- Our luxurious bathing amenities are made in the USA by William Roam, a company with a tenacious commitment to protecting the earth.
- Our new coffee and tea trays have been hand crafted by a local carpenter using primarily reclaimed wood.
- All hand soap, sponges, trash bags, laundry detergent and dish soap are sourced from recognized eco-friendly companies.
Summer in the Valley provides a plethora of outdoor activities, including wine tasting, brewery tours, equestrian events, summer celebrations, farmers markets, and even cool restaurants to check out. You may have to visit the Valley more than once to really get a taste of what it has to offer!
Schedule Your Vacation to Santa Ynez
Not sure of what to do on your vacation? We’ve got some suggestions! Beer lovers can beat the heat and party at the Figueroa Mountain Brewery, and find the humor in life at the brewery’s comedy night.
Summer Arts in the Valley
Theatre and film enthusiasts alike can get lost in fairy tale land at a musical performance under the California stars at the Solvang Festival Theater or screen a movie at the Buellton Oak Park in Solvang. Fans of visual art can browse the finest local art available at the museum, and even purchase local Santa Ynez Valley art the second Saturday of every month. Dance a little and blow some bubbles with your little ones during kid-friendly Music on the Green in Solvang.
Food and Drink
With all of the picturesque vineyards in the area, you’d be amiss not to sample some of the finest local wines of the Valley. Pick out your favorite fresh fruits and vegetables at the Farmers market to plan a great picnic.
Indulge in a handcrafted cocktail at the S.Y. Kitchen, or engage in the best people watching with some great food. The Farmstead allows visitors to forage for fruit for a rewarding experience and have Chef Jake Francis prepare it. Think “gourmet hot dogs” is an oxymoron? Think again! The Doggy Door in Los Olivos is perfect for all ages and attitudes. Wake up and get your caffeine fix at our coffee shop in the Valley.
R&R in the Valley
Take a drive through pristine central coast hill country to a remote Santa Barbara County beach with the world’s best burger.
Spend the day in Los Alamos digging for funky finds, tasting wine, and eating at the hippest new restaurants. Book a massage therapist or get needled by an acupuncturist to deepen your vacation relaxation, many of whom will go right up to your door.
The Great Outdoors
Rent a bicycle and get route tips from the pros, or live out your Old West fantasies at Vino Vaqueros — with wine, of course. Hike a local favorite, Figueroa Mountain, or just turn the A/C on and take the “long way” from Los Olivos to Santa Ynez through the mountains. Get a bird’s eye view of the Valley in a hot air balloon ride. If you’re getting out (or staying in) and getting active, go for some paddle boarding, surfing, kayaking or indoor rock climbing. Pet owners can take their pups to the only Santa Barbara Country off-leash dog beach around to play with his/her peers.
The Valley is a haven of summertime fun, adventure, and relaxation. For suggestions or to book a home in the heart of it all, contact us today!
The weather forecast may be no indication, but the fact is that autumn has arrived in the Santa Ynez Valley. The Celebration of Harvest Festival marked the closing of the Central Coast’s most prominent harvest: that of wine grapes. While the wine industry may be slowing down, other local harvests are just amping up.
The Bounty of Local Valley Harvests
The bounty of the Central Coast presents itself in countless ways. Farm stands dot most major roadways in the Valley. Some, like Finley Farms on Refugio Rd., operate on the small town honor system where you weigh your own produce and deposit money in a rusted metal depository. Others, like Summerset Farms on Edison St. at Hwy 154, are full service, offering an opportunity to engage in the season with colorful pumpkins and U-Pick apple orchards. Some local farms don’t sell directly to the public but rather distribute to local grocery stores and restaurants.
If you’re dining at one of our favorite local restaurants, you’re likely to be enjoying food grown from soil just a few miles down the road. Many visitors to the Santa Ynez Valley are members of local wine clubs and attend annual post-harvest winemaker dinners. These events are where visitors can truly begin to appreciate the intersection of both the wine and farming industries which are so deeply embedded in our community.
Intimate Private Fall Dinner Gatherings
One of our favorite ways to celebrate the autumn harvest is by hosting an intimate private dinner at home or in your vacation rental. In a community so full of farmers and winemakers it’s only natural that chefs congregate to assist in bringing the Central Coast’s bounty from field to plate. There are many talented chefs in the Santa Ynez Valley: two of whom bring unparalleled expertise, ingenuity and charm to every occasion.
Chef Jake O. Francis
When seeking a chef to craft an inspired menu utilizing local produce for a winemaker dinner, many winery owners enlist Jake O. Francis, both a heritage breed pig farmer and incredibly skilled chef. His depth of understanding the farming process from start to finish is apparent in his rustic yet refined approach, and showcasing locally grown and raised produce and meat. Chef Jake has left many of our guests eager to plan another dinner party with him again, just take a look at this menu he did for some of our past guests.
Chef Giorgio Curti
Hailing from Calabria, Italy, Chef Giorgio Curti brings global inspiration to his locally sourced menu items through both his Los Alamos restaurant Craft Kitchen and Amaranto Catering Co. This year he’s offering to cook and deliver Thanksgiving dinners anywhere in the Valley. That means no fussin’ and fightin’ with family in the kitchen! We love this idea and think many of our Thanksgiving guests will enjoy the utter convenience of dinner delivered to your door.
Temperatures during the beautiful summer months in Santa Ynez are inclined to creep steadily towards the triple digits. Many find this an opportunity to throw on a summer dress and take advantage of the dozens of fine wineries in the area; slowly sipping their way up the Foxen Wine Trail or down Grand Avenue in Los Olivos. Others, when the temperatures hit supreme, find the heat oppressive and rather uncomfortable. Here, we’ve compiled a list of our favorite “cool” summer hang outs, some of them only the locals know about.
After traveling 14 miles off of Hwy 1 down rural, winding Jalama Road you may be surprised to arrive at this incredible secluded place with outstanding views, miles of beach and prehistoric bluffs to enjoy. Once a Chumash settlement called “Halama” (this is still how you pronounce the name), the land was donated in 1943 to the County of Santa Barbara. Since then it has provided respite to those looking to enjoy California beaches without the chaotic crowds. Grab a burger and fries at the general store (my favorite burger on the Central Coast) then take a long walk south to the point and watch the surfers; bring a blanket or a jacket as it tends to get quite windy in the late afternoon.
Santa Ynez River
It’s best to consider the Santa Ynez River as a large creek in a vast, dry riverbed with pools gathering every mile or so. Red Rock, about a 1/3-mile hike at the end of Paradise Road, is one of the largest and most popular swimming holes along the Santa Ynez River. Further up the river bed are a few smaller, quieter swimming holes ideal for picnics and long afternoons dithering between lounging in the sun and dipping in the cool waters.
More accessible are the small swimming holes dotted along the western part of the river, running directly through the Santa Ynez Valley. After the first few rains, when the weather is still warm, these waters are cool, clean, and much closer to town. Some easy access points are near the bridges at Refugio Road and Alisal Road, and some good swimming holes are found when walking the river bed between the two bridges. Please be aware of your surroundings when in the wilderness, especially water sources, and never venture out alone. We live closely with wildlife here.
Grassini Family Vineyards
The Grassini Family Vineyards are some of the most splendid grounds in the entire Santa Ynez Valley. A grand old oak provides shade for the picnic tables sitting on the banks of a small lake. The lake is actually a reservoir so it’s incredibly clean, and also filled with bass for catch & release. This special place truly feels like a lush oasis during the dry, golden months of summer. The caveat here: the grounds are private. However, you can rent the site for a fee, so if you’ve come to Santa Ynez with a large group to celebrate something special, I’d suggest checking out Grassini Family Vineyards. Plus, they make some real fine wines.
Figueroa Mountain Tap Room
Throughout the world, indulging in a frosty pint of beer is the preferred way to cool off; consider it no different here. Figueroa Mountain Brewery’s tap room tucked away on Alamo Pintado Avenue in Los Olivos offers a reprieve from the sweltering sun. Chill with the locals over a mug of Hoppy Poppy or Paradise Road Pilsner in this funky, vibrant, air conditioned tap room.
The easiest and simplest way to cool off in Santa Ynez? Rent one of our many homes with a backyard pool and spa. There’s nothing quite like mixing your own margaritas with family and friends, then walking the 10 yards from kitchen to poolside.
Spring is a time of new beginnings, celebrating life and birth.
In recent weeks, Santa Ynez Valley has brilliantly erupted with color. Wildflowers paint the rolling hills in shades of mustard, orange, and violet. Local restaurants are hauling in cartons of locally foraged tomatoes for their seasonal menus. In the barns along the country roads, clumsy piglets are taking their eager first steps. Spring has arrived. Each year our magnificent planet reminds us of life’s cyclical nature, and we have an opportunity to celebrate with both the Spring Equinox and Easter fast approaching.
To our surprise, the property that is most befitting of Easter’s spirit is still available. Folded Hills Ranch, nestled among 600 rolling green acres between Nojoqui Falls Park and the Gaviota Pass, is the idyllic estate to hold your annual Easter gathering. The home is reminiscent of a gracious, old world plantation home that’s been classically restored with modern amenities. Thoughtfully styled, a distinct charm radiates throughout the home and the three surrounding private cottages. Folded Hills Ranch sleeps 18 people. You can rest assured you can bring the whole family, and likely more.
Here, you can turn Easter into an entertaining and educational experience for the little ones. We can make arrangements for Santino, the groundskeeper and livestock manager, to introduce each member of the Folded Hills Ranch farm animal family (goats, emus, llamas, pigs, mules, cows, etc.) to your family, including the newest arrival Judy, the baby Sicilian donkey. My goodness, is she cute! By the time Easter rolls around though, who knows how many other tiny, new creatures will be gracing the acres of Folded Hills Ranch? Santino will also assist you in gathering freshly laid eggs from heritage hens. These eggs are already colorful, but with a few dips of (natural) food coloring would be ready for one of the grandest Easter egg hunts we can imagine.
Just down the road, adjacent to the Folded Hills Ranch is the Farmstead, a truly delightful representation of organic farming on the Central Coast. You’ll find the soil here is bursting with life. Take advantage of the food voucher you will receive upon arriving to Folded Hills Ranch. Grab a basket and head to the fields to harvest your own beets, chard, and the first strawberries of the season. The team here at Santa Ynez Vacation Rentals has spent many afternoons lunching at the Farmstead barn and have fallen in love with the animals, the vibrantly fresh produce, and the irrepressible smiles of the farmers, Abel and Eliberto. Check out all that the Farmstead has to offer HERE.
Play a post-Easter egg hunt game of croquet on the 16 pristine grass acres, and spend the afternoon fishing on the 2.5-acre lake. Later, enjoy a lunch of your freshly caught large-mouth bass or catfish on the expansive sun dock with a shaded entertaining area and full wet bar. If you’re keen to get some exercise during your holiday, hit the tennis court with your most competitive family member, jump on the paddle board in the lake, take a swim in the saltwater pool, or guide the family on a hike through one of the meandering forest trails. Unwind around the outdoor fire pit after dinner where you can share stories over a glass of wine before heading your separate ways to fall asleep to the sounds of a country night.
All that I’ve mentioned here is included in the price of your stay. Additionally, Chef Mark is available to host private brunches or dinners on the premises, and the team here at Santa Ynez Vacation Rentals will stop at nothing to ensure you’re fully enjoying your stay.
We can’t think of a more intimate and authentic Easter experience than the one offered at Folded Hills Ranch. Spring is all about new beginnings, so how about beginning a new family tradition by bringing your loved ones to this little paradise on the central coast?
As you drive out of the gate at vacation rental Circle L Ranch, just across the street is an industrial tank with a rustic wooden sign casually slung around one of it’s posts. It reads, “Community.” It struck me as a sweet reminder that while most homes in the Valley are located on multiple acres, there is no less a sense of community here as in a tight suburban neighborhood.
I also considered that the placement of the “Community” sign, being directly across the street from a vacation rental often occupied by visitors, might be a gentle reminder from a neighbor to our guests that while they enjoy their home away from home, to keep in mind that they are kindly being welcomed into a ranching community, in hopes that quiet hours may be observed. (Only recently did I realize that the sign simply, and admittedly obviously, designated the tank as belonging to the community.) Nonetheless, this “Community” sign has allowed me to ruminate regularly on the concept and importance of community.
The business ethos at Santa Ynez Vacation Rentals has long been one that revolves around community and social responsibility. To begin with, the carbon footprint of a stay in a hotel is 50% greater than that of a stay in a vacation rental home. Simply in offering an alternative to a stay in a hotel, we’ve created an opportunity to travel with less impact on the planet. Further, the decision to use eco-friendly products whenever possible, albeit a bit more expensive, has been paramount to Santa Ynez Vacation Rentals.
To echo this commitment to social responsibility in a broader, more universal scale, we’re happy to announce that we’re in the process of joining 1% For The Planet. Their mission is to “build, support and activate an alliance of businesses financially committed to creating a healthy planet” and have invested more than $100 million in positive environmental change. Beginning this year, 1% of our revenue will be donated to this colossally compassionate organization. Bonus: The company was founded by Yvon Chouinard, the founder of Patagonia and Jack Johnson is one of their biggest advocates! How cool is that?
As a small business working within a small and very special community such as the Santa Ynez Valley, we’ve begun to see possibilities of how our ethos and social contributions can extend beyond the limits of our own company. In an effort to increase our involvement in community-related issues and activities, we’ve decided to begin this New Year with a pledge to contribute quarterly to local philanthropies.
Our contribution for the first quarter of 2015 was a grant to People Helping People. People Helping People is an organization dedicated to improving the lives of community members by “addressing emergency and basic needs, furnishing comprehensive integrated family and individual support services, and acting as a catalyst for positive community change.” They provide health services, domestic violence prevention services, connect eligible families with Cal Fresh, and facilitate applying for MediCal through their several Family Resource Centers throughout the area. They are an extremely deserving organization and we are happy to contribute to their many causes.
Also, we value the insight of both our homeowners and loyal guests, if you are involved with or supporters of any local, esteemed organizations, please share with us! It is our hope that the essence of a shared community permeates not only our own company, but our community, society, and humanity as a whole. Because, that’s what this whole living “business” is all about.
The Ancient Greek language makes a distinction within the concept of love leading to the use of four different words for love: éros, philía, storge, and agápe. Éros is defined as an intimate sort of love, philía is an “affectionate regard” often found within friendships, storge the natural and immediate love one finds with family, while agápe is a universal love, one of charity, goodwill, and benevolence. Agápe is giving love for the sake of giving love, without an expectation of it’s return. Thomas Aquinas further explained it as “to will the good of another.”
Éros, romantic love, is often the focus of upcoming Valentine’s Day. This day dedicated to romantic love is an opportunity to recognize and honor the bond between partners, and it’s the perfect excuse to steal away for a few romantic days in the country with the one you love. Our guests who will be staying with us for this special weekend will be treated to a few sweet surprises of the chocolate variety upon their arrival. We have also designed an array of services in the hopes of providing a sense of ease and indulgent luxury to our valued guests. These services include, but are not limited to, floral arrangements, on-site couples massage, and an intimate dinner for two prepared on-site by a local chef. We are also more than happy to help arrange any “grand gestures” in the name of love, perhaps a proposal in a hot air balloon thousands of feet above our beloved Valley?
While we at Santa Ynez Vacation Rentals wholeheartedly believe in celebrating éros, we also believe strongly in the practice of agápe daily. Our friends at Zella Woods have incorporated the two kinds of love in their design of a “loved” cuff bracelet. It’s truly a double whammy of love in that it makes a beautiful gift for your loved ones, and also acts in the name of charity. In fact, $10 from every loved item purchased through February 14th will be donated directly to The Trade Foundation. The Trade “has done tremendous things over the years to raise Cambodian women up out of sex trafficking, provide training and education in haircutting, hairstyling and makeup, and offer new life to women who have suffered unimaginable heartache.”
We’ve come upon a new year and we’re off to a fresh start with our NEW grocery delivery service.
We all know how easy it is to throw your money and healthy lifestyle choices out the window on vacation. because you’re being forced to eat out for every meal. One of the luxuries of staying in a vacation rental is the ability to have home-cooked meals when you’re miles away from home. However, it is quite the buzzkill when you finally arrive to your vacation rental, fully prepared to shrug off the worries of the tedious every day and shift into vacation mode when you say to yourself, “Groceries. We still have to go to the grocery store before the fun begins.”
Let us help you save a few precious hours of your relaxing vacation by pre-ordering grocery items with us. It’s simple; we’ll email you a form with a list of oft-ordered items, you fill out the form, add any notes or special requests and send it back to us at least 3 days before your arrival. We will, to the best of our ability, fulfill your grocery request and ensure your fridge is stocked upon your arrival.
Being an eco-conscious small business ourselves, we take pride in offering products from local purveyors like fresh-baked artisan bread from The Baker’s Table, and charcuterie and cheese from the Santa Ynez Cheese Co. We prefer to fulfill your grocery order through the independent and primarily organic grocers in the Valley, but at your request we will happily deliver from nearby Albertsons.
All kitchens in our vacation rentals are stocked with the tools and supplies you’ll need to prepare a meal, and most of our rentals have outdoor barbecues perfect for grilling a steak. Some of our rentals are even outfitted with outdoor wood fired pizza ovens. Plan for an easy evening of entertaining with a pizza night using dough we’ve sourced from a local Italian restaurant or make sandwiches for a picnic lunch out at one of the vineyards on the Foxen Canyon Wine Trail.
Keep this new year fresh and optimize your vacation space and time by allowing us to do your grocery shopping. You’ll be switching into vacation mode in no time.
You’ve heard of Napa Valley, you know all about Sonoma County, and now your next stop as a wine country enthusiast is Santa Barbara county and the Santa Ynez Valley wine region. If you plan to visit the countless vineyards, wineries and wine tasting rooms that the Santa Ynez Valley has to offer, you may want to have somewhere a little more special to stay than the usual hotel.
Sure, a Santa Ynez Valley hotel may be “good enough,” but let’s face it – there’s nothing truly special about a hotel room. If you’re looking for lodging in the Santa Ynez Valley that is more remarkable and will give you memories you will cherish for years to come, then you should consider accommodations at a luxury vacation rental property.
Shaped like a dolphin as it faces the Southern California shoreline, Santa Cruz Island is part of the five-island group called the California Channel Islands National Park, and it lies just 19 miles off of the coast between Santa Barbara and Ventura. With its unique species and virtually untouched ecosystem, Santa Cruz Island is a microcosm of ancient California, allowing visitors the opportunity to travel back in time to experience what the coast might have been like before the introduction of exotic species.