This submit was written by Chelsea Loren, certainly one of our Professional Journey Contributors!
Tucked away within the Santa Ynez Valley, nearly an hour above Santa Barbara is among the loveliest hidden gems of California.
Whereas you will have heard of Solvang — often known as the Little Danish City, do you know that scattered across the space are quite a lot of small cities with a few of the greatest wine tasting rooms?
For those who’re on the lookout for a soothing getaway the place you may unwind, breathe within the recent air, and see part of California that probably doesn’t come up on the radar — Santa Ynez Valley, positioned on the Central Coast is for you!
Pattern delights on the native eating places (they’re huge on all the pieces being native), spend a day wandering the Danish-inspired streets of Solvang, or pattern wine from one of many 40+ tasting rooms in Los Olivos!
Right here’s a 3-day information — meant to be taken at a sluggish and leisurely tempo — of the Santa Ynez Valley, positioned on California’s Central Coast!
In regards to the Santa Ynez Valley
Whereas Napa and Sonoma often take the cake for the go-to wine spots in California, the Santa Ynez Valley shouldn’t be missed!
Plus, the area delivers allure in SPADES.
A lot of the realm was constructed within the late 1800s; the valley was a part of a 40-mile lengthy route that stagecoaches adopted from Santa Barbara to Los Olivos.
People thought the railroad was going to chop inland and convey enterprise to the realm. That didn’t find yourself taking place, nor did the locations develop from their meager beginnings, so the cities are small with stunning previous structure — it’s like taking a step again in time.
Olive Department Farm
The place to Keep
The valley has a number of totally different small cities — whereas a few of them are inside biking distance, others you’ll probably need to have a automobile to get back and forth.
So far as selecting a spot to put your head, we discovered a gorgeous VRBO — and I couldn’t advocate it sufficient! For those who’re touring with household or a gaggle of associates, this contemporary farmhouse is extraordinarily charming, plus it’s received a beautiful pool and jacuzzi.
I extremely advocate trying out Olive Branch Farm.
As a result of this journey is geared towards stress-free and taking time to actually chill, I’d extremely advocate discovering a stunning short-term rental or inn to remain at. Someplace charming to put your head!
Right here’s a fast rundown of the totally different cities within the space:
You may acknowledge this place from Sideways. The 40+ tasting rooms that dot the primary avenue of city have turned Los Olivos right into a wine lover’s mecca.
Well-known for being an Previous West stagecoach cease, this city offers you a glimpse into life again within the nineteenth century. And, that’s what I like about California! You possibly can hop from a flowery wine tasting over to an Previous West saloon very quickly.
Amongst the fields of wildflowers, you will see that the tiny city. With fewer than 500 folks, it’s not precisely hopping, however it’s received that small-town allure.
Cease to seize a chew at Gathering Desk or Bob’s Nicely Bread to mingle with the locals.
Really useful Keep: Olive Branch Farm or Ballard Inn
With slightly below 6,000 folks, Solvang is the largest city in Santa Ynez Valley. Well-known for its Danish heritage, this attractive little spot is stuffed with distinctive retailers and European-inspired structure.
Like many locations on this Central Californian area, Santa Ynez Wine Nation is known for its homegrown vintages. And, whereas the vino tends to steal the limelight, the native craft beers are effectively value sampling as effectively.
House to the well-known Andersen’s Pea Soup Place, this small city packs a robust punch relating to artisanal eateries and craft beers.
First Evening: Gathering Desk for Dinner
I implore you to spend the time and take the scenic route.
For those who’re coming in from Southern California, you may take Pacific Coast Freeway (PCH) the entire approach and take within the gorgeous views.
Planning Tip: Earlier than you go, seize these recommendations on the top stops along the Pacific Coast Highway.
No matter the place you’re coming from, I’d advocate getting in early to keep away from the visitors in the event you can swing it.
As soon as you might be settled in, head to Gathering Table in Ballard for dinner. Be warned this place is hopping although!
E book prematurely to be sure you get a desk
Day 1: Los Alamos
Head to Los Alamos to soak within the Previous West vibe. Discover the western city then cease by then 1800 Saloon. Linger over lunch or simply seize a drink and some pictures.
For those who booked a spot with a pool — that is the proper time to unwind with an area bottle of wine.
As soon as meal time rolls round, go for upscale Italian at S.Y. Kitchen. Like many native hotspots, you’ll undoubtedly need a reservation right here so plan forward.
Egg-In-a-Jar with Toast Troopers
Day 2: Bike Tour & Los Olivos
Breakfast at Bob’s Nicely Bread
For those who’re up early, recover from to Bob’s Well Bread for breakfast. It’s simply throughout from the Gathering Desk and it’s the proper spot to gas up for the day.
Nevertheless, in the event you’re in a rush — seize one thing fast to go and head off to the bike tour.
Starting in Solvang, a wine country bike tour is a dreamy method to spend a sunny afternoon. You’ll comply with the meandering paths by means of the scenic wineries then cease off in Los Olivos.
For those who like biking (or don’t thoughts it for the surroundings), I’d extremely advocate this journey. It was one of many key highlights of the journey and my complete household liked it.
Our information shared all of the ins and outs of the valley, highlighting totally different spots, and took it at our tempo. For those who’re not into scaling hills or need to take it simpler, e-bikes can be found, too!
We completed off our tour with a wine flight and an alfresco lunch. It was completely pleasant.
In fact, if in case you have little ones alongside or aren’t into the entire biking and wine factor, there are different instructions you can go together with your day.
One other fab decide is olive oil tasting in Los Olivos at Olive Hill Farm.
There was a big selection of choices and it was nice to attempt totally different pairing concepts. I particularly love discovering native specialty gadgets like this as a result of I can carry them house as souvenirs and really use them.
These olive oils at the moment are a mainstay on my salads, so it was undoubtedly value it!
For those who’re not fully crammed up on samples, make your approach down the road to have lunch at Wine Merchant Café. One other spot made well-known by the film, Sideways, this can be a good place to linger and wind down for the night.
In any case this, you’ll want a nap! Head house, order dinner, and simply unwind.
Do bear in mind prematurely that supply choices are restricted in the event you’re farther away from Solvang. For those who’re within the outskirts, plan on going out to gather your dinner.
Day 3: Solvang
You possibly can’t depart Central California with out visiting Solvang!
Begin your day by sampling the mouthwatering danish bakeries. This little city is known for its breweries, Danish-inspired structure, Danish pastries, and Ebelskivers (that are Danish pancakes that pair effectively with lingonberry jam!).
There are a selection of Danish bakeries round, so take your decide from the lot!
I discovered a cool pair of kicks at The Copenhagen House, a one-of-a-kind Danish retailer with specialty imported gadgets. They’ve all types of issues that you simply gained’t discover anyplace else outdoors of Denmark.
It’s simple to stroll round and see the city, or you’ve an choice to hire a moke automobile and romp across the streets.
That is solely the tip of the iceberg! For those who’re trying to prolong your journey round Central California, you’ll be spoilt for selection.
One in every of my private fave is San Luis Obispo. Whether or not you’re on the lookout for grassy inexperienced hills, a hip downtown space, or funky breweries, this spot ticks all the bins.
One other wine lover’s paradise, I finished by Paso Robles — and it actually shouldn’t be missed!
For those who’re able to enterprise a bit farther south, Santa Barbara is a should. One other seashore city the place you may identify your journey, you may’t go flawed right here.
Even when it’s only a pitstop, swing by the Cold Spring Tavern for breakfast. This previous stagecoach pitstop will transport you again in time.