The Oaks at Ojai: Southern California Oasis

by Nancy Mueller
( October 17th, 2014 )

Santa Barbara Airport

Oh my, Ojai. Seeking new adventures and respite from my crazy-busy schedule, I headed to sunny southern California for a quick escape last May. A good friend had recommended The Oaks at Ojai as the perfect getaway sanctuary for rest, relaxation and exploration.

Santa Barbara

After a connecting flight in San Francisco, I arrived at the Santa Barbara Airport for my reserved shuttle to Ojai. Any trip that begins with sunny blue skies, warm breezes, palm trees and a welcoming driver is off to a promising start. Meandering the backroads to our destination showcased the stunning local landscape against the backdrop of the Santa Ynez mountain range.

The Oaks at Ojai

Upon arrival, just a brief glance and walk around the premises convinced me that I’d be very happy here for the next few days.

The Oaks at Ojai Entry

From the spa resort entry, to my own private courtyard . . .

The Oaks at Ojai Courtyard

that opened to my quiet haven . . .

The Oaks at Ojai Accommodations

After reviewing the wide range of activities offered during my stay, I opted to start off the next day with the 7:30AM morning stroll. An early riser, I’m used to starting my day anytime between 4:30AM and 5:30AM so I saw no need to set my alarm the night before. Oops. I woke up at 7:45AM. Happily off the hook for my walk, I chose to lounge a little longer in my cocoon before heading off to breakfast.

The Oaks at Ojai Swimming Pool

After my unintended sleep-in, I could easily see why so many guests of The Oaks at Ojai are repeat visitors. Such peaceful, unpretentious surroundings create a mindful approach to self-care. Whether you want to unplug, relax and recharge, shed stress and soak up the sun, or boost fitness through rigorous activity, the destination resort offers total comfort and support.

The Oaks at Ojai Salad

Owner Sheila Cluff founded The Oaks at Ojai to inspire guests on a path of healthful living based on her own successful career in figure skating, motivational speaking and entrepreneurship. Her mantra is “Keep moving” because “What’s the point of becoming successful and retired if you’re not fit to enjoy it?” Cluff says. Still, “Chronologically enriched guests only have to go as fast as your slowest part here.”

As a fitness expert and trailblazer in the spa industry, Cluff advocates a holistic approach to health and well-being as evidenced by the quality of programming on site.

The Oaks at Ojai Fitness Equipment

Activities range from gentle morning stretches, yoga and aqua classes to cardio, Pilates, hiking and dance. Life classes cover fun topics like handwriting analysis or thought-provoking discussions of personal journeys, reinvention and nutrition.

Wondering how you, too, can enjoy a wellness week/weekend at The Oaks at Ojai? Check out the Calendar of Events to explore the options for planning your own solo adventure, mom/daughter, girlfriend or his and her getaway.

Wander on!


Some, though not all, of my costs were covered by my host.

What’s most appealing about a stay at The Oaks for you, wanderboomers?





Add a comment

Wander the Whidbey (Washington) Art Trail

by Nancy Mueller
( September 22nd, 2014 )

With more than 300 artists living and making their art on Whidbey Island, how could I pass up the chance to share a few more photos from my driving tour along the Whidbey Art Trail?

Whidbey Island

 From flameware . . .

Artists Megan Bray and Mike Wise

to jewelry and painting . . .

Anne Niles Davenport Artist

weaving . . .

Robert Adamson Island Art Glass Artist

and glass art . . .

the Whidbey Art Trail offers an abundance of creative possibilities.

Ready for your own art excursion? Here a few tips to make the most of your visit:

* Although the tour is open year-round, it pays to call ahead if you want to meet particular resident artists at play in their creative space.

* Check out artists’ profiles and print out a trail map to plan your visit or pick one up on the Washington State Ferries’ Clinton/Mukilteo and Coupeville/Pt. Townsend routes.

* Feel free to ask the artists about their creative process, how they got their start, etc. You can even ask to try your own hand at an art-making technique.

* Take a break from the trail with a stop at Spoiled Dog Winery or Whidbey Island Distillery. End your day with Happy Hour and a bite to eat at Fraser’s Gourmet Hideaway in Oak Harbor or Coupeville’s Captain Whidbey’s Inn.

* Want to make this a weekend or weekday getaway? Whidbey Camano Islands offers a variety of lodging suggestions to meet your needs.

For more fun with wine, spirits and art, visit November 8 & 9 for Autumn on Whidbey.

Wander on!


*Many thanks to the artists along the Whidbey Art Trail and our Whidbey Island hosts for my arts & culture fix!

How do you express your inner artist, wanderboomers?


Where Artists Play: Whidbey Island, Washington

by Nancy Mueller
( September 15th, 2014 )

Pacific Northwest Art School

Whidbey Island, Washington prides itself as “a community that loves the arts.” Spectacular panoramic vistas of land and sea, natural habitats and abundant wildlife invite artists to stay for a day or a lifetime. Art galleries, studio tours, hands-on classes, and special events abound, inspiring creative expression as a way of life.

Just follow the Whidbey Art Trail, a self-guided, free studio tour of local artists, to see for yourself. After all, what’s more inspiring than watching artists at play in their creative space?

Mary Ellen O'Connor Artist

Listen to artists explain their creative process as they demonstrate a work in progress. Observe their rituals. Or simply soak up the energy in the indoor or outdoor studio environment. You can’t help but feel energized to explore the island and your own creative imagination.

Linnane Armstrong Artist

Celebrating its fourth year in 2014, The Whidbey Art Trail features local artists with a passion for printmaking, painting, pottery and photography as well as jewelry making, sculpture, glassblowing, weaving and woodworking.

Rob Schouten Studio

Pick up a few tips for your own creative projects, converse with the artists or become the happy owner of original, beautiful art to enrich your travel experience and support the local economy.

Dig deeper into the Whidbey art experience with a visit to an art gallery like Penn Cove Gallery in Coupeville or Rob Schouten Gallery at historic Greenbank Farm. Want to brush up on your photography skills? Invite a few friends, enroll in a class and bring out your inner artist.

Kim Tinuviel Photographer

For more information on Whidbey’s love of the arts, visit:

Whidbey Art Trail

Whidbey Life Magazine

Pacific Northwest Art School

Northwest Institute of Literary Arts

Sue Taves Artist

Wander on!


What’s your favorite art experience, wanderboomers? Share with us here.

Contact Us · About · WanderTales · Advertise · Bhutan Tours · WanderBlogs· WanderTips · WanderGear · Newsletter · WanderGallery · Buy Solo Book · Buy India Book · Book Reviews · Book Signings · Workshops · Speaking · Media · News · Images · Copyright & Privacy · Site Map