- 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.
- Spring Pop-Up Shop: The Landsby – April 7th
- SB Vintners Spring Weekend – April 19-23rd
- The Neal Taylor Nature Center’s Annual Fish Derby – April 21-22nd
- Spring Vineyard Walk & Scavenger Hunt: Buttonwood Farm Winery – April 22nd
- Solvang Farmers Market – April 25th, 2:30-6:00pm.
- Solvang Datsun Classic Car Show – April 27 & 28th
- Poetry Reading: Wilding Museum – April 29th, 4-5:30pm.
- Benefit Concert w/ Brandy Clark: Solvang Festival Theater – May 2nd, 7:00pm.
- Buellton Brew Fest: River View Park – May 5th
- Santa Barbara Wine Country Half Marathon – May 12th
- Santa Ynez Valley Earth Day – May 20th
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.
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.
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.
A time for endless sunny days, new vegetation and wildflowers painting the rolling hills. With the recent eruption of color in Santa Ynez, the Valley is as magnificent as ever. Local restaurants are hauling in the cartons of locally foraged mushrooms for their seasonal menus. The clumsy foals are taking their eager first steps on the pastures along the country roads and the bright orange poppies are in bloom.
Springtime is one of the most exquisite times to plan a vacation to the Santa Ynez Valley. The weather is pleasantly warm and sunny, the landscapes and vistas are awe-inspiring and picturesque, and the food and brews are in their prime as our local farmers’ markets and seasonal events are springing into full bloom.
We have so much to offer at Santa Ynez Vacation Rentals this season including NEW vacation rental properties. We cannot wait to see you this Spring.
Book your stay now and embark on your weekend of luxury, adventure and relaxation!
Upcoming Events in the Santa Ynez Valley
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?
A Picturesque Haven in the Heart of Wine Country
Thinking about taking a vacation to California wine country? Santa Barbara County and the Santa Ynez Valley in particular is a choice vacation destination, but you probably would like to know the best time to visit Santa Ynez to begin planning your vacation.
Spring in the Santa Ynez Valley
May is especially beautiful in the Santa Ynez Valley because the hills are still green, the weather starts to warm up, and there are tons of exciting things happening in Santa Ynez. Every March is the Taste of Solvang food and wine festival in downtown Solvang. It is a blast to walk up and down Smorgaasbord and experience what more than 40 restaurants are serving up on their menus!
Also plan to hike in the Figueroa Mountains. They are covered with wildflowers and you will have views of the valley as far as the eye can see. A springtime vacation in the Santa Ynez Valley can also be filled with inspiring horseback rides and long bike rides, as there are miles and miles of beautiful trails for both. And last but certainly not least, the springtime wine tastings at area wineries are incredible.
Summer in the Santa Ynez Valley
A summer vacation to the Santa Ynez Valley is an opportunity to experience a warm-weather haven in the heart of wine country. Even though summer is the Valley’s busiest season, it still provides a relaxing respite from the daily grind of traffic and always being on the go. The countless acres of picturesque vineyards are only minutes away from the most breathtaking beaches the Central Coast has to offer.
The Valley hosts many local events such as wine tastings, farmer’s markets and even polo tournaments. Or, one of the best parts of a Santa Ynez Valley getaway is that you don’t even have to leave the backyard to get some well-deserved rest and relaxation. You can lounge by the pool to your heart’s content and fire up the grill for some excellent al fresco dining using locally-sourced ingredients.
Your kids’ education doesn’t have to stop when school lets out for the summer — they’ll come face-to-face with nature at its beautiful peak. Take advantage of the fantastic hiking, horseback riding and bicycling in the Valley to give them knowledge they won’t find in a classroom or textbook.
Autumn in the Santa Ynez Valley
October and November are also great times to visit Santa Ynez. Fall in Santa Ynez is unparalleled, if not only for the warmer oranges and yellows the entire area gets, but also because it’s harvest season! The Celebration of Harvest Festival happens in mid October and this year it is at Rancho Sisquoc Winery! If you came to Santa Ynez to see all that beautiful California wine country has to offer, fall is the time. (Well, anytime is time for wine in Santa Ynez, but autumn especially!)
The wineries are busy crushing grapes and the farmers are busy picking them. Watching the grapevines turn red and orange as fall goes on is something you’ll never forget. There are also several autumn festivals in the Santa Ynez Valley, including the Solvang Jazz Festival in September, as well as several of the Valley’s roots festivals, including Solvang’s Danish Days and Los Olivos Old Days.
Winter in the Santa Ynez Valley
If you are a bargain-hunting vacationer, winter may be the perfect time to plan a trip to Santa Ynez, as many vacation rental properties offer discounts later in the wintertime after the holidays have passed. Some may call winter the “off-season” in Santa Ynez, but in my opinion there’s no such thing.
The scenery is beatific as you enjoy crisp mornings on the porch of your Santa Ynez vacation rental home, and choose a vacation rental home that has a big fireplace so you can cozy up with a loved one in front of the hearth and enjoy a glass or two of local wine. And consider spending Valentine’s Day weekend in Santa Ynez to create romantic, lifelong memories that you will cherish forever.
OK, OK, I know I said basically all the time is a great time to visit Santa Ynez. (And I know I mentioned wine at all those times.) But frankly, it’s true. Santa Ynez is gorgeous wine country year-round and makes a fabulous vacation spot for different reasons during different times of the year. Even the “off-season” in Santa Ynez is spot-on for travel. Santa Ynez is truly a year-round travel destination.