Labor Day Weekend was hot, let me tell you that. With excessive heat warnings and temperatures around the 115 degree mark, all I can say is oy! Not knowing of just how hot a weekend it would turn out to be, a last minute trip to the Santa Ynez Valley was already in the works, so off we went according to our plan. Having visited Santa Barbara and Ojai many times, the Santa Ynez Valley was unfamiliar and new territory. Around 125 miles from Los Angeles, it makes for an easy road trip. Santa Ynez Valley is compiled of little towns: Santa Ynez, Los Olivos, and Solvang. It is most known for the vineyards and wineries, sweet little shops, and delicious farm-to-table restaurants. While it was truly too excruciatingly hot to do a whole lot besides explore the town, stay cool by the pool, and eat, drink and be merry, I would love to come back in the cooler months to explore a little further. And as indicative of my last pumpkin photo : fall is on the way! See my recommendations below.
SY Kitchen — A standout restaurant, so delicious we went back for two dinners! Modern Italian fare set in a California farmhouse. Recommendations include the truffle pizza, burrata and prosciutto di parma, one of their seasonal salads, pasta with short rib ragu, and their lamb shank, rib eye, and branzino were all fantastic. The seasonal cocktails were divine and if you are lucky, get the waiter Junio for outstanding recommendations.
Sides Hardware & Shoes — The building was originally founded in 1901, the cozy and tasty restaurant offers casual comfort food. Their homemade thick cut bacon is not to be missed!
Los Olivos General Store — A lovely boutique specializing in home goods, childrens books and toys, and gourmet treats. I brought home bottles of Los Olives Chili Olive Oil, as well as jars of Santa Ynez Sage Blossom Honey as gifts!
The Landsby — A modern, scandinavian style boutique hotel with 50 rooms located in Solvang. Beautifully designed with a courtyard, lovely restaurant Mad & Vin, and delectable happy hour (don’t miss the sparkling brut and duck fat fries!)
Fess Parker Inn — This recently renovated hotel was located in Los Olivos. It offers a pool, small spa, and restaurant The Bear and The Star. A good location to be able to walk right into town.
Vinos Vaqueros Horseback Riding —I am beyond disappointed we didn’t get to do this because of the heat! They offer sunset horse back riding with a wine tasting at the end!
Clairmont Farms — While the lavender was past season when we visited, this a lavender farm you can visit to have a picnic, visit their little shop, or stop for a lavender lemonade.