About Ojai, California

Ojai, CA

From Ojai Concierge:



Ojai has it all. When it comes to a day trip, a weekend stay, a month’s vacation, or even the ideal place to live, Ojai is blessed. An hour and half north of Los Angeles, and within easy striking distance of the ocean, Ventura and Santa Barbara. Ojai is a gem.

Scenically it’s beautiful, years ago, when Hollywood’s Frank Capra filmed Shangri-La for the movie Lost Horizons, he chose Ojai. Looking at the valley today, it’s easy to see why.

It’s a long East/West valley full of oaks, orange and avocado groves surrounded by mountains that seem to enfold it and give it its small self contained community air. It’s Ojai, not on the way to anywhere, not between anywhere, just a haven of quiet peace and civility in a world that’s short of both. No advertising bill boards to barrage the senses, no Walmart, no Target, etc…

Yet there is a quiet vibrancy that comes through in its famous Tennis Tournament, The Ojai Music Festival where the L.A. Philamonic under world renowned conductors play in a bowl setting that is exquisite. It has its Shakespeare Festival, its Film Festival, and the Indian PowWow just down the road at Lake Casitas. There is always something going on, all pretty big events and yet, in its own Ojai way, all no big deal.

There are bike trails, horse trails, hiking trails through national forest, rocky scrub and waterfalls, and everywhere, anywhere in the valley, there are breathtaking views. There are gourmet restaurants and fresh baked pastry shops, its home to artists and potters and craftsmen, and stores and studios that sell their wares. There’s the Ojai Valley Inn with a golf course to challenge the pros and there’s the bucolic county run Soule Park course, where the trick is to get in early. There are public tennis courts of rare quality and there are tennis clubs with gyms and pools. In short, OJAI HAS IT ALL.


Artifacts found in the Ojai Valley have been dated at 7000 years old, confirming the presence of a people know as Milling Stone Horizon. Certain later evidence suggests the possibility of an even earlier culture going back some 12,000-25,000 years. No explanation as to the disappearance of either has been found. However, from some 3000 years ago up to the late 18th century the area was occupied by the Chumash Indians, a sophisticated people who built boats, wove baskets, fished, hunted, harvested cereals, and practiced rock art. Many Chumash artifacts and relics have been found in the valley and even today people of mixed Chumash heritage still live in the Ojai Valley.

About 1750, the Spanish mission settlers pushed northward into California. Backed by the Spanish government, their aim was to civilize the natives, make Christians of them, and by so doing, strengthen the Spanish hold on California. However well intentioned, within 50 years the Chumash, decimated by disease, loss of land, and the demands and restrictions imposed by the mission settlers, effectively ceased to exist as a separate culture.  In 1832, some ten years after the victory of the Mexican revolutionists, the Mexican government reduced the role of the missions to that of spiritual matters only. They confiscated all Californian land which they then parceled out to men in favored positions. Senor Fernando Tico, who held the top job in the Buenaventura Mission settlement, was granted 17,716.83 acres of the Rancho Ojay in April, 1837. A further 21,500 acres of land in the Ventura River Valley and the Coyote and San Antonio Creeks in the Oak View area were granted to Christogono Ayala and his brother in law Cosme Vanegas.

Sixteen years later, by which time California had been ceded to the United States, Tico sold his land to Henry Storrow Carnes of Santa Barbara. Several transactions later it was acquired by Thomas Scott, the ex-acting assistant of war under President Lincoln, on behalf of a syndicate of oil prospectors who bought up 277,000 acres of land, including the Rancho Ojai. They built crude wagon trails, which opened up the valley. They sank dry well after dry well, lost all their money, and moved out.

Without any definable cause apart from gossip, legend, and scenic beauty, the valley acquired a reputation that its climate, natural hot springs, and serenity, cured incurable diseases. A Ventura businessman, Royes Surdam, decided to cash in on this aspect. Buying up 1000 acres, he drew up a “proposed” map of the town which he named Nordhoff, and sent both map and letters back to Eastern doctors advertising the recuperative benefits of the valley.

Offering free land to anyone who would build a hotel to accommodate his sickly visitors, the Blumberg Nordhoff Hotel opened in April 1874. It is said visitors were quite surprised when they arrived to find a hotel, a few shanty buildings, and no town.


Public Schools
(Ojai Unified School Dist)

Elementary Schools

Topa Topa School
916 Mountain View Drive
Ojai – 640-4366

Mira Monte School
1216 Loma Drive
Ojai Valley – 640-4384

San Antonio School
650 Carne Road
Ojai – 640-4373

Meiners Oaks School
400 S. Lomita Drive
Ojai Valley – 640-4378

Junior High Schools

Matilija Junior High
703 El Paseo
Ojai – 640-4355

High Schools

Nordhoff High School
1401 Maricopa Highway
Ojai – 640-4343

Chaparral High School
414 E. Ojai Avenue
Ojai – 640-4330

Click here for the full list of Ojai schools

Meet Gail Graham

Gail Graham has been helping people Buy and Sell real estate in California for many years. Including Malibu, Mammoth Lakes, Ventura County and Ojai. "Mountains to the Sea" Gail has lived in Ojai for 25 years and has a 22 year old daughter. Her top priority is to provide people exactly what they are looking for, whether it be finding the perfect dream home, investment property or to market their property at the BEST possible price. Gail's goal is a successful transaction with satisfied clients. Always service with a smile and integrity you can count on. Call her at 805 558 6323, or EMAIL/

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Feel free to give me a call, anytime at (805) 558-6323, or send an email, to discuss buying or selling your home in the Ojai Valley.