"SANTA BARBARA COUNTY, CALIFORNIA" Santa Barbara by Phalaenopsis03
Santa Barbara Travel Guide: 656 reviews and 1,213 photos
Being a Californian, I've had the chance to visit Santa Barbara County (SBC) several times. My most recent visit in Nov. '06 came at the invitation of my colleague/friend, Jules D. and her mom (Mrs. D.) and sister. Mrs. D. suggested that I spend the long Thanksgiving weekend at their home in wine country. Unable to pass up a road trip and the opportunity to meet lovely new folks, I enthusiastically agreed. And I'm glad I did because I had a most fabulous time. Can't wait to come back and visit next year.
My holiday weekend up in SBC started off with a full belly as Mrs. D. made reservations for us and a few of her dearest friends to dine at the Radisson Hotel for a champagne buffet brunch. The Thanksgiving spread was quite varied and surprisingly delicious. The evening was then spent getting to know the family and listening to Mrs. D's intriguing socio-political stories. She's a great oral historian and worthy of an biography written about her.
The following day, Jules and I set out early to explore her community. We first drove through her backyard, i.e., Los Padres National Forest in an attempt to do a short hike, but that didn't quite work out. After our feeble pursuit, we got a bite to eat at Chef Ricks resto in Santa Maria. Really yummy eclectic food there. I highly recommend it. With full stomachs, we then decided to find Michael Jackson's Neverland Ranch. In so doing, we kinda got lost and ended up reaching Mount Fig (Figueroa, that is) instead. On the way back down the mountain, however, we finally spotted the entrance to the estate. Not an M.J. fan myself, but what the heck, was in the 'hood anyway.
Afterwards, we headed for the Danish community of Solvang. We got some coffee and strolled around. Entered the Solvang Antique Center and marveled at all the amazing vintage items on sale. From a $74,000 Steinway piano to a century old telephone, it was truly a fascinating store. We then thougt to do a little wine tasting, but the staff at the winery we went to were rude and so Jules said adios to that one. Instead, we hopped back in the car and headed for the Hitching Post for pre-dinner drinks. However, that was unsuccessful as well because as soon as we entered the fully packed restaurant we noticed a man down on the floor who had fainted. Thought we'd leave that alone and so proceeded to the resto a three-minutes walk away, A.J. Spurs.
To be continued.
The cities and towns that make up Santa Barbara County are listed below. Those highlighted indicate I've actually visited them.
Ballard, Buellton, Carpinteria, Casmalia, Cuyama, Goleta, Guadalupe, Hollister Ranch, Hope Ranch, Isla Vista, Lompoc, Los Alamos, Los Olivos, Mission Canyon, Mission Hills, Montecito, New Cuyama, Orcutt, Santa Barbara, Santa Maria, Santa Ynez, Solvang, Summerland, Toro Canyon, Vandenberg Air Force Base & Vandenberg Village
On this particular road trip to the Central Coast of California, it wasn't about wine-tasting or site-seeing, it was... more travel advice
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