It’s Autumn in Ojai

The stress starts to disappear somewhere between the turnoff for the Fillmore Fish Hatchery and the third produce stand selling grapefruits the size of softballs. By the time the car has passed the oak-lined path that leads to the former home of Indian philosopher Jiddu Krishnamurti, it is a distant memory that won’t return until long after the sun fades to pink over the Topa Topa Mountains.

Ojai really is the anti-L.A. – a Shangri-La on the edge of the Los Padres National Forest with orange groves, horse ranches and a main street full of small businesses. We usually head up there in late winter or spring, when orange season is at its peak. This year, we veered from tradition and drove up the day after Thanksgiving. With all the golden orange and red foliage, it felt like we had driven into L.A.’s version of Vermont.

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