- 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
- In Solvang we celebrate Julefest annually throughout December to celebrate the Christmas season. Solvang decorates its half-timbered houses and windmills with lights, and the streets are filled with festivities including music, dance, food, parades and more. What could be better for getting into the Christmas spirit?
- In Los Olivos, we have Olde Fashioned Christmas where you can join residents and travelers alike in the streets to enjoy pleasant luminaries, popcorn and roasted walnuts, and local merchants to celebrate the holiday season. Not to mention musical performances and a tree lighting ceremony!
- Buellton has its annual Christmas Tree Lighting ceremony complete with singing, a visit from Santa Claus and cookies galore. This is made even more special when carolers sing through the neighborhoods of Buellton.
- In Santa Maria, the PCPA Theaterfest will perform the unforgettable holiday masterpiece, A Christmas Carol, a songful adaptation of Charles Dickens’s classic tale. It reawakens the true spirit of Christmas at the Marian Theatre in Santa Maria.
- In Santa Barbara, you can find The Christmas Revels: In Celebration of Winter Solstice this year. This is a Bavarian celebration of winter solstice set in the early 19th century Bavaria at Yuletide! It’s filled with song, dance and stories originating in Nordic and German traditions. The cast features 70 actors, singers, dancers and instrumentalists and will perform at Lobero Theatre.
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.
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.
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
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.
It’s no secret that Solvang is one of the most Christmassy towns in America. Just ask TIME Magazine! And trust us, the Christmas spirit carries over into all corners of the Santa Ynez Valley! We have a full calendar of events happening in the Santa Ynez Valley that lists everything the area has to offer, but here are some of the highlights this holiday season.
Christmas is a wonderful time of year to spend in many of the towns in the Santa Ynez Valley, and there is no shortage of ways to ring in the holiday season. Then you can cozy up in front of the fire and spending a luxurious, comfortable Christmas at one of our Santa Ynez Vacation Rentals properties.