Hubs and I got off the plane in Santa Barbara, California last Friday afternoon and giggled out loud. How do they stand it?? The weather, I mean. It was absolutely glorious! A soft coastal breeze blowing and it was about 65 degrees outside. Seriously. How do they stand it?
The Santa Barbara Airport (www.flysba.com) is marvelously small. The Spanish Mediterranean exterior fits in admirably with the architecture you'll find throughout Santa Barbara. There are just a few gates, a few places to snack, and the friendliest people you'll find in any small airport in the country. Even the people at Budget Rent-a-Car were uber-helpful. As you can see, the airport looks almost like a country club!
We were in town for a wedding - the wedding of the year, in our humble opinion. Our very dear friends' daughter was married on a hilltop outside Los Olivos, California. Romantic, graceful, rustic, and just plain beautiful. No pics to share, but I can tell you that it was magical.
Friday night found us at Mattei's Tavern in Los Olivos for a pre-wedding happy hour. I'd return to this place in a hot second. Great vibe out back with a cool little Tab trailer holding the cocktails, expert service, a good fire glowing in a giant kettle, bean bag toss, and bocce ball as well. This is a perfect location for a rehearsal dinner, party, even a wedding reception I bet. A quaint establishment and easy to find in the heart of Los Olivos. Check them out further at www.matteistavern.com.
We stayed the weekend at the Marriott in Buellton. There are tons of choices when staying in this area, but this Marriott is centrally located and that's what we needed. Spacious, clean rooms throughout and a welcoming atmosphere everywhere we turned. You can rent bikes here, stroll through town, hire a driver to visit the wineries, or just relax. The breakfast buffet wasn't too bad either (www.marriott.com.) These pinot noir grapes were growing beside the hotel, as was the gorgeous yellow rosebush (there were hundreds of blooms!)
Saturday morning found us out for a walk - hell, the weather was amazing! We circled the little downtown area of Buellton for about an hour or so.
Have you ever seen the Sleepy Hollow Motel??
We've never noticed it before. Cute name.
Or how about Andersen's for Split Pea Soup and a good night's rest? This place is so adorable!
Can't resist taking our pictures as Ha'Pea and Swee'Pea either!
The village of Solvang beckoned after breakfast and we happily strolled about the town. We've been here many many times and enjoyed the food, the shopping, and sunshine. Rocky Mountain Chocolate Factory (one of the first national stores) is still hopping 32 years after our first visit here. We had to pop in for a piece of chocolate and you should too. They're right on Copenhagen (the main shopping street) or on their website at http://rmcf.com/CA/Solvang50032/. We made a few shopping stops into some cute little dress and souvenir shops, but came out big when we visited the Thomas Kinkade Gallery. Thanks Jeff for the lovely canvas!! It's going to hang nicely in our living room.
Exhausted from all that shopping, we headed over to Figueroa Mountain Brewing Company for a frosty adult beverage. Love that place. The aroma of fresh hops smacked us in the face as we entered - delish! They were brewing and stirring and adding hops to one of their tanks and it smelled like a beer bakery in there. Lots of choices on tap here, but no food to speak of. There was a hot dog cart out front and some bagged potato chips to snack on. No worries for us, but be forewarned - we loved it here.
The wedding was Saturday afternoon and evening and as I said before it was truly magnificent. There are brides, and then there are brides! I can only compare this lovely young woman to Grace Kelly in her gorgeous gown and ethereal veil that danced in the breeze behind her. The setting was out at Zaca Creek Ranch, near the mid-point of the ranch. No idea how this locale was found, but it was a gem. Great food, great music, great friends, great wedding.
Sunday morning found us up and out pretty early as we had heard about a place called Jeannine's in downtown Santa Barbara. Our friends from Yelp were so right - it was fantastic! Jeannine's is on State Street in a little strip mall. Again, the scent of freshly baked pastries was all around us. Scones, cinnamon rolls, cookies, fruit tarts, all looked delectable. We settled on fresh fruit bowls with Salmon Eggs Benedict smothered in a dilly Hollandaise. Oh, and we shared a scone and some almond hot cocoa. Wow. Can't wait to get back to Santa Barbara to sample another little smidgen of something tasty. You should head over there directly! Check them out at www.jeannines.com for bakery and restaurant information.
Jeff suggested the Santa Barbara Zoo for a walk following breakfast and I thought it a magnificent idea. I love zoos and this one is a pure delight. It's clean, spacious, and easy to navigate. We spent a few hours here catching up with some of our favorite zoo animals and learned a few things from the keepers too. This zoo is very ecologically minded with helpful tips at every encounter that encourage us to be kinder to our local environments and the global world we inhabit. Loved it and loved the animals too! Check 'em out.
That baby giraffe was too darn cute.
Our short weekend came to an end so quickly, but we loved every minute of it. Can't wait to get back to this area sometime soon and bask in the ocean breeze. We have some friends who when asked about retirement mention the Santa Barbara area. Great idea I think... I hope they do.
Until next time - wherever the road may take you...