9902 Sulphur Mountain Road
Ojai, CA 93023-9375

Phone: 805-640-0000


Wednesday-Sunday: Noon to 5:00 p.m.
Monday & Tuesday: Closed


Buzz & Ginger Glasky


Sam Ervin, Preident
Ron Holsey, Vice President
Ursula Reinhart, Treasurer
Jim Whitson, Director
Richard Mannis, Director


Margaret Magnus, Secretary

9902 Sulphur Mountain Rd
Ojai, CA, 93023
United States

(805) 640-0000

Story Blog

Anecdotes, activities and stories about Meher Mount - past, present and future.

The Topa Topa Patio Takes Advantage of the Views

Margaret Magnus

By Margaret Magnus

When Avatar Meher Baba visited Meher Mount in 1956, He gestured toward the outdoors and said:

“Now, go out and see the view and try to love Baba through nature. This is all due to my love. This whole creation, this nature, all the beauty you see, all came out of me.”

THE TOPA TOPA BLUFFS as viewed from Meher Mount. (Brad Spurr photo.)


To honor this directive and to provide a dedicated gathering spot and outdoor picnic area both for group events and individual visitors, Meher Mount built the Topa Topa Patio.

Meher Mount is blessed with a panoramic 360-degree view of nature. At the 2,500-foot level atop Sulphur Mountain, Meher Mount overlooks the beautiful Ojai Valley backed by Chief Mountain on the north, the Pacific Ocean and Channel Islands to the southwest, the Topa Topa Bluff in the Los Padres National Forest on the northeast, and the Santa Clara River Valley and Ventura/Oxnard Plain to the south.

The site of the Topa Topa Patio takes advantage of one of Meher Mount’s views and directly looks out across the Ojai Valley to the Topa Topa Bluffs – famous for their “pink moment” at sunset when the 6,200-foot cliffs turn pink. Sometimes, in winter they are snow capped and provide another breathtaking scene.

THE 6,200-FOOT TOPA TOPA BLUFFS as seen from Meher Mount after a winter storm. (Brad Spurr photo.)


The idea for the patio first came about when the Board was planning for the Workshop. An early concept called for a workshop/garage built into the side of the hill with a rooftop patio in view of the Bluffs. That concept proved to be too expensive, but the idea of a patio with a view of the mountains stuck.

AN EARLY DRAWING of a workshop/garage with a roof-top patio. The concept was too expensive, but led to the idea of building a patio with views of the Topa Topa Bluffs. (Byron Pinckert conceptual drawing.)

When the plans for the Workshop changed, the plans for the patio evolved also. Building the patio adjacent to the new Workshop became the most practical and cost-effective solution. This site also provided excellent views of the Topa Topa Bluffs - after which the patio is named.

THE TOPA TOPA PATIO is adjacent to the Workshop providing an ideal spot to take advantage of the views plus the practical consideration of storage and electricity provided by the Workshop. (Byron Pinckert conceptual drawing.)


Before the patio, visitors shared the inside kitchen with the Manager/Caretakers. It worked, barely; but, it was inconvenient for everyone. In addition, there was not a natural and easy place to hold group teas or potluck lunches. Finally, individual visitors did not have a readily available spot for a picnic.

With the patio, all can gather outside and create everything from feasts to snacks. The location next to the workshop provides for easy access to supplies and equipment, thus, giving the area maximum flexibility and efficiency.


In addition to providing an outdoor gathering place and providing a picnic area to showcase the natural beauty of Meher Mount, the Board wanted to build a facility in keeping with other structures at Meher Mount.

THE TOPA TOPA PATIO extends from the Workshop creating a visualy cohesive and practical set of structures that enhance the visitor's experience at Meher Mount. (Leslie Bridger photo, 2012.)

The patio needed to blend into the landscape as much as feasible with a low profile on the land; have a natural look and feel; take into consideration the harsh conditions at Meher Mount, including the heat, cold, wind, sun, and and fire; and take into consideration termites, rats and mice, and the continual presence of pests.

The materials followed the pattern set by the Workshop: sandstone-colored, split-face and scored concrete block. The trellis is made of wood and steel was painted the same color at the Workshop roof. Together, the Topa Topa Patio and Workshop create a visually cohesive addition to Meher Mount.

THE PATIO TRELLIS is painted the same color at the Workshop roof to visually unify the structures. (Leslie Bridger photo, April 2013.) 


Some years earlier when the pharmaceutical company Amgen moved its offices in Ventura County, Meher Mount received a donation of a large, industrial sink. The sink was stored on the property in anticipation of finding the right permanent home to use for picnics and potlucks. The design of the patio took into consideration use of that sink and counter top.

THE INDUSTRIAL SINK and counter top, salvaged from Amgen when it was moving its offices, fit perfectly into the design and use of the Topa Topa Patio. (Sam Ervin photo, 2012.)


In 2008 a supporter liked the idea of the patio so much, he started a building fund with a $5,000 donation. That year, the theme of the Annual Fund campaign was the Topa Topa Patio. Donors received a Meher Mount apron with the newly adopted logo on it as a "thank you."

THE MEHER MOUNT WORK APRON helped kick-off the campaign to raise funds fro the Topa Topa Patio. It had two large pockets, an adjustable neck strap, tie waist, and the Meher Mount logo silk-screened on the front. It was provided by a donor who assumed all the costs of the apron, including shipping.

As soon as the Workshop was completed in May 2012, another donor stepped forward to add $15,000 to the Topa Topa Patio fund. With $20,000 in the bank, the Board authorized construction to begin in September 2012.

CONSTRUCTION for the Topa Topa Patio finally gets underway in September 2012, more than four years after the initial plan was conceived the for the patio. (Leslie Bridger photo, 2012.)

The architect and general contractor donated their time and services and with Manager/Caretaker Leslie Bridger supervising. Within months, the Topa Topa Patio was ready to receive visitors.

MAJOR CONSTRUCTION IS COMPLETED on the Topa Topa Patio in December 2012. The Topa Topa Bluffs are in the background. (Leslie Bridger photo, 2012.)


The inaugural event for the newly constructed Topa Topa Patio was a Gutta Breakfast hosted by Fred Stankus and Gigi Driessen on December 8, 2012. 

THE GUTTA BREAKFAST starts with breakfast and continues with the discussion of Avatar Meher Mount and His words and life. Hosted by Fred Stankus and Gigi Driessen, this was the first event on the newly completed patio. (Byron Pinckert, December 2012.)

The Gutta Breakfast is an opportunity to share insights, ask questions, and discuss Avatar Meher Baba and His life and words.

The event started with a breakfast provided by Fred Stankus and Gigi Driessen, a former Meher Mount Board member. After breakfast, Fred led a heartfelt discussion of selected passages from Lord Meher, the multi-volume account of Avatar Meher Baba's life by Bhau Kalchuri, one of Meher Baba's close disciples.


After the initial completion of the patio, Manager/Caretaker Leslie Bridger worked to complete the finishing touches including adding a bamboo covering over the trellis to provide shade until vines could be planted.

In May 2014, Meher Mount received a $3,000 grant to complete the project with landscaping and lights.


A thank you to the team that moved the project forward to completion: Sam Ervin (chair), Byron Pinckert (architect), Dusttin Paren (contractor), Leslie Bridger (manager/caretaker), and Margaret Magnus (fund raising).

DISCUSSING THE PLANS AND ACTUAL CONSTRUCTION are Sam Ervin (chair), Byron Pinckert (architect), Dusttin Paren (contractor), and Leslie Bridger (manager/caretaker). (Margaret Magnus photo, 2012.)


Meher Prabhu: Lord Meher, The Biography of the Avatar of the Age, Meher Baba, by Bhau Kalchuri, "Manifestation, Inc.", 1986. Copyright (c) Avatar Meher Baba Perpetual Public Trust.