Frameworks of Ojai custom picture framing

B.R.E. 01229522 Notary Public Call me for your real estate needs. Residential, commercial, or business opportunity.

Great location for commercial business or restaurant. Large parking in back. The building is updated and very clean. Forced air and heating, 3 private offices. A bath room and small wet kitchen. Separate attached unit with 3/4 bath and private entrance and address. $775,000

archival quality friendly service

Hours: Monday ~ Friday 10 - 5 Saturday 11 - 3, or by appointment. (805) 640-3601 236 w. ojai ave, #203, ojai, ca 93023

Stephen Adelman

“ Your Family Man Realtor”

Mind Your Manors

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Second Home Management Services • Local point of contact for house checks, deliveries & emergencies • Scheduling & management of housekeepers & landscapers • Bid acquisition & scheduling of contractors • Customized plans to fit your property, schedule & lifestyle • Short-term services available for temporary relocations 805.258.3051


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501 Vallerio Avenue - $839,000

1223 Fierro Drive - $689,000

3 bedroom/2 bathroom, 1,893 sq. ft. home on .34 acres w/Venetian plaster walls, a huge family/entertainment room, “Pink Moment” sunsets, remodeled bathrooms, and room for a pool or large garden. Turn-key!

Refreshed 4 bed/2 bath, 1,311 sq. ft. home on a .24 acre lot. Newer wood-look flooring, interior paint, modernized kitchen and bathrooms with newer cabinets and granite and stone counters, great neighborhood!

1003 N. Drown Avenue - $799,999

1442 S. Rice Road - $1,350,000

4 bedroom/2 bathroom, 1,392 s.f. of living space on .44 acres, more than enough space to plant a large garden or install a pool. Beautifully remodeled separate guest quarters, original & refinished wood floors in main house.

Spacious 7 bed/5 bath, 6,484 sq. ft. home on 1.17 acres. Separate permitted 1 bed/1 bath guest suite allows for potential rental income. Gorgeously landscaped grounds. Horses allowed!


59 W. Calle El Prado - $549,000 4 bedroom/2 bathroom, 1,584 sq. ft. home with bonus room, located in Oak View. Large master bedroom w/ en-suite bath, terraced back yard. Easy access to Ojai and Ventura!

DRE# 01761150, 00780642, 01877842

Phone: 805.272.5221 ~ Email: ~ Web: OM — November 2019



Attitude Adjustment Shop





1129 Maricopa Highway, Ojai - at the "Y”

805-646-1109 FAX: 805-646-0927






"The Rental Guy" 727 W OJAI AVE, OJAI CA 93023 • BRE #01999568


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October 31 - November 10


20th Anniversary! • Features, Documentaries, Animation • Screenplay Competition and Live Table Read • Lifetime Achievement Awards • Women in Film Legacy Series

Whitman Architectural Design Providing the highest quality custom residential & commercial Architectural Design and Construction Services.

• Opening Night Carnivale! Free Halloween Movie in Libbey Bowl, Live Music Pre-Show: Bands, Dance, Poetry, Costume Contest, Surprise Guests. Children’s Faire with Arts & Crafts, Face Painting, Fortune Telling, Prizes, Games and more! October 31, 4pm, Libbey Fountain Plaza. 805.640.1947

805-646-8485 “We Shape our buildings; thereafter they shape us.”

Winston Churchill


• Industry Insiders, Rising Filmmakers, Professional and Student Workshops, Parties, Surprise Guests and Honorees

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Donna Sallen

Nestled on over an acre of land, this Italian Villa inspired estate is just minutes from downtown Ojai. This impressive family home is perfect for entertaining with the formal dining opening to the light filled formal living room with an elegant marble fireplace. The kitchen is open to the den with a large fireplace and overlooks the huge covered deck for relaxing. A charm filled master suite is warmed with a corner fireplace and lots of windows. There are marble and hardwood floors throughout and nearly every room opens to the amazing backyard. With a huge pool, a cooks dream outdoor kitchen, nanny’s quarters, a treehouse, (not just for the kids), and a variety of fruit trees and Majestic oaks this home has something to offer all your friends and family. There is a three car garage and plenty of parking. This completely fenced, gated and secluded property is within walking distance to restaurants, shops and Libbey park.

Donna Sallen 805-798-0516 w w w. D o n n a S a l l e n . c o m D o n n a 4 re m a x @ a o l . c o m

There’s no place like home ... Let me find yours. OM — November 2019




OCTOBER 31 — NOVEMBER 3 THE DEBORAH KING CENTER’S “HALLOWEEN RETREAT” Location: Ojai Valley Inn Times: Varies. Contact: Led by the New York Times best-selling author and renowned spiritual teacher. Special one-day passes available for Ojai residents at OCTOBER 31 — NOVEMBER 10 20th ANNUAL OJAI FILM FESTIVAL Location: Varied. Times: Varied Contact:,

The Ojai Film Festival will run from Oct. 31 through Nov. 10, with screenings, seminars and more at various times and venues in Ojai. The Film Festival will open with a free film screening, Oct. 31 at 6:15 p.m. at Libbey Bowl. TO DECEMBER 1 BEATRICE WOOD: BED STORIES AND MORE” Location: Porch Gallery, 310 East Ojai Avenue Times: 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Contact: 805-620-7589, porchgalleryojai. com While Wood is best known for her ceramic works she continued to create two-dimensional work throughout her life.


Published by Lee Waisler in 1987, when Wood was in her nineties, the twenty hand-painted etchings that comprise Bed Stories represent welcome insight into her creative prowess NOVEMBER 2 “THE COPERNICAN REVOLUTION” Location: The Agora Foundation, 417 Bryant Circle. Time: 9:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. Contact: 805-231-5974 Agora Foundation will host a seminar led by Larry Shields on “The Copernican Revolution: Planetary Astronomy in the Development of Western Thought” by Thomas Kuhn.

Contact: 295-8687 Historical Walking Tours of Ojai Date: Saturdays, October through June Certified Time: 10:30 a.m. Date: EveryFarmer’s Sunday Market Date: Every Morning, Guided and Full Moon Location: Departs from the Ojai Valley Time: 9 a.m. Sunday to 1 p.m. Time: 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Meditations Museum, 130 West Ojai Avenue Contact: 698-5555 Contact: 698-5555 Date: TBD Contact: 640-1390 Location: Matilija Street city parking lot Location: Matilija the Arcade. Location: Meditation Mount, 10340 behind the Arcade.Street city parking lot behind Open air air market market featuring featuring locally locally grown produce, plants, musicians and handmade items, including Reeves Road soaps, baskets, beeswax Open candles and olive oil. Contact: 646-5508 ext.103 “Eating Ojai” Food Tour grown produce, plants, musicians and Date: Call to schedule handmade items, including soaps, basHistorical Walking of Ojai Note: Meditation Mount has been on hiTime: 10:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. kets, beeswax candles Tours and olive oil. Date: Every Tuesday through Sunday atus since the Thomas Fire. Check their Location: Varies Time: Please call the Museum office to schedule 14

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OPPOSITE PAGE: The Holiday Home Look-In benefits the Ojai Music Festival with four special homes, decorated for the season. Beatrice Wood’s hand-painted etchings will be on display at Porch Gallery.

THIS PAGE: The Ojai Raptor Center will host an open house on November 3; the American Legion has a day of events to honor America’s veterans on November 11.

The Marketplace will be held in Libbey Park. Proceeds benefit the Ojai Music Festival and its music education program. For tickets, go online at or call (805) 646-2053.

NOVEMBER 8 “RE-WRITING OLD STORIES” Location: The Ojai Library, 111 E. Ojai Avenue Time: 12 noon Contact: 805-218-9146 or 805-646-1639 Sirena Pellarolo, Ph.D., giving a presentation on “Re-Writing Old Stories: A Fun-Filled Playshop for Your Emotional Liberation,” Nov. 8 at noon. Pellarolo is a board-certified holistic health coach who will help participants to recreate their past and imagine their future in new stories of triumph and happy endings. This event is free and open to the public. NOVEMBER 11 VETERANS DAY EVENTS

website at “Third Fridays” Date: Third Friday of the month Time: 5 to 7:30 p.m. Location: Downtown Businesses Contact: 640-1390 “Ojai Fiction Writing Workshop” Date: Every Thursday Time: 5:30 to 8 p.m.

Location: The American Legion Hall, 843 East Ojai Avenue Times: 7 a.m. to 10 a.m. breakfast; 12 noon - Ventura Childrens Choir; 2 p.m. - Quilts of Valor Contact: or Nancy Hill at 805-302-6093 NOVEMBER 16-17 HOLIDAY HOME TOUR AND MARKETPLACE Location: Marketplace, Libbey Park Times: 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. for home tours; 10 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. for the Marketplace. Contact:, 805-646-2053 The 23rd annual Holiday Home Tour and Marketplace will be held Nov. 16 and 17, with tours of four distinctive Ojai Valley homes adorned with seasonal trimmings.

Location: Ojai Library, 111 East Ojai Avenue Contact: 640-6865 “Shakespeare Salon” Date: First and third Mondays Time: 7 to 9 p.m. Location: Ojai Library, 111 East Ojai Avenue Contact: 646-1639

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NOV. 22 — DEC. 15 “SEUSSICAL, THE MUSICAL” Times: Friday, Saturday at 7:30 p.m., Sundays at 2 p.m. Location: Ojai Art Center Theater, 113 South Montgomery Street Contact:, 805-640-0117 “Oh the thinks you can think” when Dr. Seuss’ beloved characters collide and cavort in this musical caper. NOVEMBER 30 & DECEMBER 1 ‘DO YOU HEAR WHAT I HEAR?’ Location: Matilija Auditorium, 703 El Paseo Road Time: 7:30 p.m. Friday & 2 p.m. Sunday Contact: The origins of Christmas carols and songs will be explored musically by Ojai’s leading talents.

“Ojai Seeker’s Bike Tour” Date: By reservation 48 hrs in advance Time: varies Meditation Mount Location: varies hosts Full Moon MedContact: 272-8102 or email ride@ itations. Check their or onlineat atmeditationwebsite or call 646Ojai bike tour features 5508agricultural, for more updates. artistic, culinary, cultural and historical landmarks in Ojai.



Holiday Home Tour & M

Architect Scott Johnson and Dr. Meg Bates’ house is considered a modernist masterpiece. Photo by Tom Bonner.

Music Festival opens four distinctive homes in full holiday decor

Kick off the start of the holiday season at the 23rd Annual Ojai Holiday Home Tour & Marketplace on November 16 and 17 in the beautiful Ojai Valley, California. This treasured longstanding tradition, presented by the Ojai Festival Women’s Committee, invites guests to tour four distinctive Ojai homes, adorned with floral inspirations by local Ojai designers. The Ojai Home Tour and Marketplace benefits the Ojai Music Festival and its BRAVO education and community program, which offers free music workshops to the Ojai Valley public 16

schools and the community. Also taking place the same weekend is the Holiday Marketplace with its new location at Libbey Park, across from the Ojai Downtown Arcade. The companion event will feature a collection of curated lifestyle and fashion items from more than 40 vendors. Admission to the Marketplace is free and open to the public. Weekend hours of the self-guided home tour are 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. The Marketplace hours are 10 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. on Saturday and 10 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. on Sunday. OM — November 2019

The advance tour price is $40 per person. A group discount is also available for eight or more people. Organizers request no cameras allowed on the tour or children under 12 years of age. Comfortable shoes are highly recommended (no high-heeled shoes allowed). Free shuttle service will be provided for some of the homes for the convenience of the patrons. Tickets go on sale in the fall by calling 805-646-2053, at participating ticket outlets in Ojai and Ventura, and online at


The Wall House: An award-winning home designed by a renowned architect for his own family, this contemporary masterpiece boasts a spacious open interior featuring a raised platform for the concert grand piano, sunken conversation area around the fireplace and a combined kitchen/dining area where the family enjoys memorable times together. The 12-acre secluded property includes peach and apricot orchards, organic food and flower gardens, and bound by tributary streams to the Ventura River on both sides. Tuscan Ranch: This gem of old world charm boasts gorgeous frescoes, colorful tiles, and ornate wrought iron details. Gracious outdoor living spaces add to the ambiance of this stately home, where the grounds are as lovely as the house. Everywhere you turn, there is beauty to be discovered, with touches of whimsy as well as practicality. Foothill Farm: The current owners were fastidious about maintaining the architectural integrity of this 1906 classic when they modernized. They have a unique knack for integrating an eclectic array of art, from pre-Colombian to modern, and making it look perfectly suited amid the impeccable craftsmanship of this timeless French Normandy treasure. El Sombrero: Reflecting the owners’ commitment to sustainability and modest sensibility, this modern-day “shack” fits in perfectly on an idyllic 1.25-acre lot in the East End and offers as much living space outdoors as indoors, incorporating countless unique features. OM — November 2019


A Writer’s Christmas Wish

Top Talents Converge for Two Shows About Musical Story Behind Christmas Favorites BY PETER FOX

Elvis reluctantly performed “Blue Christmas,” and one of the other musicians at the session said, “That’s one record the record company will never release.” Writers’ fondest wish is to meet a bona fide producer who reads their writing and says, “This is great. Let’s do it.” I met Joan Kemper 14 years ago when my wife Julie and I moved here from Hollywood after 32 years of making a good living as an actor in television and movies. In my free time, I also started to write with some success, most notably my play “Acts of God.” Joan and I hit it off right away, especially after discovering we both grew up in the same village, Wilmette, Illinois, albeit a few decades apart. Or, as Joan put her time there, “back when Lincoln was President.” I got involved helping with several of her fundraising OPAT productions over the years in exchange for access to her pool in the heat of summer. One of those sizzling afternoons, we were chatting on her patio about the upcoming Ojai Centennial. I mentioned I had written a play about it, and “Let’s do it” passed her lips. By this time, Joan had started working with Stuart Crowner, an experienced Hollywood producer. We three combined our efforts, along with Richard Camp, and “Ojai Reinvented” was performed in the Libbey Bowl in 2017 for the Centennial. Cut to (sorry, Hollywood, ya know): Julie took me to a Christmas concert that December, and I got the idea of writing a show about the origins of Christmas carols and songs. We all know these chestnuts by heart, but how did they come about? It turns out there are some fascinating stories attached to many of them. So, I wrote “Do You Hear What I Hear?” in 2018, putting my own spin on them and sent it to Joan. Once again, “This is great. Let’s do it.” Enter Maestro Bill Wagner, Nordhoff High’s all things music. Bill set to work organizing and writing arrangements for the 15 18

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carols in that show, which played to sold-out audiences as an OPAT fundraiser for the school’s music department at Matilija Auditorium on Thanksgiving weekend 2018. Cut to (again, sorry): February 2019. Maestro Wagner sends out an email tweaking Joan’s phrase with “Let’s do it again.” Okaaay... So, back to the keyboard. Were there enough new Christmas songs left to capture the spirit of last year’s show? Turns out, there were plenty. Did you know that Elvis wasn’t fond of “Blue Christmas”? That a song about a shy, physically deformed outcast could go on to become an all-time Christmas favorite? That it took Batman’s Catwoman to give birth to “Santa Baby,” and it took Madonna to keep it alive? That many of these most popular songs celebrating this Christian Holy Day were written by Jewish songwriters? Or that the popularity of this year’s show title song “It’s The Most Wonderful Time of the Year” was dwarfed by another song from the same writer -- the theme song to “Gilligan’s Island”? So, for these stories, along with the singing of many classics, the captivating backstories of how each song was created will be given by hosts George Ball and Amanda McBroom. The cast includes Scott White, Betsy Randle, Anna Wagner, JB White, and Alexander Schottky. Directing the ensemble, writer of the musical arrangements, and leading the 10-piece professional orchestra is Bill Wagner. All proceeds from the concerts benefit the Nordhoff High School Music Department. We hope to see you at the Matilija Auditorium on Saturday, November 30, at 7:30 pm or Sunday, December 1, at 2 pm. Tickets on sale November 1 at

The Wall House, a spectacular modern country house, is one of four homes open on the tour. Photo by Tom Bonner

NOVEMBER 16 & 17, 2019 Hosted by the Ojai Festival Women’s Committee with proceeds benefitting the Ojai Music Festival and its BRAVO education and community programs.

TOUR four distinctive homes in the beautiful setting of the Ojai Valley, each adorned with festive holiday inspirations Tour tickets: $40 advance/$45 day of the event

For tickets and details, call 805 646 2053 or visit

SHOP at the Holiday Marketplace featuring a collection of curated lifestyle and fashion items with more than 40 vendors The Holiday Marketplace is open to the public, free admission New location – Libbey Park

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Ojai’s community website 20

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Events • News • Explore

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The once-calmed mind is vast. - Alan Watts

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Authorized Dealer U-Haul 805-646-5334 404 Bryant Circle Ojai Self Storage 805-646-8742


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Private Guided Trail Rides in the Ventura River Valley and the Los Padres Forest. 3 miles from downtown Ojai

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Donna Sallen

Fabulous and charmingly inviting, this two-story Victorian estate is nestled in the magical east end of Ojai. Surrounded by organic orchards and meticulous landscaping, this home is filled with Southern Charm. The wrap around porch looks out to the gardens, as the country kitchen and breakfast nook looks out to the pool and tennis court. Perfectly situated nearby are the spacious guesthouse, separate cottages, and a writer’s studio creating plenty of living space for friends and family. This relaxing and inviting estate is truly elegant.

Sitting on over three acres in the prestigious Persimmon Hill area of downtown Ojai. This five bedroom, three bathroom sprawling ranch style home showcases open-beamed vaulted ceilings, a stunning great room with a massive brick fireplace, formal dining room, hardwood floors and a large master suite. The french doors and large windows bring a perfect mix of indoor/outdoor living and stunning mountain views to every window. The magical meandering pathways will lead you to an Artist’s studio where you can once again find your creative soul.

There’s no place like home ... Let me find yours.

Sitting perfectly on over an acre of land with citrus fruits and a driveway of Cypress trees. Located minutes away from trails, organic grocer, coffee shops and yoga studio. This home has the modern design that unites family spirit, cozy atmosphere and large open spaces. Recently renovated, this light filled house has a spacious floor plan with vaulted ceilings, polished concrete floors and custom doors leading out to a private backyard. The property’s meandering paths lead to an artist studio and a sleeping cottage. This home is made for a true Ojai lifestyle. WOW, two houses — one lot. Located in the heart of downtown Ojai, there are two homes on one oversized lot to give you a flexible lifestyle. The main home has hardwood floors, nice open kitchen to the dining room and has been tastefully updated. There is a bonus room in the main home allowing for a third bedroom or recreation room, or an in-law suite. The guest house/ studio offers vaulted ceilings, full kitchen, sparkling bathroom and a large covered patio off the living area. Both yards are extremely private and gated.

Donna Sallen

805-798-0516 w w w. D o n n a S a l l e n . c o m D o n n a 4 re m a x @ a o l . c o m


Acting Out in Ojai By Ilona Saari


did studio audience warm-ups and worked with Artistic New Directions, an improv company in Manhattan that modelled itself after Chicago’s Second City and Gary Ostin’s Groundlings.

avid Nelson Taylor grew up in Kennebunk, Maine. No, not Kennebunkport, but Kennebunkport adjacent, an idyllic environment that wasn’t always so idyllic for David. As he explains it, he was a little different… a little quirky… and, because of that, at times while growing up, he was bullied. But, David found his footing on stage when he began his acting journey in high school which led him to the Sanford Maine Stage, where he appeared in productions such as Hair and Dracula. He had found his tribe. New York City and all its possibilities beckoned soon after he graduated. He left his pastoral village on the coast of Maine for the cement jungle nestled between the shorelines of the East and Hudson Rivers where he was accepted to the Academy of Dramatic Arts. After acting school, David, like zillions of aspiring thespians before him, read Backstage (the theater actors’ bible for auditions/casting calls) and made the audition rounds. Between acting gigs, he found himself in a variety of jobs to support his acting ambitions. He worked at Pottery Barn and served as a bartender for catering companies at private parties, but it was when he became a substitute teacher at Manhattan’s St. Hilda’s & St. Hugh’s coed private school, that he also fell in love with teaching. Eventually his substitute position segued into a full-time position teaching 5th graders. While there, he met actor Gene Santarelli who became David’s mentor and eventually Best


David Nelson Taylor Man at his wedding. David also entered the world of non-profits when he did a three-month teaching stint in Mexico with the National Outdoor Leadership School, an educational organization dedicated to environmental ethics, outdoor skills, and wilderness medicine, just to name a few, and where students earn certifications in guide training and leadership as they learn about teamwork. Santarelli and he performed together in Israel Horowitz’s Rats at The Underground, a bar/theater venue not far from Columbia University. They later created In Vino Productions which produced one-act plays and starred together in Barbershop, an original one-act produced at The Underground. Stretching his acting limits, David

OM — November 2019

Soon, a new adventure beckoned. While on vacation in southern California, David and his wife Tammy visited Ojai and decided that Ojai was where they wanted to raise their young daughter. They headed west. Now settled in the valley, serendipity stepped in when David reconnected with his high school friend, the internationally known mezzo soprano, Rebecca Comerford, who was already living in Ojai. Rebecca, the founder of the Ojai Youth Opera, a non-profit youth program, produces a full-length children’s opera every year. David began volunteering with the productions by stage managing and working with the children. In 2018, the OYO performed Brundibar an opera originally performed during WWII in the concentration camps. David set about developing a living history to be part of the show. Sourcing approximately two dozen primary texts, he gave each participating child an age-appropriate piece to read. Some were short snippets for the younger kids, others longer and more detailed passages for the older children. Each child then wrote a monologue about the passages they had been given. David then distilled the monologues down to a couple of sentences of dialogue for each student as

Rebecca and the OYO team worked on the actual music for these pieces to be included into the opera.

he co-starred in the Ojai Art Center Theater’s original hit production of Bless Your Heart, written by Camp.

For his first foray as an actor in Ojai, David appeared in Peter Fox’s staged reading of One Hundred Years of Ojai, a Libbey Bowl benefit produced by the non-profit Ojai Performing Arts Theater to celebrate Ojai’s centennial. At that performance, he was spotted by Richard Camp, the Artistic Director of the Ojai Art Center Theater, who was scheduled to direct the opening play of the theater’s 2019 season. Impressed with David’s performance, Camp wanted him to audition, but at that time, David was working full-time at Food Harmonics restaurant, and was hesitant to return to the stage in a full production. But, he was intrigued by this Agatha Christie-type mystery and was especially drawn to the enigmatic, sinister character which would allow him to further develop his acting chops. He threw caution to the wind, auditioned and got the part. The play was Night Must Fall, chosen to open the theater’s 80th Anniversary season because it had been the first play ever produced at the Art Center in 1939. Continuing his work with children, David also taught a 2019 summer youth acting class at the Ojai Art Center and this past fall, hit the boards again when

Because his heart was still with teaching (he has also taught an adult improv class here in Ojai), he is now teaching drama to students of all ages and math, plus English, history and practical life lessons (i.e.: learning how to do laundry, wash dishes, etc.) full-time at the Montessori School of Ojai where his daughter is a student. “I love to teach because I had great teachers,” David says, “Three of my four parents are teachers. I had wonderfully kind and open theater teachers from elementary school through high school… I’ve studied professional acting with some of the top teachers in NYC/ LA. I also firmly believe in the liberating power of education, especially arts educations.” David has also been putting pen to paper by creating monologues and stories he hopes to develop into a one-man show.

Actor, writer, teacher, David and his “difference and quirkiness” have become important additions to the Ojai community and he looks forward to continuing his efforts to contribute to the small town he fell in love with on his very first visit. Ojai has that alluring effect on many of us.

TOP: David Taylor and Gene Santarelli in “Barbershop.” BELOW: Taylor with his acting students.

OM — November 2019


REDUCING YOUR RISKS How to Avoid Mortgage Insurance

By Therese A. Hartmann

We all look for ways to build our financial portfolios and real estate is an excellent way to do just that. But doesn’t playing the real estate game require a big capital investment? At least 20 percent down of the purchase price? Private mortgage insurance, often referred to as MI or PMI, is an insurance policy that protects lenders from the risk of foreclosure or a default. This means that if a borrower has only 3.5-5 percent down, there are programs that will allow them to buy a home. When buying or refinancing, if a borrower has less than 20 percent equity in a home, a lender will likely require mortgage insurance. With a conventional loan, once you “grow” your equity to 20% either through paying the loan down, sweat equity or natural market appreciation, you can negotiate to discontinue paying mortgage insurance. In contrast, an FHA loan — where you can have a low credit score and only 3.5 percent down — mortgage insurance will continue for the life of the loan. In cases like that, a borrower who has built some equity will want to see 28

about refinancing out of the FHA loan, thereby removing the expensive monthly premiums.t Of course, there are other ways to avoid paying MI. One common way is to do what is called a piggy-back mortgage. This would tie an 80 percent first-trust deed with a home equity loan or line of credit of between 5-15 percent of the home value. Rates are higher on seconds but still might save money over paying MI. Another option is to work with a lender who offers what is called lender-paid mortgage insurance (LPMI) where the cost of mortgage insurance is included in the mortgage interest rate for the life of the loan. You may end up paying more interest over the life of the loan but, with the low interest rates we are currently enjoying, it’s an option that might just make sense. And my tip of the month, if you have mortgage insurance and especially if you’ve bought a home or refinanced within the last three years, check to see if it makes sense to refinance. A good loan consultant will take the time to see if you, like so many others, can save a few hundred dollars a month. OM — November 2019

Therese A. Hartmann has 20 years’ lending experience. She is a Licensed Broker, California Dept. of Real Estate #01048403, NMLS # 298291, affiliated with C2 Financial Corporation. For a free consultation, call Therese today at (805) 798-2158.

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OM — November 2019




I’m grateful to so many friends — to Joe Z, may he rest in peace, to Ian, to Vonder, to Eugenia, to Erika, to my blessed daughters-in-law, Sue and Chris and Erika, and my ex-son-inlaw Dave. I’m grateful to Father Pat, who received me into the Church — to Tom, who accepted my application to Thomas Aquinas College, to my poetry publisher, Randall.

his year, the garden gave us: flowers, herbs, chard, lemons, blood oranges, apricots, nectarines, plums, tomatoes, carrots, lettuce, she tried to give us broccoli, but we were too slow, and mostly she gave us beauty in addition to the food and places to sit. And we are grateful.

There is much to be grateful for if I am grateful to and for my dear friend you live in this valley. I used to work and partner in crime, beloved Peter late late into the night years ago, Bellwood, what a guy! What a muse! and walking outside at two-thirty What an inspiration! a.m. to my car to go home I’d say to myself, “It could be worse. You could be in downtown Detroit.” I am grateful for Judy, for Marsha, for Diane, for Winnie, for Though I’m sure people in downtown Detroit have reason for Ladye Eugenia Stewart blessed Tina, for Ezekiel and the Gardeners, for Dr. Fauvre, gratitude, too. (I hear they have a wonderful art scene there.) for John at the Coffee Connection, for Father Kirk, for Father Fernando, for Father Peter, for my forgiving neighbor Jan, I am grateful to Chalfant Head, may he rest in peace, who for my friend who doesn’t speak to me, Michael, for John the designed the beautiful house I used to live in on Country mathematician, for Robert, for my former husband, John — Club Drive. I am grateful to Rami, who greets me smiling even for my other former husband, Lou. and happy and runs Joe’s Quickstop on the nearby corner on Signal Street and stocks Kools for me. I’m grateful for my I have a suggestion: you might want to join me and make a list sister Cathryn and my brother-in-law, Tom, who help and of your own? It will be endless, too…. take care of me. I’m grateful to Kenny — a gift from God — the world’s best and only lawyer/editor/butler/handyman/ The hummingbird that came to visit every morning on saint. I’m grateful for Miss K and Miss D, the world’s best that same piece of bamboo branch within five minutes of 8 housemates. oclock, the rose on the arbor that makes two colors of rose, the green as the sunsets on the citrus trees….. I’m grateful for my old friends Asha and Mark, David, Vivienne, for Casey, who now lives in my old house on Praise God from Whom all blessings flow, Sunset. I’m grateful to the librarian whose name I don’t Praise Him all creatures here below, remember who would call me on occasion to tell me if one of Praise Him Above, ye heavenly host, my children was misbehaving downtown. I’m grateful to and Praise Father, Son and Holy Ghost. for my children and grandchildren — all thirteen of them!


OM — November 2019

OM — November 2019


Arid America: Do Ojai Homes Really Need Gutters? By Aimee Jo Davis-Varela

Rain gutters are the norm in parts of the country where it actually rains, but should we even bother installing them in Ojai when our rainfall is only about half of the national average? After all, most homes in Ojai do not have basements to protect, and it rarely rains enough to cause any real damage to eaves or foundations. While higher-end homes in the valley tend to have a rain gutter system, there are plenty of homes in all price ranges with little or no rain management in place. However, while we might not need gutters as much as folks in some parts of the country, there are still plenty of reasons to consider them, even in our drier climate. First off, if any part of your home is below ground level, you need gutters to help keep water away from subterranean walls. 32

Secondly, even without subterranean sections, it is a good idea to keep water away from your home’s foundation where it can seep into walls and rot wood framing or foster mold growth. A more common reason Ojaians might want to install gutters is to keep your family and guests drier and more comfortable. You can choose a full rain management system that runs along your entire roofline or a partial gutter system that directs water away from the most important spots, such as your front door, porch, walkways, and patios. Managing the flow of water in these areas allows you and your guests to more comfortably move between parking areas and your front door or from your home to covered outdoor living areas on rainy days. Installing a full or partial gutter system OM — November 2019

also allows you to capture rainwater from your roof and direct it to rain barrels where you can store it for later use to rinse recyclables, wash your car or water ornamental landscaping. And, as an added bonus, if you install gutters for any of the above reasons, you also get the benefit of no longer looking at that unattractive line or erosion around your house where water once fell from your eaves. If you already have gutters or decide to install them, keep in mind that gutters filled with dry twigs, leaves and other debris are a fire hazard. An errant spark carried on the wind from a nearby wildfire can ignite this fuel and put your home at risk. Therefore, you either need to regularly clean your gutters or install screens that help keep debris out.

SOLD IN OJAI Homes Sold Last Month

A COMPARATIVE ANALYSIS OF RECENT HOME SALES 445 Mahoney Avenue, Oak View, 2 bed, 1 bath, 949 Sq. Ft. Listed $425,000. Sold $315,000

1122 Paso Del Robles Court, 3 bed, 3 bath, 2,613 Sq. Ft. Listed $859,000. Sold $799,000

267 Burnham Road, Oak View, 1 bed, 1 bath, 616 Sq. Ft. Listed $479,000. Sold $450,000

148 South Rice Road, 4 bed, 3 bath, 2,428 Sq. Ft. Listed $999,000. Sold $875,000

927 Santa Ana Boulevard, Oak View, 2 bed, 1 bath, 1,358 Sq. Ft. Listed $539,000.Sold $530.000

1203 Rains Court, 4 bed, 3.5 bath, 3,151 Sq. ft. Listed $1,100,000. Sold $1,050,000

804 South La Luna Avenue, 3 bed, 2 bath, 1,204 Sq. Ft. Listed $565,000. Sold $565,000

403 Montana Circle, 2 bed, 2 bath, 1,734 sq. Ft. Listed $1,289,000. Sold 1,180,000

1192 Mariano Drive, 3 bed, 2 bath, 1,177 Sq. Ft. Listed $595,000. Sold $570,000

118 Cuyama Road, 3 bed, 3 bath, 1,848 Sq. Ft. Listed $1,345,000. Sold $1,345,000

173 Padre Juan Avenue, 4 bed, 2 bath, 1,812 Sq. Ft. Listed $598,000. Sold $575,000 2490 Bonmark Drive, 4 bed, 2 bath, 1,443 Sq. Ft. $709,000. Sold $615,000 2340 Burnham Road, 3 bed, 2 bath, 1,292 Sq. Ft. Listed $635,000. Sold $620,000

1095 Encino Drive, Oak View, 5 bed, 4.5 bath, 4,584 Sq. Ft. Listed $1,799,000. Sold 1,750,000 4106 Thacher Road, 4 bed, 4 bath, 3,915 Sq. Ft. Listed $4,000,000. Sold $3,957,000

Ojai Valley Real estate Sales/Property Management/Notary (across from Ojai Farmers Market)



Office space from $250 to $3,000 per month Furnished/Unfurnished 200 square feet to 2,500 square feet First floor or second floor Month-to-month or long leases available CALL RON AT 646-4911

1405 Meadowbrook Road, 4 bed,2 bath, 1,705 Sq. Ft. Listed $729,000. Sold $680,000

221East Matilija Street, Ojai 805-646-4911 OM — November 2019





Ross Falvo Keller Williams Realty “The Ojai Real Estate Guy” 805-207-5094

Marsha Kaye Home Mortgage Consultant Phone: 805640-0654 Cell: 805-7469055 marsha.kaye@ homebridge. com

Anne Williamson Keller Williams Realty 805-320-3314


Vivienne Moody LIV Sotheby’s International Realty 805-798-1099 vmoody10@

Kirk Ellison LIV Sotheby’s International Realty KirkEllison@ 805-340-5905

Donna Sallen Remax Gold Coast Realtors DonnaSallen. com 805-798-0516

Patty Waltcher LIV Sotheby’s International Realty Call me for your Real Estate needs. 805-340-3774


Logan Hall Logan Hall Photography 805-798-0337 loganhallphotos. com

Dennis Guernsey LIV Sotheby’s International Realty

Amanda Stanworth LIV Sotheby’s International Realty Phone: 805-2188117 • E-mail: amandastanworth77@gmail. com Web:

Stephen Adelman Broker Associate “Your Family Man Realtor” LIV Sotheby’s realestateojai@ 805-640-5563

OM — November 2019

Clinton Haugan LIV | Sotheby’s International Realty 727 W. Ojai Ave. Ojai, CA 93023 C: (805) 760-2092 O: (805) 646-7288 DRE# 02019604

Larry Wilde LIV Sotheby’s International Realty Wilde-Wilde. com 805-640-5734

Erik Wilde LIV Sotheby’s International Realty 805-830-3254

Kristen Currier LIV Sotheby’s International Realty 805-798-3757 thehoffgroup. com

Dale Hanson Ojai Valley Real Estate 211 E. Matilija Street, Ste. J, 206 E. Ojai Ave. 805-646-7229

Kathy Hoff LIV Sotheby’s International Realty (805) 290-6907 thehoffgroup. com

Teresa Rooney LIV Sotheby’s International Realty teresarooneyhomes@ 805-340-8928

Don & Cheree Edwards RE/MAX Gold Coast Ojai’s Top Selling Team 805.340.3192 805.350.7575

Therese A. Hartmann is a local loan consultant affiliated with C2 Financial Corporation, and is a Licensed Broker, California BRE #01048403. NMLS # 298291. For a free consultation, call Therese today at (805) 798-2158.

Hildegard Tallent CalBRE# 02047013 Keller Williams Realty, 109 N. Blanche St. #100 Ojai, CA 93023 Tel: 805-798-1872 email: hildegard.

Deckert / DePaola Keller Williams Realty Cheryl Deckert, Broker Associate Ray Deckert, Broker Associate Maria DePaola, Realtor Associate 805-272-5221

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OM — November 2019


BLUE IGUANA INN & SUITES Spanish-style inn offering rooms, suites & cottages with Southwest décor. Easy access to the Ojai Valley Trail. 11794 Ventura Ave | (805) 646-5277 CAPRI MOTEL Hip, quirky option with retro rooms and cool pool scene. Free Wi-Fi 1180 East Ojai Ave | (805) 646-4305 CARAVAN OUTPOST A beautifully curated garden of Airstreams, located in the heart of Ojai. Free wi-fi, nightly entertainment, dog friendly, complimentary bicycles, camp store. Instagram: @caravanoutpost Web: 317 Bryant Street I (805) 836-4891. CHANTICO INN & SUITES Relaxed, cozy rooms in a Mission-style hotel offering free breakfast & WiFi, plus an outdoor pool. 406 West Ojai Ave | (805) 646-8100


EMERALD IGUANA INN Upscale inn with lush gardens, pool, hot tub, spa services, breakfast, & rooms with local artwork. 108 Pauline St | (805) 646-5277 HUMMINGBIRD INN Lodge-like inn offering modern, casual rooms, plus free wi-fi breakfast, & an outdoor pool. Across the street from Soule Park Golf Course. 1208 East Ojai Ave | (805) 646-4365 LAVENDER INN Quaint bed-and-breakfast in an 1874 building featuring country-style rooms, plus a spa, yoga & cooking classes. In the heart of downtown Ojai. 210 East Matilja St | (805) 646-6635

OJAI VALLEY INN & SPA Upscale Spanish-style hacienda with contemporary rooms & a spa, pool, golf & several restaurants. One of California’s premier destinations. 905 Country Club Road | (855) 6978780 OAKRIDGE INN Functional budget hotel offering an outdoor pool, plus complimentary continental breakfast & WiFi. 780 North Ventura Ave | (805) 6494018 OJAI RETREAT Serene, hilltop bed-and-breakfast offering traditional rooms, some with terraces, plus a buffet breakfast & yoga. 160 Besant Road | (805) 646-2536

THE OAKS AT OJAI Serene weight-loss retreat offering 3 meals daily, plus a wellness spa & free fitness classes. 122 East Ojai Ave | (805) 646-5573

PEPPER TREE RETREAT & EDUCATION CENTER An oasis for the mind in a peaceful setting where individuals, couples and small groups can relax and enjoy the beauty of the valley. 1130 McAndrew Road (877) 355-5986

OJAI RANCHO INN Borders Ojai Valley Trail, easy stroll to downtown. Hip, rustic-style inn offering country-chic rooms, plus free Wi-fi, a pool & a sauna. 615 West Ojai Ave | (805) 646-1434

SU NIDO INN Artfully designed, Mission-style inn with traditional rooms, with stunning courtyard, an easy walk to downtown. Free Wi-Fi 301 North Montgomery Street (805) 646-7080

OM — November 2019


Savory Pumpkin Soup I make a similar soup with butternut squash. So, one day last year I thought, maybe I could substitute fresh pumpkin for the squash and have an entirely new soup recipe! I experimented until I got the herbs and spices just right and before you could say Bob’s your uncle, my wife and I were enjoying this savory soup. It is the perfect November belly warmer upper and a wonderful starter for your thanksgiving feast.

INGREDIENTS: SAVORY PUMPKIN SOUP 4 tablespoons unsalted butter 1 white or yellow onion (chopped) 2 cloves garlic (peeled and minced) 1 teaspoon ground turmeric 1 teaspoon ground ginger 1 teaspoon curry powder 1 teaspoon rubbed sage 1 tablespoon fresh parsley (chopped) 8 cups fresh pumpkin (peeled, seeded, and cut into 1-inch cubes) 2 cups vegetable broth 1½ tablespoons fresh lime juice 1 cup heavy cream (plus extra for garnish) 1 teaspoon salt 1 teaspoon fresh ground black pepper

DIRECTIONS: Randy Graham is a writer, author, and private chef. He enjoys cooking for friends and family using ingredients from backyard vegetable and herb gardens. His food is often called “vegetarian comfort food.” He and his wife, Robin, live in Ojai, California, with their dog, Willow. Robin and Willow are not vegetarians.


Quick + Easy

In a large soup pot, melt the butter over medium-high heat. Add the onion and cook for five minutes, or until translucent. Add the garlic, turmeric, ginger, curry, and parsley. Cook, stirring, for one minute more. Add the pumpkin and vegetable broth. Reduce heat to simmer, cover, and cook for 30 minutes, or until the pumpkin has softened completely. Transfer the soup (you may need to do this in batches) to a blender and process until smooth. Return the soup to the pot and add the lime juice, cream, salt, and pepper. Stir to combine and cook until warmed through. To serve, ladle into bowls and drizzle cream on top. I like to serve this with a fresh loaf of crusty rustic bread. Tip: This recipe makes enough soup for two hungry people. It can easily be doubled if you need more soup!


Vegetarian OM — November 2019


AGAVE MARIA Fresh, wholesome Mexican food & drink 106 South Montgomery Street (805) 646-6353

JIM & ROB’S FRESH GRILL Mexican-American & regional favorites 214 West Ojai Avenue #100 (805) 640-1301

AJ EXPRESS CHINESE EXPRESS Gourmet Chinese food to eat in or to go 11566 North Ventura Avenue (805) 646-1177

JJ’S SPORTS ZONE The go-to place for food & sports 820 North Ventura Avenue (805) 649-4655

OJAI PIZZA COMPANY 331 Ojai Ave. (Downtown Ojai) 545-7878 OJAI ROTIE Rotisserie, sourdough, winebox 469 East Ojai Avenue (805) 798-9227

AZU Spanish & Mediterranean comfort food 457 East Ojai Avenue (805) 640-7987,

HIP VEGAN Vegan sandwiches, salads & bowls 201 North Montgomery Street (805) 669-6363

PAPA LENNON’S Family owned, original & Italian cuisine 515 West El Roblar Drive (805) 640-7388

BOCCALI’S Pizza & Pasta, from our farm to our tables 3277 Ojai-Santa Paula Road (805) 646-6116

HOME KITCHEN OF OJAI Breakfast and lunch in a warm space 1103 Maricopa Highway (805) 646-5346

RAINBOW BRIDGE A community gathering place 211 East Matilija Street (805) 646-6623

BONNIE LU’S COUNTRY CAFE Traditional American breakfast & brunch 328 East Ojai Avenue (805) 646-0207

KNEAD BAKING COMPANY An artisanal family bakery 469 East Ojai Avenue (310) 770-3282

THE RANCH HOUSE An Ojai culinary destination for more than 60 years 102 Besant Road (805) 646-2360

CAFE EMPORIUM Locals’ favorite breakfast and lunch 108 South Montgomery Street (805) 646-2723 CASA DEL LAGO Ojai’s original Mexican restaurant 715 E Ojai Avenue (805) 640-1577 THE DEER LODGE An Ojai legend since 1932 2261 Maricopa Highway (805) 646-4256

MANDALA Pan-Asian Cuisine 11400 North Ventura Road (805) 613-3048 THE NEST 401 East Ojai Avenue (805) 798-9035 NO SO VITA Ojai’s social cafe 205 North Signal Street (805) 646-1540

FARMER & THE COOK The best of organic Ojai 339 West El Roblar Drive (805) 640-9608

OAK GRILL @ THE INN Al fresco dining under vine-covered pergola 905 Country Club Road (805) 646-1111

FOOD HARMONICS Nutritional Love 254 East Ojai Avenue (Arcade) (805) 798-9253

OJAI COFFEE ROASTING COMPANY Salads, sandwiches & superb service 337 East Ojai Avenue (805) 646-4478


OM — November 2019


SAGE MINDFUL MEALS The full farm-to-table experience 217 East Matilija Street, Ojai Phone: (805) 646-9204 SAKURA OJAI A locals’ favorite for Japanese food 219 East Matilija Street (805) 646-8777 SEA FRESH Serving Ojai for 30 years 533 East Ojai Avenue (805) 646-7747 SOULE PARK GOLF COURSE BAR & GRILL Patio & indoor dining with Ojai’s most tranquil views 1033 East Ojai Avenue (805) 646-5685

Visit our Honey Tasting Room 206 East Ojai Avenue, in the Arcade, downtown Ojai Ask us about our Honey Club! | 805-633-9103

OM — November 2019



7 WAYS TO GET LOST By Bret Bradigan

Photo by Caitlin Petersen

1. SHELF ROAD Directions: From Ojai Avenue, head north on Signal Street until it ends. Length: 3.5 miles return trip. Difficulty: Easy. It takes about an hour at a brisk pace to walk the length of the trail and back between the trailheads at either North Signal Street or Gridley Road. This hike is perfect for visitors or residents to get “ the lay of the land” in Ojai. It is also one of the most “dog friendly” walks around.

2. VENTURA RIVER BOTTOM TRAILS Directions: From Highway 150, there’s a trailhead just east of the Ventura River bridge. From South Rice Road, there’s a trailhead just north of the intersection with Lomita Road. Also from South Rice, take a right on Meyer Road to the Oso Trailhead. Length: Varies. Difficulty: Easy to Moderate. Three trailheads lead you into the Ojai Valley Land Conservancy’s 1,600-acre Ventura River Preserve. This three-mile stretch of the Ventura River offers a spectacular glimpse into old-growth oak canopy, splendid vistas from rocky ridgelines, deep swimming holes, lush fern grottoes, rare wildflowers and many miles of trails to choose from.

6. COZY DELL TRAIL Directions: Head east on the Maricopa Highway (Highway 33) for 3.3 miles. The turnout is on the left, just before and across from Friend’s Ranch packing house.. Cross the street to the trailhead. Length: 1.9 miles to Cozy Dell Creek. Difficulty: Moderate. The trail begins along a seasonal creek and quickly climbs about 640 feet in elevation along a well-forested and wild-flowered canyon to a ridgeline knoll with spectacular views of the Ojai Valley.


3. PRATT TRAIL Directions: From Ojai Avenue, turn north on Signal Street and drive about 1.2 miles until you see the Forest Service sign on the left. The trailhead is a further half-mile. Length: 4.4 miles to Nordhoff Ridge. Difficulty: Moderate to Strenuous. The Pratt Trail criss-crosses a seasonal stream through the backyards of private properties before opening onto a natural bowl formed by the slope of Nordhoff Ridge. Follow the signs through about two miles of dry and dusty switchbacks until you reach the ridgeline. From there, it’s another two steep, dusty miles to Nordhoff Peak, 4,426 feet above sea level.

4. GRIDLEY TRAIL Directions: From Ojai Avenue, turn on the Gridley Road.


Follow it to the gated end, about two miles. Length: 3 miles to the Gridley Springs, 6 miles to Nordhoff Peak. Difficulty: Moderate to strenuous. Elevation gain: 1,200 feet to the springs. This trail, at the north end of Gridley Road just to the left before the gates to Hermitage Ranch, begins with a steep climb, then follows an orchard road through avocado trees before making a northeastward turn along the rocky western flank of the mountainside. The trail winds along the steep flank of the mountain until it enters the cool, dense side canyon wherein lies Gridley Springs.

OM — November 2019

Directions: Head east on Highway 33 for about 4.7 miles to Matilija Canyon Road. Follow the road to the end — about another two miles. Length: Up to 7 miles (14 miles return). Difficulty: Moderate. Follow the trailhead at the end of Matilija Canyon Road through the gated property to the west side of the creek. The trail, more of a one-track road at this point, heads towards the gates of Blue Heron Ranch, a historic farm with orange and lemon groves. The trail then clambers through thickening chaparral scrub for another 1.5 miles until you can see tilted slabs of weathered granite and a long, green pool to the right. The trail descends back into the creekside sycamore and willow forest through a series of campsites, swimming holes and geologic marvels. The shifting and often-concealed trail eventually leads you to the fabled Three Falls of the Matilija.


SHELF ROAD 3.5mi EASY | Elev. Gain: 200 ft | Overlooks downtown Ojai.

2 VENTURA RIVER PRESERVE | 7mi EASY TO MODERATE | Elev. Gain: 520 ft (Wills-Rice) 5 HORN CANYON 5.5mi STRENUOUS | Elev. Gain: 1,600 ft | Goes to the Pines. 8 ROSE VALLEY 1mi EASY | Elev. Gain: 100 ft Rose Valley Falls.



PRATT TRAIL 8.8mi STRENUOUS | Elev. Gain: 3,300 ft | Goes to Nordhoff Peak.

GRIDLEY TRAIL 6-12mi MODERATE | 3 mi to Gridley Springs (Elev. Gain: 1,200 ft) 6 mi to Nordhoff Peak.



COZY DELL 2.2mi MODERATE | Elev. Gain: 740 ft | Cozy Dell Creek & Ridge.

MATILIJA CANYON 12mi MODERATE | Elev. Gain: 1,200 ft | Middle Fork.



SISAR CANYON 22mi STRENUOUS | Elev. Gain: 4,800 ft |Topa Topa Bluffs.

SULPHUR MTN. 22mi MODERATE | Elev. Gain: 2,300 ft | Sulphur Mountain Road.

OM — November 2019



When we first moved to Ojai three years ago, I thought I’d be a Lady of Leisure. For 37 years, I’d represented unions and managed conflict ... a noble cause, but so much struggle; so much dispute and frustration! Now, I’d sold the business and needed some peace. Always a hippy in my mind, I’d been visiting the Ojai Valley since the ‘70s, and found it magical and restorative. My good friend who lived here calls Ojai “our little bubble of harmony.” I definitely needed some harmony! So, Byron and I found a place on the East End, with 23 fruit trees and a 1,000-square foot pottery studio. I’d been making pottery since the ‘70s, but never owned a studio. So, it must have been kismet! Within a month, I was the owner of another small business. We named the Studio “Firestick,” and jumped into the world of art, festivals and entrepreneurship in Ojai.


With Robin Nahin Firestick Gallery

Entrepreneurship in Ojai is like no other. Because we have no corporate businesses, small businesses thrive. And, because of this, the whole community thrives. In Ojai, even a little pottery studio has an equal vote in the Chamber of Commerce. It’s so democratic! Firestick is intended to be a cozy home for local potters, and a learning center for the many (many!) would-be artists who stop in to “play with clay.” We celebrate the human drive to create, and honestly, my ideal day is to “hang” at the studio. I teaching classes, making my own pieces, and visit with whoever comes through the door. Visiting, I’ve decided, is a major occupation in Ojai. But Wait! I left out the real start of the day! This is when Rosebud (our 80-pound pit/lab “baby”) jumps on my face and demands to play. (This is not an IDEAL way to wake up.) She brings us a ball, which she intends to trade for food. It works. Then she grabs her leash and

OM — November 2019

stands at the door. This works, too, and we start out for the dog park at Soule Park. I’ve got to open the studio at 10 a.m., so we must walk fast. It’s a glorious day, past pixies and oranges, into a huge expanse of lush lawn, gorgeous trees, birds and squirrels. Rosebud is in doggie heaven, and we get to see our regular friends: Carlos, the bouncy boxer, who belongs to Chelsea (who owns Sespe Creek Collective;) Meta, the big white retriever who “owns” Beth; Pat, and her hound dog, Nellie; Copper, the puppy, who seems doubles in size every week; and Emma, the Cairn terrier who looks exactly like Toto (and who’s “dad” has a license plate that says “Ojai to Oz.”) Just as I’m realizing it’s 9:30, Byron drives up with the remains of his Ideal Meal: a breakfast burrito from La Fuente. Rosie and I gratefully gobble these down, then he whisks her off to Dog Friendly, where we hope she’ll spend the day frolicking.

Then, it’s back to work for me. Fun work! People visiting a pottery studio have lots of time, and are almost always happy! In fact, they’re often blissful! They are saturated with our beautiful environment and the beautiful creations of this artistic community. Our studio’s previous owner, Larry Carnes, was a master potter, often working in motifs of the Chumash people. I believe we are still blessed with the spirit of the Chumash. First thing on my ideal day, a mom stops in to buy five paintings and a dozen beautiful bowls and plates — for her son’s dorm room. He’s at one of the pricey schools in the hills. “He’s got to learn to appreciate good art!” she says. And I heartily agree! Next is the kids’ hand-building class, filled today with a chatty Italian mom, with three angelic boys, who hardly speak. They start out making dinosaurs and unicorns, but this soon devolves into

dinosaur and unicorn poop. The 6-yearold makes a shape which I say looks like a heart. He takes a toothpick and slices it in half, explaining that it’s a broken heart. Now it’s mid-afternoon and I’m starving. Byron makes me a sandwich, but won’t let me eat it till I wash my hands. I explain, for the 1,000th time, that clay is not toxic; but he won’t budge. So I wash my hands. Now I need to deliver some pottery, which means more visiting. I stop to see friend, Brittany, at Brittany Davis Gallery. She takes a few bowls to put on consignment. Then I cross the street to see my new friend, Yolanda, at Tala Design. who takes a few more. Then I leave a batch bumble bee mugs for Barbara at Heavenly Honey, before heading for the Ojai Valley Inn. There, I’ll leave 40 pieces of bisqueware (unglazed pottery) at the artists cottage, for guests to paint with acrylics. My last stop is at BookEnds

Bookstore, really, just to visit. I love everything about this place, especially the airstream trailer (the “addendum”) and the lit-up Statue of Liberty. And Celeste Matesevac, the owner, knows everything about Ojai. Now, back at the studio, I find our wonderful manager, Joanne is trying to teach wheel-throwing to seven gregarious ladies from East L.A. They’re here for a “bachelorette weekend” and have brought two bottles of wine and their own music. Joann and I exchange glances. These will NOT serious potters, and they’re going to make a big mess. But they are HAPPY. I recount the wise old Buddhist adage: “before Enlightenment, chop wood, carry water. After Enlightenment, chop wood, carry water,” and we bend to the task. But this doesn’t interfere with a very last wish on this Most Ideal Day in Ojai: a visit from a band of beautiful, serene Ojai Cleaning Fairies ...

FOUNDING FATHERS & MOTHERS While Edward Drummond Libbey is rightfully regarded among Ojai’s chief benefactors — having been behind the buildbing of such Ojai landmarks as the Ojai Valley Inn, St. Thomas Aquinas Church (now the Museum), Post Office Tower and the Arcade — others have been very influential in shaping Ojai’s identity. Here’s a few: Annie Besant. Free-thinker, feminist and noted Theosophist. Though she only spent a few days in Ojai, she brought Krishnamurti to Ojai, and helped buy hundreds of acres of property in Ojai, (now the sites of Besant Hill School and, along with A.P. Warrington, the Krotona Center) which she called “the smiling vale.” She is considered one of the pioneers of introducing Eastern mystical thought to the West, and was an early advocate of India’s independence. and the labor movement. J Krishnamurti. The spiritual teacher and writer, came to Ojai in 1922, sponsored by the Theosophical Society, though he later broke with that group (“The Leaderless Path.”) He gave talks to many thousands of people each year, in the Star Camps in the oak groves west of Ojai (now the site of Oak Grove School. He once held the Guinness Book of World Records for having spoken to the greatest number of people.

Weather in Ojai Jan Feb March April May June July Aug. Sept. Oct. Nov. Dec.

Ave. High (°F) 67 67 70 74 78 83 89 91 87 80 73 66

Sherman Day Thacher. After coming West to farm and care for an ailing brother, the Yale-educated Thacher realized that he was going to need another source of income. So he founded The Thacher School in 1887. Now one of the most prestigious preparatory academies in the country, its founding creed was “teach a boy to ride, shoot and tell the truth.” Also, in 1896, his brother William founded “The Ojai,” the country’s oldest amateur tennis tournament. Among Thacher’s more illustrious students were industrialist, aviator and film producer Howard Hughes and three-time Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright and novelist Thornton Wilder, who wrote his first play while a Thacher student.


Ave. Low 36 38 41 43 48 51 56 55 53 47 40 35

Precip. 5.04 5.24 3.35 1.22 .47 .12 .04 .005 .2 .98 1.69 2.95

Average Annual Rainfall:


Record High Year 115° 2018



Valley: (est.)


Record Low Year 16° 1990




Beatrice Wood. The famed ceramicist’s (“The Mama of Dada”) greatest work of art may well have been her life. The irreverent, avant-garde Wood lived and worked in Ojai for decades until her death in 1998 at age 105. She inspired two classic movies, Francois Truffaut’s “Jules et Jim,” and James Cameron’s “Titanic.” She attributed her longevity to “chocolate and young men.” Her autobiography was appropriately titled, “I Shock Myself.” Many of her distinctive, whimsical, luminous luster-glazed pieces are on display at her former home, now the Beatrice Wood Center, in upper Ojai.



OM — November 2019

The name “Ojai” is believed to be derived from the Ventureño Chumash word ‘awhaý, meaning “moon.” In 1837, Fernando Tico received a land grant and established a cattle ranch. Thomas A. Scott, who had financial success with oil and railroads, bought the Ojai Valley in 1864 for oil exploration. By 1868, Scott, through his agent Thomas Bard, began selling properties to homesteaders. By 1874, R.G. Surdam plotted out the town he would call Nordhoff, renamed Ojai in 1917. Ojai is about 90 miles northwest of Los Angeles and 30 miles east of Santa Barbara. The valley is about 10 miles long by 3 miles wide, surrounded by hills and mountains; the rare east-west orientation with a slight southward tilt gives the valley an extraordinary sun exposure; Ojai’s citrus and avocado crops are highly prized. This orientation also gives rise to Ojai as a spiritual destination. It was due to the resources and organizing energy of Ohio glass manufacturer Edward Drummond Libbey that Nordhoff was rebuilt and renamed Ojai, inspired by the City Beautiful Movement. By 1917, with the construction of the Arcade and Post Office Tower, the town took its present shape. The city’s self-styled nickname is “Shangri-La,” based on the story that Ojai was the backdrop (later left on the editing room floor) from the 1937 movie as the mystical sanctuary of James Hilton’s novel “Lost Horizon.”

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Ojai Monthly — November 2019  

Ojai's premier events, lifestyle and real estate magazine.

Ojai Monthly — November 2019  

Ojai's premier events, lifestyle and real estate magazine.