Waking up in Ojai and knowing that we had to get on the road to leave was difficult because Ojai is awesome from what we could tell! And we only got to spend a very short time there. Definitely on our list to go back for a longer trip.
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I have to brag on the Ojai Rancho Inn one more time because their attention to detail is so neat – to go along with their mid-century modern and vintage 60s camping vibe, they serve coffee and tea from antique thermoses in the morning. How cute! These guys just get me.
They also recommended a great restaurant for breakfast called The Farmer and The Cook, which ended up being one of my most favorite breakfasts of the whole trip. This place is amazing – it’s a restaurant, yes, but all their food comes from their own farm (about 2 miles down the road), they have a market with all organic produce, and a CSA (community supported agriculture) for people in the area. The food was really delicious, especially that homemade tortilla (oh man..) and was the kind of food that nourishes and makes you feel good. Parker and I make it a point to enjoy whatever the local fare is where we’re traveling, and it’s not always the healthiest for us (i.e. crab rolls and chowder in Seattle, Voodoo Doughnuts in Portland…) – this place was a nice way to hit the reset button and start the day with really fresh, good for the body food.
So after breakfast, we got back on the road and I wanted to go back to Lake Casitas because we didn’t get to see much of it the first time. It wasn’t too far out of the way and the drive was really nice. It felt like we were out in the middle of nowhere.
We had bought this really neat travel tripod so we could take pictures together, and pretty much forgot about it completely until this day. So we made a point to get out and take a few in front of Lake Casitas. It was kind of hilarious with the self timer and the cars passing by and then when we got in the car to leave, I realized Parker’s eyes were closed in every single picture we took after I made him take off his sunglasses. Hah :)
When we made it back to Highway 1, it took us further down the coast and we could tell we were getting close to Malibu when the coast kept getting closer and closer and the drop-offs shorter and shorter.
So, by the time we got to Malibu it was lunch time and the only place I wanted to go was Paradise Cove because Bri had just written a glowing review of it, and it was right on the water, so we gave it a shot. Parker and I both agree though – tooootally overrated!Okay, let me clarify before going on. I am sure that this place is lovely if you have kids – it’s very family friendly, it’s got the beach, food and cocktails, restrooms and changing areas, so it’s a one stop shop. You could spend all day at the beach (for the low low price of $40 parking) and come in to eat whenever you felt like. Here’s the thing though: the food is pretty awful and really expensive!
Also, the novelty of sitting outside with the tables in the sand wore off quickly for us. It’s kind of hard to get comfortable or move your chair around and you sink in to the sand. I didn’t mind waiting over an hour though for a seat because it was pretty neat to sit outside under the sun and relax in those chairs. I’m glad I wasn’t starving though because the place was bumpin.
Don’t get me wrong, the food was beautiful and photographed nicely, but the quality and taste were probably the most disappointing of our entire trip. I got the lobster tacos and they were bland, rubbery, and well…unappetizing. I was really confused about how great Bri had said this place was but just brushed it off to different folks, different strokes. Plus, I’m sure we didn’t do ourselves any favors by just stopping by for lunch. This is not the kind of place you stop by – it’s a place you hang out all day with friends and family at the beach and enjoy the scenery and company. So! C’est la vie! There’s no denying how pretty it is here though. I’m sure if you live in LA, this would be a fabulous place to get away from the city and feel like you’re really far away.Guys, by now you should know that I keep it real here and if you saw my Instagram post about this place, then you already know part of the story but I am about to go off on a fantastic rant. For posterity and all, you know.
Our trip was not completely roses and sunshine (though it mostly was) and this place above was the worst encounter of our two weeks. This is the Topanga Canyon Inn. I found the place on Yelp, the reviews were great (all fake, I’m convinced), it was a decent price, so we booked it the day before on our way down the PCH. I thought it was kind of odd that you had to pay extra for a private bathroom, but brushed it off to a unique B&B experience. (???)
When we arrived though – oh my goodness. Okay, first of all, the drive up is terrifying. It’s not even on a paved road! We were totally confused because when we were driving, following our GPS, we were in a completely residential neighborhood on the side of a mountain. I kept saying “This can’t be right…” and then when our GPS told us to go up a steep road marked “End of County Maintained Road” where the asphalt ended and became dirt, we were like “Huh?!” and called to make sure we were going the right way. Yes, that was the way.
So we drive up this dirt road – that is STEEP you guys – and get completely jostled because the “road” is all potholes and rocks and up an incline so steep our SUV rental was having trouble. Anyway, when we pull up, we notice it’s just a house. A beautiful house nonetheless, but a house with only a short driveway to park in. I couldn’t even get out of the car because that drive left me shaken up and my nerves completely raw, so Parker went in to check it out. He came out a few minutes later and said “Uh…I don’t know about this place, do you want to come in and see?” So I did and the girl showed us a room – even normal Bed and Breakfasts have locks on the doors right? This room didn’t! None of them did! It was just some family’s house they were renting rooms out of. We hightailed it out of there and decided to dispute the charge later.
Oh! And the garage. Okay, so further evidence that this was just someone’s house. While I was waiting outside and Parker was inside, the garage door opened and some guy was inside working on his car and it looked like a normal, every day garage with tools and boxes, and stuff that wouldn’t be weird at all if you weren’t under the guise of this being a hospitality establishment. When he saw me, he shut it fast and I was so confused that I didn’t even think to take a picture.
Ah, the W! We had reservations there for the next 2 nights and just extended our stay to include that night as well. We were so happy to arrive after our ordeal (oh and also – it took us 2 hours to drive the 20 miles from the Topanga Canyon Inn to here) and we just laughed about the whole thing. Welcome to LA! It’s pretty funny now that we can look back on it (and our credit card company took our side and forced them to credit us the $300) and honestly – if that was the worst part of the whole trip, then we’re pretty lucky.
We were so tired after the “ordeal” and the traffic that we decided to just walk downstairs for dinner and crash early. It was so nice! The patio at the W was really pretty, the drinks strong and cold (and well deserved if you ask me), and the food was delish. We ate tapas style (typical..) but I don’t really remember what we had. I do remember though that it was a really nice way to end the day and we were excited to explore LA for the next couple days.
Tomorrow I’ll share the last post of this series but you can read about the rest of our trip here if you’d like: Pacific Coast Highway Part 2, Pacific Coast Highway Part 1, Colorado part 1 and part 2, Seattle, Portland and San Francisco.