The Perfect Vineyard Weekend in Santa Ynez Valley, California
Just two hours from Los Angeles, the Santa Ynez Valley in Santa Barbara Country is an easy escape to a wine-fueled paradise weekend. Some may recognize the destination from the cult-favorite film “Sideways,” providing its famous rolling hills backdrop. However, the region is best-known for its charming villages and wine, particularly minimal-intervention viticulture. Santa Ynez Valley has become synonymous with weekend getaway trips, with many hoteliers catering to the vineyard weekend getaway with special packages and offers.
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Where to stay
Fess Parker Wine Country Inn
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Things to do
When in the Santa Ynez Valley, you’re here for the wine. Stop by the Dierberg Star Lane Vineyards to visit the fantastic property and enjoy the views as you taste some world-class wines. The Melville Vineyards & Winery is another beautiful property. In addition to wine, they have a must-see vintage store full of classic LPs, artwork, clothing and furniture. Finally, the Riverbench Vineyard & Winery, located at the top end of the Foxen Canyon Trail, is the place to visit if you like bubbly.
The Santa Ynez Valley in Sonoma, California, consists of a few picturesque wine villages. Los Olivos is perhaps the most famous, with close to 40 wine tasting rooms within a four-block radius. While all are pretty great, the Carhartt Family Wines tasting room is unique because it is open an hour after everyone closes and plays classic rock throughout the experience. While in Los Olivos, don’t forget to stop by the Olive Hill Farm (duh!) and taste their unique olive oils and balsamic vinegar.
Solvang is a delightful little town of many curiosities. Did you need a Christmas ornament in July? You can get it here. Walk around all the wonderful little shops full of the cutest little knick knacks you didn't know you needed. Additionally, the Danish immensely influenced this region. There are ice cream shops and bakeries on every corner to satisfy that sweet tooth.
Hiking & Nature Exploration
Need to walk off some of the wine? The Nojoqui Falls Trail is a 1/4 mile tree-lined trail to an Instagram-worthy waterfall. Gaviota Peak is another hiking destination. It is the tallest peak in the region. With stunning views of the Valley and the Pacific Ocean, it is a must for exploring the area.
Solvang Farmers Market happens every Wednesday
Los Olivos Jazz & Olive Festival happens in June
Solvang is known for its Independence Day, July 4th, Festivities
The Buellton BBQ Bonanza takes place in July
Solvang Wheels’ N Windmills Car Show happens in August
Solvang Danish Days takes place in September
Los Alamos Old Days Festival happens in September
Eat & drink
Bar Le Côte: Stylish seafood tavern serving local catch-of-the-day in Los Olivos, California.
Bob's Well Bread: Standing room-style breakfast with delicious freshly-baked bread and cold brew nitro coffee.
Ballard Inn Restaurant: A true hidden gem featuring internally-inspired cuisine and delectable local wines.
S.Y. Kitchen: This local spot can compete with any big-city restaurant for quality and experience, featuring locally-sourced, creative dishes.
Maverick Saloon: After a long day drinking wine, this is the spot to put on your cowboy boots and have a beer with all the locals. This "cowboy bar" sports live music, dancing and a lot of fun.
Industrial Eats: This restaurant and butcher shop features a little bit of everything with craft butcher meats and enough food for a feast. Come hungry!
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