- 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.
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
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.
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.
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.
While vacationing should be a time of luxury and lavish enjoyment, it doesn’t have to be a time of waste! There are many ways for you and your family to go green on vacation. Here are five environmentally conscious green ideas for your next vacation.
1. Buy local, organic foods.
This one’s easy! In the Santa Ynez Valley there are a number of local farmers’ markets where you can get the best local produce. The Solvang Village Farmers Market takes place every Wednesday and features fresh produce, flowers and other local foods. There is also the New Frontiers health food store, which provides local food products. There’s no better way to truly experience an area than sampling its local fare. In our Santa Ynez vacation rental properties, the local food can be stored in the large refrigerators and cooked in the vacation homes’ beautiful kitchens.
2. Recycle all waste and donate unused food.
Another easy one. Simply separate your trash and put your recyclable waste in the appropriate recycling bins, or leave in a bag on the doorstep with a quick note to the cleaning staff to recycle it. We always encourage recycling! Also, the Santa Barbara Food Bank will always take unused food. If guests leave boxed, canned or otherwise sealed non-perishable food items, we are happy to drop it off at the food bank for guests.
3. Avoid plastic bags.
It’s always smart to bring along a few cloth bags on your Santa Ynez vacation. They are not only convenient for carrying supplies for a day trip, picnic or other activity on your vacation, but they also help you avoid using wasteful plastic bags and containers for transporting groceries and other supplies on your trip. Another simple way to go green on your California vacation!
4. Don’t waste electricity and water.
Just as you would at home, turn off the lights, TV, AC/heat, and other energy- and water-wasting appliances and services when you leave. Also, many vacationers choose not to wash the sheets and towels every night. (Besides, shouldn’t you be relaxing on your vacation, not washing sheets?) This is another easy way to go green, it just takes a little mindfulness!
5. Limit excess baggage.
This one can be a little tough, especially if you’re traveling in large groups. It’s been proven, though, that limiting excess baggage and thus the weight of your vehicle can reduce vehicle emissions during travel. The last thing you want to do is spend valuable vacation time hauling piles and piles of luggage in and out of your vacation home, so consider packing light and saving yourself the time and the emissions!