Visiting the Pillars of Rome in Oregon

Visiting the Pillars of Rome in Oregon is not easy unless you are already in the area.For the sole reason that it is quite literally hours from most anything else. But if you do find yourself in the area of South Eastern Oregon, and want to see something really spectacular then you should certainly take the detour to experience it.

The Pillars of Rome were named by William F. Stine a homesteader in the area. And were a landmark for those crossing through the southern part of Oregon on the Oregon Trial.

The 100 foot tall, 5 by 2 mile site is a geologists dream. Layers of fossils, ash and sediment were slowly eroded by wind and rain to reveal the towering rock formation that today resemble roman architecture.

Visiting the Pillars of Rome in Oregon
Granted the drive to the location is likely not for everyone, but is a dream come true for photographers and rock hounds alike. The site can be accessed by a well graded gravel road just off I95 in Malheur County Oregon.

Situated slightly North West of Rome Oregon, otherwise known as Rome Station, so named for the only business in the unincorporated community. You can find it tucked up in a narrow valley near a number of farms. It also happens to be near a landing area of the Owyee River, which makes the area a perfect stop for rafters.

For this reason if you plan on hiking around the area I suggest doing your research and ensuring you won’t be trespassing on a local farmer’s private land. Many of the access points were behind cattle fence, which also suggests a need to ensure you won’t be chased down by the local bull.

Additionally falling rocks are very common at formations like this, so please tread carefully as any movement could dislodge something. And given the area, be properly prepared with hat, water, tick and rattle snake prevention measures.

Our Visit
Our visit was mostly just a drive by. We had somewhere specific to be well before nightfall and didn’t want to burn too much daylight poking around this area. We got out stretched our legs, which was much needed after three hours of driving from the Frenchglen Hotel, we just took some pictures and carried on.

Visiting the Pillars of Rome in Oregon was an opportunity I was very thankful to have. Especially given how remote it is to most other things in the state. I wouldn’t often have the chance to be this far away from home, so I am glad we took advantage and the detour to experience such a magnificent geologic site.

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Frenchglen Hotel

I can’t recall how I heard about the Frenchglen Hotel but it was years ago and I was entirely enamored with the idea of a historic hotel, so significant it was protected and run directly by state employees. I also loved the idea that guests ate family style with the rest of the guests at a specific time. It seemed so quaint and easy. And it was.

Frenchglen today is an unincorporated community in Harney County sitting at the foothills of the Steens Mountain. It sits next to some of Peter French’s original landholdings. After Peter French was killed the secretary  of his  company took over P Ranch and sold off some of the land the pay off debts. In 1906 P Ranch and Diamond Ranch were sold, and then partnership of a portion of this was sold 1916 to the owner of the  Swift Meatpacking Company.

The hotel was built in 1924 to house guest who were in the area to do business with the Swift Meatpacking Company.  As it was quite an organization and in 1924 it took more than a few hours to reach this remote part of Oregon.
For a few years in the 1930s Frenchglen also operated a school, which taught children of local ranchers though it has since closed. In 1934 The Department of Fish and Wildlife owned and restored the hotel, while also expanding it a bit. In 1959 the hotel got electric power, and in 1973 Oregon Parks and Recreation Department took over the property. In 1984 it was official added to the National Register of Historic Places, and ever since then the eight room hotel (plus a newly built overflow hotel) has been operated by the state department.

Staying At Frenchglen
To book reservations you need to call the hotel directly, they are a small staff and don’t always answer the phone. But they are rather good about calling back so if you miss them leave a message.
If you are looking for a nicer more modern accommodation I would suggest asking for a room at Drovers Inn (the overflow building) but in truth if you are all the way out here you probably aren’t that picky. The rooms in the hotel are modestly decorated with historic pictures, and antiques.

They do have running hot water, clean shared bathrooms (private single use but shared with all guests) and offer family style dinners as well as made to order breakfast during a couple set hours in the morning. They do have electricity and Internet but no television.

Things to Do at Frenchglen
There is an enormous about of things to do directly in the area. For one the hotel sits literally across the street from the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge. We started out to explore it before we took off in the morning and got eaten alive by mosquitoes in about 2 min. Bring lots of bug spray.

It is also a short drive to the Diamond Craters and Round Barn to the north and the Alvord Desert to the south. Heading south is also the road to go up into the Steens for a hearty amount of hiking, though sadly the roads were still closed from the late snowfall. The Steens is also home to several historic ranches which have since been abandoned and can be explored by foot if you can find them.

Exploring Frenchglen
Frenchglen itself is little more than the hotel and a few houses for people who work in the area. We spent a few minuets walking around taking pictures while we waited for the gas station to open.

The gas station is actually worth seeing the women who runs it has been in the process of fixing it up to provide tourists in the area a few amenities. She has included some basic groceries for camping or hiking. Some local antiques for sale and a sweet little coffee shop that I wished we had time to hang around in. But we had a long drive ahead of us and needed to get our gas and hit the road.
We had an absolute blast at the Frenchglen Hotel. And I am most certainly returning to stay here and explore the area in more detail. My favorite thing about the entire experience was that for one short night all the guests felt like a little family. We sat down at enormous wooded benches in the small front room, passed the dishes around, learned about each other, caught one another up on what we saw and did and everyone walked away with more idea and an urge to return.

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The Alvord Desert

One of the main reasons we were on this epic Eastern Oregon Road trip, which turned out to be near a thousand miles covered in 5 days was to see The Alvord Desert. As I have mentioned most of Oregon east of the cascade range is high desert. I am sure all manner of scientists would take issue with that term, but it is what we Oregonians call it. Compared to everything west of the cascades what ever they get isn’t classified as real rain. You don’t know real rain until you have lived on the Oregon Coast.

But I digress, the vast majority of Oregon is actually technically steepe or scrubland as it is a arid climate that gets just enough moisture a year to not be considered a true desert. Vast grass lands and wild sage is what you will most of the time driving around out here, with the occasional very small pine tree. It’s cowboy country.

Alvord Desert
The Alvord Desert however, is a true desert. It a dry lake bed that gets less than 7 inches of precipitation a year. At 4,000 miles above sea level, it sits east of the Coast Range, the Cascade Range and the Steens Mountain, which itself is nearly 10 thousand feet above sea level. It the winter it is well below freezing and in the summer upwards of 100.

The desert itself is ringed by geothermal activity, pushing both cold and hot springs up along its boarder, providing ample grassland and wildflowers which attract a large variety of wildlife. You can often see wild horses specifically in this area.

Getting There
Getting to the Alvord Desert is not easy, which is why it took me so long to visit. It is hours from my house and due to its sparse human population many many miles from active gas stations. I say active because Fields just south of the desert sometimes has gas and Frenchglen just east of the Steens often has gas. But the area is also maintained by BLM, so the majority of the roads are not paved, which just add yes another level of risk and uncertainty to the trip. We had just left the Diamond Craters and were running low on daylight but set off all the same on the seemingly more difficult route of driving all the way past the Steens Moutain on the western side, then looping back up from Fields. And I am so glad we did, the other route coming from the north directly as a crow flies sounds easier but it is a couple hours on a gravel road and is more remote from gas stations and other services.

Things to Do
This area is the outdoor persons paradise. Houses are sparse, cars on the road even less frequent, wildlife everywhere, most of the area is BLM and as such open to public recreation of all sorts (providing you are respectful and follow the rules). We saw photographers, wind surfers, campers and motor bikers just at the entrance of the park. Which there are several, and are not well marked, be sure to take caution to not drive down someone’s private drive.

This would be the perfect place to set up camp for a weekend of day hiking up in the Steens. You would have no light pollution at night as there are so few homes and certainly no real towns in the area.  The area is also a population destination for land speed enthusiasts. And the womens land speed record here by Kitty O’Neal in 1976.

Places to  Stay
There isn’t really any place to stay in the area directly unless you are camping. The Frenchglen Hotel is about 70 miles away and offers modest accommodation. I love the place personally but it is not luxury by any means. The Alvord Hotsprings also offers bunkhouse lodging which is even less luxurious. Mostly you are roughing it, it just depends on what degree of running water you would rather have.

I am so glad I finally go to see The Alvord Desert, it was so beautiful and peaceful and so different than the rest of Oregon. I hope one day I can go back with more time on my hands to hike and camp. It would truly be a unique experience.

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Diamond Craters

No these craters do not have diamonds in them, the Diamond Craters in Malheur County Oregon are rather located near Diamond Oregon. They are are monogenetic lava field that covers 27 square miles of lava flows and cinder cones.

We were in the area as a part of a larger road trip and wanted to check it out and maybe do a little bit of hiking but we were ill prepared for what awaited us. Which is just a very dramatic way of saying, this place is big, hot and there is not a single ounce of shade anywhere.
Carbon dating suggests that the lava fields were created roughly 7500 years ago. The craters themselves were officially named after the Diamond Ranch which once occupied the area and was owned by a man named Mace McCoy. In the 1970s there was a bit of hub-bub about the area due to a large volume of stone cutters taking lava slabs to sell. This prompted the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) to step in and offer protection for the site.  Today it is maintained as an Outstanding Natural Area, which was made official in 1982 to protect the land and preserve it for public recreation.

Our Visit
We showed up mid day after having spent an inordinate amount of time at  the Peter French Round Barn. We didn’t realize how big the area was going to be, and we didn’t really look that much into how to enter the park itself.  We wound up spending a lot of time driving around on the BLM roads trying to find the craters, and after scaring our selves several times about getting stuck in soft sand and no one being around to tow us out we chose to sit on the edge of the one crater at the entrance of the park and eat lunch.
Planning a Proper Trip
If visiting lava fields, hiking in them and/or photographing them is your thing. This is a great place to visit and should not be missed. Do your research, plan to be there early. Have a map and a compass (there is no cell service), bring lots of water and sunscreen and wear a hat. Also I would suggest wearing snake boots, and checking about 40 times for ticks. And make sure you are driving a four wheel drive car.

The Diamond Craters are amazing, there is so much land to see, so many stunning views and so many places to hike or run around in an all terrain vehicle. I wish we had given ourselves more time, but it was mostly a curiosity stop as we had bigger ideas in mind for the trip. If I ever find my way out there I will most certainly be hiking the Diamond Craters.

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Peter French Round Barn

The Peter French Round Barn is really fascinating, both the man, the history of the area and the surrounding scenery is enough to take someone’s breath away. The area has a lot more water than most other parts of Eastern Oregon and as such provides a vast sanctuary for migratory birds. The barn sits on the edge of one such lake (sadly for us the lake was still flooded into the barn) and provides a great stop if you are road tripping or an even better destination.

Peter French
Peter French seems to be a bit of a notorious figure in Harney and Malheur counties. Born in Missouri but raised in California in the mid 1800s. He was raised in a sheep ranching family, as an adult he moved south toward Mexico and got hired by a wealthy stock-man as a horse breaker.

His business dealings continued with this Hugh James Glen which ulitmatly took him to prospecting land in southern Oregon to expand their enterprises. He established P Ranch around 1872 in what is now Malheur and Harney County. Through a series of underhanded business deals he managed to exploit Swamp and Overflow Act by flooding areas of land that he wanted to buy for cheap and then draining it once he owned the land. Allowing him to expand his cattle and horse business in the area to ultimately own  (I believe) around 70,000 acres of land in south eastern Oregon where his company ranched 45,000 cattle at any given point during the duration of his holdings.

Not surprisingly his business practices didn’t earn him a lot of friends in the community (not to mention it seems he wasn’t the nicest of men personally), he was shot in the head by Ed Oliver December 26, 1897.
History of the Round Barn
Rounds barns are not an uncommon as I had thought going into the visit, they were very popular for a while in North America first made famous by George Washington himself, and continued to be relatively popular in Illinois until around the 1920s.

This barn in particular and most round barns are not really barns in the true sense, as they are not built to store or house animals. But rather are built to train horses in the winter months. The Peter French Round Barn was built sometime between 1883 and 1884. The center of the barn is set up to allow young horses to keep warm while not being worked, and the outer ring is used as the training circuit.

Oregon had a very long cold winter this year, with late snows and in the high desert of eastern Oregon summer is a couple months behind the western valley where we had driven from. So it was a bit of shock to us how cold and how wet it still was out here for being so late in the year. We had our waterproof hiking books (great for areas with ticks and scorpions) but sadly the barn was under a couple feet over water in most places.

We did manage to swing ourselves in rather dramatically by clinging to an old wire and the door jab but but even still we didn’t get to explore as much of the unique historic building as we had wanted. I had to take a picture of it with all the carved initials. The are probably newer, but for some reason it reminded me of the Dover Castle which for a brief period served as a prison and the carvings all over the building were from the prisoners.
Round Barn Visitors Center
The Peter French Round Bar is a state historic site, but I got the feeling that it is mostly maintained and perhaps the even the land it sits on is currently owned by the Jenkins family. The family runs a visitors center at the entrance of the turn off which has bathrooms, snacks, drinks, books, souvenirs and a terrific family museum.

We spent quite a bit of time wandering around the building, looking through the museum and talking with the man who is currently running the business. He has since retired from the Jenkins family ranch, it is now run by other members of his family so he spends his days teaching folks about the history of the area, maintaining the site and running the visitors center and tours to help pay for all the upkeep.

I highly suggest a visit to the Peter French Round Barn, it is a fascinating bit of Oregon’s history which should not be lost. Given how far out in the middle of nowhere it is, I suggest making a road trip of the en-devour and exploring other things to see in the vast open planes of Eastern Oregon. More which I will be covering in the following weeks.

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Burns Oregon

I get the feeling that most people who haven’t spent a lot of time in Oregon thing that the entire state looks like the coast and the central Valley around Portland. But the truth is, the majority of the state sits in the rain shadow of the Cascade Range. Meaning everything east of Mt.Hood, south down to California all the way to Idaho is pretty much just high desert. Burns Oregon sits two and half hours east of the Cascades in the beautiful wide open plains of Harney County.

When driving in from the west you will hit Hines first to a new comer like me there didn’t seem to be much of a distinction from one to the other but I did straight away notice this incredible abandoned art deco building. I couldn’t find anyone who new what this used to be, but I would love nothing more than to turn it into something. It was so startling compared to the modest homes and small local park that surrounded it.

Burns OregonBurns and Hines together make up 60 percent of the population of Harney county, which isn’t to say how big the two towns are, rather it illustrates how sparsely population the area is. At just a little over four thousand people in both towns you can literally drive for hours and not see another car. Cattle Ranching, high quality horses and agriculture are the main industries in the area. And like most small towns in Oregon it has a lively local scene.
Things to DoMost of the things to do in the area consists of outdoor exploration, but I would be remiss if I didn’t mention the sweetest little shop Robin’s Closet. We stumbled onto it while need to take a driving break to stretch our legs.

Robin herself was working the day we went in and she was just living breathing kindness. She told us all about the area and her shop which has this incredible historical mural along one wall. I could have stared at it for hours.

The shop provided basically everything a girl could want or need plus cute little home items, candles, and some snack products. We spent more time in the shop than we probably should have but we were so impressed with the selection. I grew up in small town and I recall how difficult it was to find cute clothes to wear without having to drive to a city. I kept thinking how lucky all the local ladies were to have such a darling place to pop into any time they wanted.
StayWhile we were not leaving Robin’s Closet, Robin told us all about the renovations occurring in the small town. Recently the Central Hotel was renovated and provides both boutique rooms and a small music venue. The hotel website provides pictures of all the stunning rooms and a very nice run down of various places to eat and things to do in the area.

We were unfortunately only in town to break up our drive but I would really like to make my way back there one day and really experience Burns Oregon. It was a really sweet little place with lots of up and coming potential. After visiting with Robin and checking out a couple antique shops we hit the road. We were on a bit of a time schedule and had a lot of ground to cover before our next stop at the Round Barn.

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24 Hours In Portland

Given I live near enough to Portland that I can swing in and do just about anything I want any time I want I have very little reason to actually stay overnight there. But for my birthday this year I got to see my favorite Pod-cast live, a show that started after my bedtime, so I figured why not stay and not drive back home when I am silly tired. A little 24 hours in Portland for a little birthday celebration.

StayWe decided to stay at the Crystal Hotel as I had never had a chance to go there and it has been open for a few years now. The Crystal Hotel is owned by McMenanamins a local company that buys up old building like churches, schools, masonic lodges and in this case an old bathhouse and converts them into quirky affordable places to stay. Very Portland.

The hotel chain often offers smaller sized rooms though and in the some of the school buildings you wind up with very large rooms. Often the buildings have shared bathrooms, though again some of the hotels have some rooms with private facilities. All have restaurants onsite as well as other amenities like pools, bars, movie theaters, distilleries, the list goes on.

The Crystal Hotel specifically has dining, a soaking pool, and Al’s Den which is a bar and music venue.  Then across the street Lola’s Room and The Crystal Ballroom both music venues.

The location cannot be beat, right in the heart of downtown bordering both the city center itself and the fashionable pearl district which has a lot of shopping and restaurants. We chose the location specifically due to its proximity to all the shops we wanted to go into that day prior to the show and then dropped our bags off before grabbing our ride for dinner outside the hotel.
EatThere is an endless possibilities of places to eat dinner in Portland, in my opinion it really does have the best restaurants in the country. They may not be a lot of black tie type locations, but any flavor, anytime of day at any price point is an option here.

We chose to eat at my favorite upscale Mexican place Nuestra Cocina in inner South East Portland. When I live on that side of town I would invariably end up here for any sort of fancy outing I had planned. The food is amazing, the drinks are even better and the location was exactly what we were looking for that evening.

I ate everything on my plate and then some, if you ever wind up over in this area I high recommend.
DoOnce on this side of town there is quite a bit to do in the way of shopping, eating and drinking. In my opinion the food and bar options on this side of town are far greater than downtown and since it is the beginning of the more residential part of town the vibe is much more relaxed.

It wound up being a really nice evening, we had finished dinner earlier than planned and had tickets at Revolution Hall which was north a bit from where we were. We decided to walk. It was about a mile and half walk which is probably not for everyone, but it was pretty normal for us. So we strolled through some of the parts of town I used to hang out in, looking at all the old beautiful houses in that part of town. Popped in a couple shops one the way and rather quickly wound up exactly where we needed to be. Well before the doors opened. Revolution hall used to be a school, and after a long legal battle and lots of lost funding the beautiful building was finally converted into a multi use venue which was the home to my favorite pod-cast Last Podcast on the Left for one night only.

I had a blast and really didn’t want to show to end, even though it was midnight. Our driver promptly picked us up and took us back across the driver to the Crystal Hotel. Though it did take a bit as it happened to be both Rose Festival Weekend and Pride Week. Downtown was jammed with traffic and what should have been a 5 min drive wound up being close to 45.

We tucked ourselves in for the night, slept like babies and got up at the crack of dawn as usual well before breakfast was being served at the hotel. But one of the great things about the McMenamins hotels is that you are always provided coffee and cozy places to tuck in to a newspaper or a book in the mornings. So I wandered around taking a few pictures and then got dressed for breakfast.

After breakfast we checked out, took all our shopping bags back to the car and scooted out of the city. Thus ended my rather fabulous birthday 24 hours in Portland.

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Silver Falls Oregon

In keeping with the theme of trying to explore more of my home state this past spring we visited Silver Falls Oregon, a large set of hiking trails that center around a series of waterfalls. I had always wanted to visit but it is understandably popular during the tourist season and hiking never seems quite as magical to me when surrounded by other people. So we chose to visit in spring before the season picked up. The only problem with this plan was we had an unreasonably cold spring and while it was still cold on the valley floor the snow had all melted. Turns out this was not the case at the state park.

Silver Falls State ParkSilver Falls State Park is located just outside of Silverton Oregon just slightly east of Salem. There are 18 waterfalls in total in the area though the hiking trails mainly take you around the 10 major ones.
The park has a campground, a lodge that offers up snacks and souvenirs, horseback riding trails and a day use area that can be rented for weddings and family events. The park was also used for the filming of three movies, Just Before Dawn, The Hunted and Twilight.
Our Failed VisitThe roads were all clear getting up there so we thought we were in pretty good shape and there were quite a few cars in the parking lot so again we thought everything would be fine. Chilly but fine. We set off to the main train head across the parking lot to spy the first of many water falls in the park. It was crisp and cool and sunny and we thought we were so darn smart for visiting in the low season.

As soon as we got past the crowd of folks up by the main trail head we started seeing trail closure signs and when we peered over the edge to the place we had planned to trekking down to, we realized there was really no chance that we would be hiking the main trail. Areas that were not snow covered were pure ice.

So we thought we would be smart again and tried one of the rim trails that goes along the highway. This trail has very little elevation and thus even if icy should be alright. That turned out to be a pretty poor idea as well. We got a little ways but it was cold, wet and most of our efforts were spent staying upright rather than moving forward on the trail. We gave up shortly after and decided next time we would try to come back during the warmer months.

I very much think the area would be hikeable in the winter months, though locals did say it is usually very muddy. You just need to be prepared. We were prepared for a spring hike, not a sloppy winter hike. Silver Falls Oregon I will see you again one day, and hopefully on a much warmer and dryer day.

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Why I chose to detox my life

Oregon Garden Resort

When I think of travel I often feel like I have to go somewhere hard to get to in order to feel like I have seen something. But that isn’t the case, and that is in part why I started this blog. There is always something to see in your own back yard, or at least within a couple hours drive of your backyard. And so over the last couple years I have tried to make it a point to see as much of the state of Oregon as possible. It really is a remarkable state. So in keeping with this theme, this past spring we visited the Oregon Garden Resort in Silverton Oregon.  Oregon Gardens Hotel The Oregon Garden Resort calls this state its home, as does the town of Silverton which is a charming little place that shouldn’t be over looked. The hotel sits on 80 acres of immaculately manicured gardens. It includes a rather large lodge, outbuilding rooms for privacy, event space, a green house, The Gordon House and the gardens.The resort is built in the craftsman style but decorated in a bit of a 90s take on the style. It’s not bad by any means, just a tad dated but comfortable and relaxing. Oregon Gardens When we visited in was still quite cold but spring was starting to make its presence so we made a point to walk around the expansive Oregon Gardens which the hotel sits on. It incredibly well manicured hosting several water features, various types of small forests which you can hike around and a couple green houses.  The green houses were my favorite, partially because of all the beautiful orchids that were blooming but also because it was so cold the morning we chose to walk around it was the only place where I could thaw my hands on the far side of the property. The entire place would be absolutely stunning closer to summer and offers quite a few actives to children and families during the warmer months.  Amenities Aside from the gardens and the Gordon House the hotel offers up a few other treats as well. Yoga classes hosted in the main lodge on the weekends which are free to guests, I thoroughly enjoyed the class. Free breakfast which is a very impressive spread of both hot and cold options hosted in the main dining room which has a view of the gardens, and dear while I was there. There are two restaurants, the main dining and the pub both of which have great food as well as event spaces.  I very much enjoyed our stay at the Oregon Gardens Resort, it was a nice mix of amenities and things to do without feeling overwhelmed or guilty for missing out on things in favor of exploring the area which is a really charming town full of delicious restaurants and great antique stores.
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Ojai Valley Inn

I don’t get a lot of chances to stay in truly luxurious places. Based on my interests and the type of travel I like to do (more discovery oriented) I don’t prefer to spend all my money on a nice place to stay. Not that they aren’t wonderful, but when I travel I would rather go and do than sit and relax. But if you are a sit and relaxer, if luxury and never leaving the resort you are staying at is the type of travel you yearn for then the Ojai Valley Inn is the place for you. Location The Ojai Valley Inn sits in the western side of the Ojai Valley in Ventura County California. A short drive south from Santa Barbara and a slightly longer drive north from Los Angeles. The valley was originally populated by the Chumash Indians but in 1837 the land was granted to a cattle rancher through a Mexican land grant. Later in 1874 the land was developed into a town called Nordhoff by a wealthy business man of the same name. The town became a popular destination for individuals seeking mild weather for a variety of medical conditions and eventually became a popular place for wealthy mid-westerns to  winter over.  One such mid-westerner was Edward Drummond Libbey a wealthy glass merchant who bought up much of the rustic town and developed it as well as the country club that would later become the Ojai Valley Inn. In 1917 the renovations were complete and the town was renamed Ojai. Today it is a quiet town filled with artistic types and a common tourist destination for the rich and famous, boasting music and artists markets nearly every weekend as well as excellent hiking.  History The hotel was built in 1923 at the expense of Libbey. It like most of the town is built in the Spanish Colonial style. The architecture remains the same today but over the years it transformed from country club, to filming site (Frank Capra’s Lost Horizon) as well as a military training center for first the US Army and then the US Navy. In 1947 it turned back to private hands and was restored to a hotel and golf course. However it was fully renovated in 2004 to the beauty it is today.    Experience There is a lot to see and do in Ojai, but I will cover that in other posts as we visit the area quite often. But the resort itself has quite a bit to keep one occupied if you had no interest in exploring the little town of Ojai itself.  The resort is huge, you are delivered to your room via chaffered golf cart and the resort provides bikes to anyone who wishes to use them as it can take quite a while to walk from one end to the other, especially if you choose to walk the loop around the golf course.  The rooms them selves are huge and very luxurious, bathrobes, espresso machines, ipads, bathtubs big enough to swim in and balconies overlooking the mountains. I didn’t really want to leave the room, but we were in the area for a reason and had more important things to do than lay around (this is why I don’t stay in really nice hotels I get lazy).  The rooms are all situated in a variety of building spread across the expansive campus which also hosts five restaurants, ten event spaces, tennis, golf, the nicest workout building I have ever seen and a pool. As well as extensive actives for people off all ages from the artists cottage that hosts classes, to beekeeping demonstrations, horseback riding, culinary classes, wellness and nutrition classes, an outdoor camp for kids, the list goes on.  If you were to visit the Ojai Valley Inn you would really never have need to leave it given the extensive list of ongoing and ever changing events. The weather in the area is nearly perfect year round, the setting is beautiful and the people that work there are constantly striving to make everyone’s stay as wonderful as possible. We thoroughly enjoyed our time there and I am so happy we had a chance to experience it. 
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