Spa at the Oaks in Ojai

A Day at The Oaks Spa!

The Oaks at Ojai is a resort and getaway for a few nights stay or for those that just have the day drop in and enjoy their Spa. This is the spot for anyone looking to pamper themselves. The Oaks Spa offers every service you could want in a historic and comfortable setting. Right in the center of Ojai and in the renovated mission style hotel this spa gives off charm and invites you to spend time reaching complete relaxation.

The Oaks Spa covers all of your needs from body and skin care treatments, to the hair and nail salon all in one place. Leave with loose muscles after a full body salt stone massage with pink toes and trimmed hair if that is your ideal day. Or for facial enthusiasts there are a number of options to get your skin glowing!

Body Treatments – The Oaks Spa is a wonderful mix of the traditional Swedish Massage, Deep Pressure, and Aromatherapy with innovative techniques to target joints and the Hot Himalayan Salt Stone Massage. My favorite part is that for the indecisive like myself they have the Ultimate Massage Package that feature six of the massage styles in one 75 min. treatment.
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Ziplines at Pacific Crest

Flying down the mountain!

Ziplines at Pacific Crest in the San Gabriel Mountains, north of Los Angeles California, is an adventure course through the treetops. Not for the faint of heart, these are some high speed rides over heights that equal a thirty story building and lines that go more than a quarter of a mile in length. This is a great way to spend the day out in nature and enjoying a view you can get no other way. If you feel the need for speed and enjoy a thrill this is the place to be.

They offer a couple of  options to enjoy the excitement at Ziplines at Pacific Crest with their Canopy or Mountain View Tours. These half day adventures will take you above the San Andres fault and into the heights of the California mountains. If you can’t make up your mind between the two consider the Ultimate Day Package which includes both options and a provided box lunch and drink.

Mountain View Zipline Tour – this package is made up of 6 ziplines, 2 free-fall rappels, and 3 hikes that take visitors through the countryside in a 2.5 hr. trip.

Canopy Tour – this 3.5 hr. course includes 9 ziplines that reach 306 ft in height and run as long as 1500 ft. Crossing 3 bridges, lowering yourself down 2 rappels, a sky stair, and 3 hikes round out this route.

Either choice or both will give visitors an adrenaline rush. Even the van up to the start point will get you going with a rumbling ride. From there it is a continued climb on foot to the first launch. After the guides run through the basics of braking and safety details you are ready to fly. I felt some butterflies with the anticipation of my first run and before some of the other elements that make up the course, like rappelling.
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Brouwerij West at San Pedro, Ca

Beer Enthusiasts Stop Here!

Brouwerij West, pronounced Brewery West, is an amazing destination for visitors to Los Angeles and Long Beach in particular. They are more than just a brewery, with their tasting room, daily food trucks, pop-up restaurants, historical building, and proximity to other local attractions, they are a perfect stop. Kids and dogs (leashed of course) are welcome and the parking is free. Add the beer itself, which is excellent, and Brouwerij West is a great lunch break location or evening outing.

Visitors from further away can take advantage of the Brouwerji West special with the DoubleTree by Hilton Hotel San Pedro, Beaches and Brews package. Then schedule a tour and tasting! The two-night travel package starts with two Brouwerij West beers when you arrive at the Hotel, transportation to a hosted tour of Brouwerij West; and a five beer tasting. Learn more about the process and how water, hops, barley, and other ingredients come together in the fine art and science of brewing.

Located in a converted U.S. Navy Port Warehouse that was built during World War II, the brewery gives the area a new life after the building sat abandoned. Visitors can come and get a look at soaring ceiling and brick walls initially intended to house ships, now home to beer barrels and brewing tanks. The tour was a real highlight of the visit for me as I knew very little about beer before.

Another aspect that deserves attention is that Brouwerij West is a green company running entirely off solar energy and 30% more efficient in their water usage than traditional breweries. This is possible with the use of a super fancy mash filter. Obviously when using terms like “super fancy” you can see I’m not an expert, so for true beer enthusiasts and home brewers here is an article from beerandbrewing.com about how the process really works. I did walk away from my tour far more knowledgable about the brewing process and ready to test some beers!
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All-Inclusive Spa, The Oaks at Ojai, Ca.

Ready to take time for yourselves ladies?

Then the Oaks at Ojai is your destination.

When you think about Southern California beaches come to mind, but there is so much more to see just a short drive from other destinations like Los Angeles, Santa Barbara, and San Diego. A highlight is Ojai and the destination, the all-inclusive resort the Oaks at Ojai.

Surrounded by picturesque mountains is an oasis of green housed in mission style architecture and the luxury of modern amenities. A retreat from the high speed and high pressure daily grind is hard to find. Even traveling carries the burden of planning and transporting yourself place to place for meals and activities.


The Oaks all inclusive resort is the answer to that. This is a place for women, though men are welcome. Leave the rest of the family at home and come with a friend or go alone. Either way you will have a great time relaxing poolside, enjoying exercise classes, and eating healthy, tasty, energizing meals and snacks. This isn’t a boot camp, though there are ample opportunities to get you up, out, and moving. Hikes, swimming, yoga, dance, and exercise classes engage all guests at the level of their choosing.

Take the morning walks as an example. They come in three “speeds”, Hikes, Walks, and Strolls. Hikes start at 6:30am and last 90+ minutes. I took the morning hike and adventured up into the hills of the San Pedro National Forest for a view of the valley well worth the early start time. If a later wake up call and slower pace is more your speed then definitely catch the Ojai walking tour that will point out the highlights of the town and fill you in on the historic points and current details that make this spot a great destination.
I took my first ever pool exercise class and loved the shade sail over the area. This allowed you to stay out of the sun or embrace it while working up an appetite and working out your muscles. I loved it for the variety of moves I learned that I now bring to my solo swims to get an extra burn and stretch. I also enjoyed sitting poolside and being close to nature under the flowering trees.

Outside the water there are activities that you can add on to your stay, or on week days some different adventures are offered like a kayaking trip. Private hikes are available or get together with some new friends and plan a small group outing. If you like to bike there is a great local trail that even takes you all the way down to the ocean. You can rent on your own or take the guided ride that comes with a lunch and car ride back up the road to save you from peddling miles uphill.
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The Flavors of Louisiana in Virginia at Bayou Bakery

New Orleans native Chef David Gaus has won accolades from The Today Show, the Travel Channel, Food and Wine, Southern Living, Saveur and Bon Appetit for his Arlington, Virginia restaurant Bayou Bakery. There you can taste the authentic flavors of the Crescent City while in the suburbs of D.C./Northern Virginia.

When you walk in, you order your food choices at the counter, and then take a seat to wait for your items to be prepared. There are colorful Southern and New Orleans touches to the decor, but it’s not kitchy. Sofas and smaller tables make mingling and socializing easier, and there is wifi should you want to bring your laptop (which many people seemed to want to do).

new orleans

New Orleans was a port destination for coffee for centuries, and  Bayou Bakery has some unique and natural coffee infusion drinks, incorporating unexpected flavors like basil, honey, and ginger root. Or, if you are in the mood for something a little harder, did you know cocktails were invented in New Orleans? Their Bloody Mary takes a fresh twist with pickled veggies as garnish. It won’t sear your tongue, however, but rather, it has a tangy drinkability.
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Woodloch Poconos Resort

all inclusive resort

An all-inclusive family resort, located in the Pocono Mountains, Woodloch offers the best in lodging, dining, and entertainment for all four seasons. Rent a cabin or a room and enjoy time with family and friends. With views of Lake Teedyuskung and mountain vistas a vacation here is a chance to relax and renew yourself.

Kids will never lack for indoor or outdoor adventures. In warmer months, hit the mountains and climb the hills. In winter, you can ski or snow tube. Too cold outside? Try the six sided rock climbing wall which is available any season. Swimming is always an option as well, as the resort has indoor and outdoor pools. For those that like a little speed and some motorized fun there, are the bumper cars, go karts, and even bumper boats! If you crave some quiet, you can glide silently through the water on a kayak trip and experience a new view of nature and the surrounding wildlife. You might even catch a peek at an American Bald Eagle flying the skies.
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Welcome to IOWA!

Ever consider visiting Iowa? If not, maybe you should. There are some great family stops and a lot to do.  These are a few of our favorite stops on our recent visit.

iowa

Amana Colonies

Located 20 miles from Cider Rapids are the Amana Colonies, 7 villages that were originally German settlements in Iowa. Settled in 1855 the colonies remained self-sufficient until the 1930’s. The Amanians operated independently as a community by farming and handcrafting to maintain their own local economy. Today you can visit the villages and shop at their craft stores, eat local fair, or drink a glass of wine or beer. Antiques, furniture, home decor, clothing, and gifts you will find nowhere else create a unique shopping adventure.

iowa food

The Colonies tradition of great food is available for visitors to explore in the restaurants or specialty shops. The Amana Meat Shop and Smokehouse has over 160 years of experience offering ham, bacon, sausages, beef, and pork to visitors and online.  The Ox Yoke Inn is a fantastic place to stop for lunch, and has amazing German style food. The staff is gracious and the food is affordable and filling. The Broom and Basket Shop is exactly what you might expect, a store dedicated to selling locally handmade brooms and baskets. Another interesting stop is Iowa’s Largest Walnut Rocker, at over 650 lbs. and 11 ft. tall. Great for a family picture. These are just examples of some of the interesting sites you can wander through on a visit to the Amanas.
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Winter Fun at Okemo

Is your family’s idea of the perfect holiday gift several feet of fresh powder beneath their feet? At a time of year when cabin fever attacks, the freedom and exhilaration in skiing is the perfect antidote. When you drive up with your folks or the kids, you want the rest of your vacation to be spent having fun – not more driving around. A resort with all the amenities to please everyone fits the bill: Okemo Mountain Resort in Vermont.  We had a great time checking out all that the resort had to offer- and there was quite a bit to do.

ski vermont

Nestled in the heart of the Green Mountains, they offer 8 different styles of accommodations – many with ski in-out availability. Choices range from classic mountain lodge rooms to multiple options for larger families – perfect for those family reunions.

At Jackson Gore Inn, thoughtful amenities like deep soaking tubs to loosen up sore muscles after a run down the slopes. An indoor pool and game arcade keep the kids occupied during inclement weather or after skiing.
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