A few weeks ago my parents came to town from the East Coast, so we hopped in the car for a day trip to Santa Barbara! None of us had been before, and we were eager to drive up the coast. Santa Barbara is a beautiful waterfront town, lined with boats and seafood restaurants. We took a walk down Stearns Wharf, getting great views of the ocean and Santa Barbara behind us, albeit the low-hanging fog. Walking directly off the Wharf you find yourself on State Street, where we enjoyed the old Mediterranean architecture that had been turned into boutique style shops and wine tasting rooms.
We then made our way up to the Santa Barbara Mission, a Spanish mission that was founded in 1786 as a home for the Franciscan friars. Chalk art decorates the front of the ancient church, advertising local business or causes. Venturing further up away from the ocean, the temperatures were spiking and the fog was dissipating.
We decided to drive further up into the Santa Ynez Valley toward wine country and the adorable Danish village of Solvang. At this point, it was well over 100 degrees and we sought solace from the heat by wandering into tasting rooms and danish bakeries.
We happened upon Lucas & Lewellen, where we met Mr. Lucas himself, who taught us about his recent experimentations and awards. We walked out with an incomparable bottle of Cabernet, grabbed a cheese danish and ventured further into the valley.
We found ourselves in Los Olivos at the hidden grove of Beckman Vineyards. A family owned and operated vineyard with a gorgeous wine tasting location amid their 25 acres of grape vines. Their bigger winery of 365 acres is further down the road, which supplies them with a different climate and soil to develop a wide range of grape types. We hid in the shade, tasting wine on their deck until they closed.
Returning to the the Santa Barbara harbor, we grabbed seafood and a bottle of Lucas & Lewellan at Chuck's Waterfront Grill as the sun went down.
Santa Barbara was a great escape from Los Angeles, as there's so much to do, even with just 24 hours. I can't wait to go back!