The Grand Canyon. Bora Bora. Ipanema and Greece. On the list of the world's top sunsets, Ojai rarely makes the cut. Yet, when I saw the sky on my birthday, it was a Monet masterpiece.

Locals call it the "pink moment" -- this phenomenon where the sky takes on a soft, amaranthine glow at dusk. Unlike most sunsets, this one comes from the east, where the Topatopa Mountains act like a mirror to reflect and diffuse the orb's light over Ojai Valley in Ventura County. As if touched by the brush of God, the colors combine to stir the soul.

Or not. My college-aged son chose to forgo the sunset in favor of the Fantasy Football draft -- so he planted himself in a sports bar while I drove to a scenic overlook.

A Google search of Ojai's "pink moment" led me to

a place called Meditation Mount -- a spiritual retreat center about 5 miles from town. I'd been warned that the gates could be locked, but they were wide open when I got there, so I followed the road to the top.

The light show had already started. Nature has her own agenda. I walked along a path to the west, past lush gardens and a reflective pond. A handful of people had staked out their space -- some on benches and some standing on rock outcroppings. The sky turned gold, then soft purple and for a fleeting moment -- dusky pink. It was, in a word, divine.

Later that evening, my son and I returned to our room at the Emerald Iguana -- a two-bedroom cottage set among live oak and sycamore trees with a hot tub and pool. Under a canopy of stars, we talkedabout Fantasy Football and

anciful sunsets and other sweet offerings of life. We were mother and son -- so very different -- yet there was something on which we agreed. We weren't leaving without a massage.

Ojai is known as a spa town. Less than 90 miles from central Los Angeles, its reputation as a haven for health draws an eclectic mix of artists, outdoor lovers and movie stars. Name a spa treatment, and they have it, along with a wide range of prices.

We booked treatments at New Leaf, a boutique spa set back on a main street known for its Mission Revival architecture. The prices were modest, by resort standards, and the client reviews were strong. My son had a one-hour Swedish massage and I had a relaxing facial. It was an hour of shear bliss for both of us. And true to our nature, he dreamed about football and I dreamed of pink pastel sunsets.

What are your favorite local adventures? Drop me a line, and I'll share them with readers. You can reach me at ginnyprior@hotmail.com or online at www.ginnyprior.com.

FYI
Meditation Mount: http://meditationmount.org/
Emerald Iguana Inn: http://www.emeraldiguana.com/
New Leaf Skin Care, Spa and Boutique: http://www.newleafojai.com/