HOLIDAY HOSTING AT MATTEI’S TAVERN
We’ve created a guide with tips & tricks on hosting a holiday gathering this winter season! With a group of extremely talented women, we set the mood for a chic wonderland inspired dinner in the Cottages at Mattei’s Tavern in Los Olivos, CA.
Once a stagecoach stop pioneered by the Swiss-American Felix Mattei during the late 19th century, and a social center frequented by the likes of Bing Crosby and Clark Gable, Mattei’s Tavern is now one of the most familiar historic sites in the Santa Ynez Valley. Its romantic heritage is revealed through the gabled buildings and pastoral surroundings, and its old-world charm is palpable. The property has served as a gathering place, bringing together loved ones and strangers alike, ever since. For over 125 years, The Cottages have provided sanctuary for those seeking the tranquility and adventure of California’s Central Coast.
Jaime Kostechko with Wild Heart Events explains the design inspiration behind the gathering: “Inspired by the history of Mattei’s Tavern [managed by Santa Ynez Vacation Rentals], built in 1886 and an iconic part of Los Olivos, we aimed to create an occasion that embodied the warm, charming feel of the location and it’s reputation for being a gathering point for both locals and travelers alike. We brought in vintage glassware and candlesticks as well as hand crocheted doilies as an ode to former times. The feel of the newly redesigned bungalows is so warm and cosy yet clean and bright.”
Denisse Salinas [Le Petit Chef], cooked some incredible farm-to-table style dishes for the night & was kind enough to share a couple of her recipes.
Roasted Parsnip Soup
[serves 4 as a main course or 6 as an appetizer]
1 1/2 pounds parsnips, chopped
3 tablespoons olive oil, divided
Salt and freshly ground pepper
1 medium onion, chopped
1/2 pound yellow or white carrots
4 cups broth
1 bay leaf
4 sprigs thyme
1-2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
Meyer lemon oil, for garnish (optional)
Store bought or home made beet chips, for garnish (optional)
Fresh thyme leaves, for garnish (optional)
Oat Milk Horchata White Russian by Le Petit Chef
[makes 2 cocktails]
for the oat milk horchata:
1 cup unsweetened oat milk
1 cinnamon stick
3 tablespoons sugar
For the cocktail:
3 ounces ounces vodka, divided
3 ounces ounces Kahlua or coffee liqueur, divided
6 ounces oat milk horchata, divided
Ground cinnamon and cinnamon sticks, for garnish
Add oat milk, cinnamon stick and sugar to a pot over medium heat and bring to a simmer (do not boil). Simmer until sugar dissolves, about 5 minutes. Remove from heat let cool to room temperature, leaving cinnamon stick to infuse for at least 20 minutes. Fill two glasses with ice. Divide vodka and Kahlua evenly amongst glasses, then top each glass with 3 ounces oat milk horchata. Garnish with ground cinnamon and top with cinnamon stick.
“We always recommend using the china and linen and glassware that has been waiting for such an occasion to make it’s appearance. If you don’t have time to steam press your napkins, simply tie them in a loose knot to give your place setting some added texture without the extra work.”
Gretchen Ulrich with Otis & Pearl Partywares gives us a stylish tip on glassware.
“Gone are the days when everything needs to be the same set or style! Liven
up your table with different patterns of glassware which will help guests keep tabs on their glass as they mingle.”
We all know that hosting an event can be STRESSFUL!
Check out these tricks from the professionals to help ease your mind while preparing for your big day.
“The more you can do in advance, the better! Shop for groceries early and on off-peak hours if possible to avoid crowds- the first hour open and last hour before closing are typically the least busy at the grocery stores. Give yourself a major head start in the kitchen: wash and chop your vegetables a day or two before (think onions, carrots, garlic, etc.) to save yourself tons of time the day of. Things like pie, tart and cookie doughs, soups and salad dressings can also be made days ahead of time.” Denisse Salina [Le Petit Chef]
“Plan ahead and make it a group effort! Involve the whole family…. children love setting the table or foraging for greenery, let the young adults hone their chopping skills, assign someone to making a playlist, place cards, and don’t forget the bartender!” Jamie Kostechko [Wild Heart Events]
“Make enough time to get yourself ready before your event so you aren’t stressed when guests arrive. Create a playlist the day before. And don’t forget to keep a journal with shopping lists, recipes, decor ideas and guest names so you can not only have it written down for this event, but as a reference for your next gathering as well!” Taylor Lockhart [Mattei’s Tavern – Santa Ynez Vacation Rentals]
Thank you for letting us share our holiday hosting gathering with you! We hope that you leave feeling inspired and ready to tackle your next winter event. If you are interested in renting the Cottages at Mattei’s Tavern, click HERE. For more information regarding events on the property, click HERE.
PHOTOGRAPHER: Lindsey Drewes//Lindsey Drewes Photography [@Lindseydrewes]
CHEF: Denisse Salinas//Le Petit Chef [@Lepetitchefsb]
FLORAL: Breanna Goettler//Wild Poppy Floral Design [@Wildpoppyfloraldesign]
TABLE RENTAL: Fisher Family Rentals [@Fisherfamilyrentals]
*For questions or inquiries regarding featuring our photos & tips, please contact Taylor Lockhart: Taylor@santaynezvacationrentals.com
Host Your Next Event at Mattei’s Tavern
For almost 130 years, distinguished guests ranging from John D. Rockefeller to Clark Gable have been drawn to Mattei’s Tavern for its natural beauty, romantic heritage and classic luxury – this blend is what makes Mattei’s Tavern an exquisite event venue. The iconic white water tower and original craftsman structures surrounding the ceremony site are softened by pastoral landscaping; providing an unmatched old west wedding feel.
Located in picturesque Santa Barbara wine country, this charming historic tavern offers several enchanting spaces to host your next wedding, dinner party, corporate event or rehearsal. The lush outdoor lawn under the water tour is the ideal reception area – watch the sunset while dining and dance the night away under the stars. After your event concludes, retreat to one of the seven newly renovated, charming guest Cottages on the property.
At Mattei’s Tavern, the many central spaces for an event are endless. Enjoy an outdoor ceremony in the Keenan Hartley Courtyard surrounded by lush landscaping and the historical Hartley House, join your guests in feasting under the trees in the Watertower Garden, enjoy a few cocktails in the Rose Garden and share beautiful memories of cutting your cake inside the Garden Room.
The Cottages at Mattei’s Tavern
Enjoy a wedding weekend getaway at The Cottages on the property, which provide a starting point for walk-able tasting rooms and a break from the everyday hustle. Wander the streets of Los Olivos, sip a glass of wine on your front porch, or dine at the best restaurants in town. The Cottages are a gentle reminder to slow down and enjoy life. There are seven beautiful Cottages throughout the property including the Hartley House and the newly remodeled West Cottages, which are set apart from the four Bungalows, also recently remodeled, that line the outskirts of Mattei’s Tavern. The Cottages provide pristine and updated accommodations while retaining the historic ambiance that families and friends have come to expect for over a century.
Come, enjoy all that Mattei’s Tavern has to offer!
Follow us on Instagram @MatteisTavernEvents or @SantaYnezVR for SYV News and daily features on local shops and restaurants throughout the year. Need help with trip planning? View our list of local Concierge Services here.
We are thrilled to learn that our website, coming in at #47, was named “Top 75 Vacation Rental Blogs & Websites for Rental Owners and Managers” in the world by Feedspot Blog Reader! At Santa Ynez Vacation Rentals, we aim to provide not only the highest level of quality service to our clientele and guests, but to our virtual audience as well. Thank you Feedspot for the recognition.
Follow us on Instagram @SantaYnezVR for holiday discounts and daily features on local shops and restaurants throughout the winter months. Need help with trip planning? Contact our travel concierge or view our list of Concierge Services here.
Are you planning your trip to the Santa Ynez Valley this holiday season? Our cozy town is packed to the brim with events this year and we cannot wait to attend! View our winter vacation itinerary here and a list of local festive events below.
- Wine Cellar Sale & Holiday Wine Tasting: River Grill at Alisal, Solvang – December 2nd from 2:30-4:30pm.
- Los Olivos Olde Fashioned Christmas: Los Olivos – December 2nd from 4-8pm.
- BOGA: Beer + Yoga: Naughty Oak Brewing Company, Santa Ynez – December 2nd from 11am-12pm.
- Holiday Marketplace: Wilding Museum, Solvang – December 3rd from 11am-4pm.
- The Chef’s Table Dinner: The Bear & Star, Los Olivos – December 5th at 6 & 7:30pm.
- Julesfest Parade & Tree Lighting Ceremony: Solvang – December 8th from 4-8pm.
- Los Alamos Annual Holiday Stroll: Los Alamos – December 8th from 5-8pm.
- Winter Marketplace: Bethania Lutheran Church, Solvang – December 9th from 9am-4pm.
- Sip & Shop: Fess Parker Wine Country Inn, Los Olivos – December 9th from 3-7pm.
- The Kindness Concert – Standing Sun Wines, Buellton – December 10th from 4:30-7:30pm.
- Christmas Lights & Sights: Vets Hall, Solvang – December 11th & 12th from 6-7:15pm. & 7:30-8:45pm.
- Deck The Halls Holiday Market: Ojai Rancho Inn, Ojai – December 16th from 12-7pm.
Follow us on Instagram @SantaYnezVR for holiday discounts and daily features on local shops and restaurants throughout the winter months. Need help with trip planning? Contact our travel concierge or view our list of Concierge Services here.
No visit to the Santa Ynez Valley would be complete without hopping into nearby Santa Barbara, CA for at least a short day trip. Just 40 minutes down Highway 154 from Buellton and 45 minutes from Solvang, Santa Barbara offers something for everyone in the family. From beaches to boats, food, and drink to history and more, Santa Barbara will wow you every step of the way!
Start the day with a leisurely drive through the stunning rolling hills of the Santa Ynez Valley into Santa Barbara itself. Because the Central California coastline and geography is so similar to the French Riviera, Santa Barbara is known as the American Riviera. Nearly all the city’s attractions are within walking distance of the Pacific Ocean, and you’ll never be far from the cooling ocean breezes. The city itself mixes casual and elegant, world class with eclectic, and historical with modern.
Enjoy breakfast and visit Stearns Wharf.
Head to 1017 State Street and the Lilac Patisserie Gluten Free Bakery & Café for a breakfast to remember. Only the freshest organic produce goes into the food at the Lilac Patisserie. They serve breakfast from 8:00 a.m. until 2:00 p.m. every day, as well as lunch from 11:00 a.m. until 4:00 p.m. Their carry-out bakery, full of tasty treats like cheesecake, cookies, cupcakes, pastries, tarts, pies, and the most amazing gluten-free cakes is open 8:00 until 6:00 p.m. Monday through Thursday, and 8:00 to 8:00 Friday through Sunday.
After fueling up on delicious food, the opportunities for adventure in Santa Barbara abound. Park your car and rent a bike at Wheel Fun near Stearns Wharf for the best way to see the town. Santa Barbara encourages environmentally-friendly transportation, so trolleys are also available. The city is also very pedestrian-friendly. Bike and walking paths are common, from the beach boardwalk to State Street and side streets.
Stearns Wharf is a must-see during your day trip to Santa Barbara. The historic pier features unparalleled views of Santa Barbara, the mountains, and the Pacific Ocean. Restaurants, shops, the Ty Warner Sea Center are some of the activities to enjoy on the Wharf, where State Street meets the ocean.
Enjoy the outdoors at the zoo and on the water.
From the Wharf, walk or ride a bike along the paths to the Santa Barbara Zoo, rated the best mid-sized zoo on the West Coast. The Zoo houses over 600 animals on 16 acres, with a train that circles the park. The Zoo is open daily from 10:00 until 5:00.
Beach lovers revel in the Santa Barbara offerings year-round, whether you love surfing, swimming, kayaking, or just enjoying the sun and sand. East Beach, just off the Wharf, has volleyball courts on the beach, and local surfers like the Point to the north and Rincon Beach to the south of town. Other favorite beaches include Leadbetter Beach, located between the Harbor and Shoreline Park, Carpinteria State Beach, and Santa Claus Lane Beach.
Get out on the water for a lunchtime cruise aboard the Double Dolphin, a 50-foot catamaran sailing from the Santa Barbara Sailing Center at the Harbor. The boat features 1,400 square feet of deck plus an expert crew, making it a comfortable, fun and safe experience for people of every age. Out on the harbor, you’ll see California sea lions, dolphins, and maybe even migrating gray whales! You will also see beautiful Santa Barbara, luxurious coastal homes, and the mountains as a backdrop.
See Santa Barbara from the sky.
If you would rather see Santa Barbara and the surrounding area from the air, take a 30- or 45-minute helicopter tour of the area. The skilled helicopter pilots will show you all the sights including the city, the harbor, and all the major landmarks. Your pilot will show you breathtaking views of the beaches, mountains, and the nearby Channel Islands during your tour. The helicopter pilots are even skilled at spotting whales and dolphins in the Harbor and educating guests about the history and points of interest in Santa Barbara County.
Visit Mission Santa Barbara and the Santa Barbara Botanic Garden.
Whether you see it from the sky or on foot, you must visit the Mission Santa Barbara, the iconic and most photographed mission in California. This beautiful Spanish mission is open seven days a week and features both self-guided and docent-led tours. Just one mile north of the Mission is the Santa Barbara Botanic Garden, another must-see stop on your itinerary. The garden features native California plants in stunning landscape designs. Trails meander through the gardens, so you can take your time and visit at your own pace.
Stop for lunch at one of Santa Barbara’s tastiest restaurants.
By now, your appetite will have you ready to take in more of Santa Barbara’s famous cuisine. Scarlett Begonia, located at 11 West Victoria Street #10, serves organic, sustainable, innovative food with an ever-changing menu. Breakfast and lunch offerings are served from 9:00 until 2:00 Tuesday through Saturdays, and dinner menus begin at 4:00 p.m. Christa Fooks, the owner, claims to be a “professional food nerd.” Patio seating at Scarlett Begonia is even dog-friendly!
Another favorite lunch-into-dinner wine bar and cafe is Satellite SB at 1117 State Street inside the Impact Hub Building. Here, Drew Cuddy, founder and self-described “food and wine junkie” serves locally-sourced food and hand-selected local and international wines and beers. Satellite SB is open Monday through Saturday 11:00 until 10:00.
Find fun and exploration at Moxi Museum.
After a leisurely lunch, head to 125 State Street for some serious fun and exploration at the brand-new Moxi Museum of Exploration and Innovation. Open daily from 10:00 until 5:00 p.m., visitors should purchase timed-entry tickets in advance when possible. The Moxi challenges visitors to interact with exhibits, centered around arts, engineering, technology, math, and science.
The Moxi Innovation Workshop lets visitors design and test creations using an array of tools and technologies. Step outside to the Fantastic Forces Courtyard and learn about propulsion, gravity, and magnetism. Conduct your own test flights, launch an air rocket, or learn about magnetic fields. Exhibits and experiences change constantly, so this will be a place you will want to visit again and again.
Shop the Santa Barbara local markets.
Once a week, Santa Barbara hosts a Certified Organic Farmers Market. There are three locations: lower State Street between the 500 and 600 blocks on Tuesdays from 4:00 to 7:30 p.m.; E. Cota Street on Saturdays from 8:30 a.m. to 1:00 p.m.; and in Montecito between the 1100 and 1200 blocks of Coast Village Rd. on Fridays from 8:00 to 11:15 a.m. Local organic farmers, dedicated to sustainable farming practices, bring their best produce to this enormous marketplace rain or shine.
Be sure to visit the SB Public Market at 38 West Victoria Street, at the intersection of Victoria Street and Chapala. SB Public market sits in the performing and cultural arts area of Santa Barbara and features a diverse group of merchants offering locally and regionally sourced wines, beers, and food all under one roof. The Market is open weekdays from 7:30 a.m. until 11:00 p.m., Saturdays 8:00 p.m. until 11:00 p.m. and Sunday 8:00 a.m. until 10:00 p.m. However, the individual merchant hours may vary.
Relax and unwind after sunset with dinner followed by cocktails or local beer.
Once you are done with sun, sand, sightseeing, and shopping, the sun begins to set over the Pacific. Take a moment to relax and unwind. Now is the time when the city begins to flock to the numerous Santa Barbara evening dining and drinking establishments, many of which features the wines and beers born in the nearby Santa Ynez Valley.
For Spanish tapas or an amazing Sunday brunch menu, check out Loquita at 202 State Street in the Santa Barbara Funk Zone. Open for Sunday Brunch 11:00 a.m. until 2:00 p.m., and every night for dinner 5:00 p.m. until 10:00 p.m., Loquita showcases traditional Spanish cooking with a variety of hot and cold tapas, paella, grilled meat, and wood-fired seafood. Executive Chef Peter Lee pairs the food with Spanish wines and a few select local wines that pair perfectly with his cuisine. Farmers’ market sangria, gin and tonics, Spanish vermouths, and hand-crafted cocktails round out the experience. Inside Loquita, the dining room is lively and exciting. Outside on the patio, diners enjoy a more romantic and quiet setting around the fireplace. A separate pintxos bar, Poquita, serves small snacks, cheeses, and charcuterie.
Up the road at The Good Lion, 1212 State Street, enjoy a modern, intimate fusion of South-West Europe, Mediterranean Africa and the “American Riviera” atmosphere of Santa Barbara. The Good Lion offers a rotating cocktail menu featuring the area’s best herbs, spices, produce, and fruit. They also offer local craft beers and natural wines. Neighboring restaurant Sama Sama offers Spanish tapas and small plates food to Good Lion visitors. The Good Lion is open nightly from 4:00 p.m. until 1:00 a.m. Reservations are recommended for parties of six or more.
For people who like craft beer, the Figueroa Mountain Brewing Company at 137 Anacapa Street, Suite F, is the place to go. Father and son Jim and Jaime Dietenhofer started the brewery in 2010, naming it after the mountain they could see from their home in Los Olivos. The first taproom of the Figueroa Mountain Brewery opened in Buellton in the Santa Ynez Valley and has become one of the fastest growing craft brew companies in America. Enjoy either indoor or outdoor table seating, or grab a bottle or growler to-go. The Santa Barbara location partners with the Lucky Penny for delicious wood fired pizza delivery to the brewery.
A day trip to Santa Barbara is the perfect addition to your stay in a Santa Ynez vacation rental home. At just a 35-minute drive away through scenic mountains and vineyards, make a day of it. We hope you enjoy your visit.
During the warm summer months, many of our guests search specifically for vacation rental homes that have a pool and/or a jacuzzi and spa. We certainly can’t blame them! Nothing beats lounging poolside with a glass of wine here in the Santa Ynez Valley.
Having access to a pool or jacuzzi at your vacation rental home adds a special touch of luxury to make your trip even more memorable. If fun in the water is your thing, below is a list of all the vacation rental homes we list that have pools, spas or jacuzzis on-site!
- Casa de la Vista – Spa
- Circle L Ranch – Pool, Spa
- Copenhagen Court – Spa
- Copenhagen Court Unit – Spa
- Elegant Ranch Retreat – Pool, Spa
- Estelle Ranch – Pool, Spa
- The Farmhouse at La Purisma – Spa
- Figueroa Mountain Ranch – Pool, Spa
- Folded Hills Ranch – Pool, Spa
- Goodgame Ranch – Pool, Spa
- Greystone Manor – Pool, Spa
- Guesthouse at Elegant Ranch Retreat – Pool, Spa
- Lefthand Ranch – Pool, Spa
- Oak Valley Ranch – Pool, Spa
- Rancho de los Colores – Pool
- Rancho Los Venados – Pool, Spa
- Rancho Maroma – Pool, Spa
- Rancho Santuario – Saltwater Pool, Spa
- Royal Oaks Ranch – Pool, Spa
- Wine Country Cottage – Spa
We are here to help ensure your vacation rental meets all your needs and exceeds all of your expectations, and if you have any questions about the pools or spas at your vacation rental, we are happy to answer them.
On June 6, 2017, The Santa Barbara County Board of Supervisors will conduct a public hearing to discuss the Short-Term Rental Ordinance at the County Board of Supervisor’s Hearing Room, 105 East Anapamu Street, 4th Floor, Santa Barbara, California.
We are hopeful that the hearing on June 6 will determine the final outcome of this long-awaited decision concerning the use of short-term rentals in Santa Barbara County. As always, your support is extremely important to us.
Our Take on the Issue
At Santa Ynez Vacation Rentals, we specialize in Agritourism and it is our goal to provide guests with an authentic farm or ranch stay experience through a carefully curated selection of breathtaking agricultural properties in the Santa Ynez Valley. We believe that the most appropriate and desirable location for short-term rentals in Santa Barbara County is on agricultural land, all agricultural land, as opposed to residential zoned areas.
A stay at one of our properties is not only a unique, rural experience for guests, but also a means to help sustain and keep agriculture alive in our community. These beautiful agricultural properties are integral in maintaining the rural character of the Santa Ynez Valley, that locals and visitors alike are so drawn to. They keep the bucolic rolling hills of the Valley uninhabited. They allow for 360-degree views of pure, wide-open space. They allow for a place where animals can survive and thrive as ever-increasing development continues to take over.
All of this doesn’t come free. Landowners of agricultural properties need alternative income sources to help offset their operating costs of these expensive, yet extraordinary, properties that we all love and feel a connection to. It isn’t until something is gone that people start to miss what once was.
Agricultural properties cannot survive without using the land, conscientiously, to generate income.
Not taking advantage, but allowing for operations that are a compatible use of agriculture. Just as organic farming, raising llamas, or selling homemade honey from a modest farmstead are all considered a healthy, productive, use of agricultural land, the same is true for short-term rentals on an agricultural properties – it’s all wholesome Agritourism.
The beauty of these stays is that they do not require any new development, there is no negative impact to the land or community, and they are environmentally responsible. Guests are simply sleeping in a structure that already exists on the land. Land where they can wake up to the sound of farm life, brush a horse, walk down a cow path, through a vineyard, star gaze with their kids, pick fresh vegetables, collect chicken eggs, and merely slow down and take it all in with family and close friends.
A few key points in the debate about short-term rentals in Santa Barbara County:
- AGRICULTURE CANNOT BE COMPARED TO RESIDENTIAL: When managed with integrity, short-term rentals on all agricultural properties (AG I & AG II 5, 10, 20, 40, 100+ acres) do not negatively impact the community unlike some residential zoned short-term rentals. Plain and simple, agricultural parcels are much larger than residential parcels and have larger setbacks from neighbors, which help offer more privacy and tranquility for all.
- REVENUE TO COUNTY: Santa Barbara County has a fiduciary responsibility to the community. The Transient Occupant Tax (TOT) generated from short-term rentals on agricultural properties helps contribute significantly towards the budget crisis.
- AGRI-TOURISM: Short-term rentals on agricultural properties provide income to land owners, which in turn, helps keep agriculture alive in our community. These are not your typical, “crash pad” style rentals. Short-term rentals on all agricultural land are intended to offer a farm or ranch stay experience; connecting people with nature and agriculture operations, and do not negatively impact the community or neighboring properties.
If you’re planning on spending Valentine’s Day or simply a romantic weekend getaway in the Santa Ynez Valley this year, you have come to the right place. We put together an idyllic list of the nine most romantic things to do in the Santa Ynez Valley with your loved ones while you’re here! Santa Ynez is laden with the most homely, romantic, private vacation rental homes in the county.
The Santa Ynez Valley boasts picturesque landscapes, world renowned wineries, equine ranches, lavender farms, exquisite dining options and so much more for your romantic weekend getaway this February.
Have a romantic night at the Winemaker Dinner.
Lucas & Lewellen will be celebrating Valentine’s Day with a special Valentine’s Day Winemaker Dinner at the lovely Santa Ynez Coach house, behind the Santa Ynez Inn. The founders, Royce Lewellen and Louis Lucas, will be sharing the background story of their featured wines and delectable culinary pairings. Enjoy grilled shrimp, beets salad, duck confit, lamb rack and a strawberry shortcake paired with specialty Brut Sparkling Wine, Pinot Noir, Syrah, Port and more! For reservations, call the Santa Ynez Inn at (805) 688-5588.
Take a glider ride from the Santa Ynez Airport.
Santa Barbara Soaring has been flying above the Santa Barbara County for over 50 years with multiple glider tours to choose from. They say, “Climb the Coastal Mountain range up to 3,600 feet above sea level and soar with the birds! You’ll see the Reagan Ranch, the Pacific Ocean, part of the Channel Islands, along with the entire Santa Ynez Valley.” Flights are approximately 15 to 20 minutes long. Santa Barbara Soaring is located at the Santa Ynez Airport next door to Gainey Winery.
Enjoy a wine tasting series on an electric bike.
Pedego Electric Bikes of Los Olivos combines cycling a relaxed countryside setting and the quaint town of Los Olivos with great wine, food and an experienced guide to create the perfect Valley tour. The rides are custom-tailored to your needs and they offer several tours starting at 7am, for the early birds. Enjoy breakfast, vineyard views, a gourmet lunch and the serenity of both Foxen and Ballard Canyons.
Go horseback riding through the Valley.
Vino Vaqueros offers daily horseback riding and wine tasting tours through the gorgeous Santa Ynez Valley. The scenery is breathtaking, and what more romantic way to travel from vineyard to vineyard than on horseback? They say, “Enjoy unsurpassed views on this ranch and vineyard ride. The rolling hills set the stage for an unforgettable adventure.” Their “Ride & Wine” package includes a private tour through our very own Estelle Ranch & Vineyards on horseback. Following the ride, head over to the barn and enjoy a glass of local wine from Estelle Vineyards. Ask about their weekday Valentine’s special for a great discount!
Get a private couples massage.
What could be more romantic than a relaxing, soothing couples massage together? Santa Ynez Wine Country Massage has been a Santa Ynez Valley favorite for years. Enjoy a couples massage in one of their private rooms or even pamper yourself with one of our specialized massage therapists in the privacy of your vacation rental home. Indulge in a massage with your loved one and enjoy some peaceful, relaxing, quiet time to unwind with one another.
Enjoy a charming dinner at Mad & Vin.
At Mad & Vin Restaurant inside The Landsby in Solvang, you’ll be welcomed in by a warm traditional and craft cocktail, beer and wine bar. Mad & Vin, “which translates to food & wine in Danish, specializes in delicious wine-country inspired cuisine made with fresh, seasonal ingredients from California’s central coast.” They are offering select breakfast, dinner and drink specials on February 14th. To make a Valentine’s Day reservation, call (805) 688-3121.
Stroll downtown Los Olivos together.
Walking from door to door in the quaint downtown Los Olivos will take you to numerous boutique wineries and tasting rooms to sip on the best wine that the Santa Ynez Valley has to offer. After you have experienced the many wine and food pairings throughout Los Olivos, don’t forget to stop in the cute local shops to support small businesses. A few of our favorite local shops that we love to support include the Los Olivos General Store, Wildflower Women Boutique, Avec Moi Decor and Stafford’s Chocolates.
Book a private chef at your vacation rental.
Want to cozy up over dinner and wine with your loved ones? How about bundling up in your romantic vacation rental property and dining in for a private candle lit dinner experience. Hire a private chef to curate a fanciful setting and cook a special dinner to remember. Our chefs utilize fresh locally sourced ingredients and ensure a romantic evening with spices and flavors to remember. Santa Barbara Private Chef, Mattias Blom is offering a delicious “Valentine Warm-Up Menu” for your special day.
Take a hike and picnic at Nojoqui Falls.
Grab a delicious picnic style lunch from The Lucky Hen Larder in Santa Ynez and take a short drive to Nojoqui Falls Park to picnic on a grassy knoll or hike up a short trail to gaze at the falls in a gorgeous outdoor setting. The park has plenty of space to enjoy a romantic picnic while taking in the pristine and quiet surroundings. We recommend bringing some cheese and crackers with a blanket and a bottle of wine (or two) to enjoy an afternoon in nature.
Book your romantic getaway!
If you’re hoping to get away on Valentine’s Day or simply for a romantic escape from reality any time of year, we highly recommend the Santa Ynez Valley. Book a private vacation rental home and let us help you plan your special weekend. Contact our booking specialist for help finding the perfect vacation rental and planning an idealistic getaway.
If you are planning a vacation to beautiful Solvang, California in the Santa Ynez Valley, you may need some ideas from a local to make the most of your trip. These are our top three recommendations for things to do in Solvang, CA as you’re planning your vacation itinerary.
1. Santa Ynez Valley and Solvang Area Wine Tastings
Perhaps you have heard of the movie Sideways, a film about a week-long road trip through California wine country – and that includes Solvang, California. There are many wine tours in the Santa Ynez area that you absolutely must look into, and we even have a map of the Sideways wineries.
One great place to visit in Solvang to go for wine tastings is Alamo Pintado Road, where many of the top wineries on the Santa Ynez Wine Trail can be found Also, if you are a wine connoisseur and want to enjoy some wine tastings in Solvang, consider visiting the quaint downtown Solvang area to enjoy all the small boutique wineries in the area.
There are more than 20 downtown tasting rooms in Solvang with wine products from more than 125 area vineyards. You may even find yourself meeting the winery owners and winemakers at their tasting rooms in Solvang! So whether you prefer to sip on a chardonnay or prefer a sauvignon blanc and enjoy a glass of wine on your Solvang vacation – you deserve it.
2. Bike Riding on Solvang Trails
If you are a fan of nature and the outdoors, there is no shortage of outdoor recreation in Santa Ynez Valley and the Solvang area. In fact, taking a leisurely bike ride is one of the best ways to experience Solvang when you’re visiting.
There are many simple bicycle trail loops that begin in the city of Solvang that carry bikers through the back country and many beautiful sights of the valley. Solvang is also home to the Solvang Century Cycling Festival and the Solvang Prelude Ride events every year.
There is no shortage of bike-friendly parks and other outdoor activities to do in Solvang if you just love to enjoy nature, including Solvang Park, Sunny Fields Park and Hans Christian Andersen Park.
3. Shopping, Dining, Music & Danish History in Downtown Solvang
Founded in 1911 by Danish educators who were traveling west to escape the harsh winters of the Midwest, Solvang is packed with the history and food (especially the pastries and æbleskiver!) of Denmark. Be sure to enjoy the downtown Solvang area and look for Danish icons like the Little Mermaid Fountain near Mission Dr. and Alisal Rd., the five Danish windmills, and the giant red clog outside the Solvang Shoe Store. Also be sure to check out the Round Tower of Solvang, which is a replica of the Rudetaarn in Copenhagen at 1/3 the scale. There are also a number of must-see museums, including Elverhoj Museum of History & Art, The Wildling, Hans Christian Andersen, Vintage Motorcycle, Old Mission Santa Inés, and the Amber Museum & Hall of the Danes.
There are tons of wonderful shops and boutiques in the Solvang area that are perfect for folks who need a little retail therapy on vacation. There are more than 150 one-of-a-kind shops and small businesses to visit in the Solvang area, so there is no shortage of interesting shopping to do.
Find a boutique for any of your interests – antiques, the arts, clothing, kids, wine, gourmet gifts – you name it. And after you shop till you drop, one of my favorite Solvang restaurants is Root 246 on Alisal Rd. Their dinner menu updates often and is based on what current, seasonal ingredients are available and fresh at the market. It is delicious food with an excellent wine selection, and it is a must-taste if you are in the Solvang area.
Being in the heart of the Santa Ynez Valley, downtown Solvang is also a hot spot for live music events. From the Solvang Summer concert series on Wednesday evenings, to Soirée Thursdays at Refugio Ranch each week, to live music on the patio of Root 246 every Friday night, to the Sunday Concert Series at Zaca Mesa Winery, there is no shortage of sounds in the area for the music-lovers in your group. Enjoy live music, great food and perhaps a glass of wine surrounded by the Danish history of Solvang.
That makes up our travel concierge list of the top three things to do on your Solvang vacation! Of course if you decide on Solvang, CA for your trip – consider one of our Solvang vacation rental homes. Make sure to visit these Solvang attractions for the most memorable Santa Ynez Valley vacation possible.