- 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.
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.
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.
A decade ago, the Alexander Payne film Sideways was filmed in the Santa Ynez Valley. The film chronicles the adventures of two middle aged pals, Miles and Jack, as they embark on a wine-tasting vacation before one of them gets married.
The film became a major success, earning countless rave reviews (it boasts a 96% rating on Rotten Tomatoes) and numerous awards, as well as commercial success at the box office. It helped turn Paul Giamatti and Thomas Haden Church, the actors who play the two leads, into household names. Both performers have had successful careers since appearing in the film. Sideways used authentic Santa Ynez Valley locations for all of the wineries and restaurants that the characters visit. This has made it easy for fans to visit the same places as the characters. Along with being a critically acclaimed film, Sideways also works effectively as a travelogue for the region in which it is set.
The Santa Ynez Valley region was already a popular vacation spot because of its pleasant climate, delicious wine, and high quality restaurants, but it experienced a significant uptick in tourism after the film was released. The success of Sideways has led to increased interest in the beautiful wine valleys of California. Other local attractions include horseback riding, great art museums, and plenty of outdoor places to hike and explore.
One of the most popular regions in the area is the charming Danish community of Solvang. Anyone who is interested in Danish culture should visit the bakeries and museums featured there. It allows visitors to experience a slice of Copenhagen without having to leave the United States. Like the rest of the Valley, Solvang is currently celebrating the 10th anniversary of the release of Sideways, which was released in 2004.
To celebrate this anniversary, Grapeline Wine Tours is holding a Commemorative Wine Tour of the wineries that are featured in the film. The tour will visit Kalrya Winery, Ostrich Land, Blackjack Ranch, and Foxen Vineyard. Frass Canyon, which was the setting of a memorable scene late in the film, is not included but can be visited separately. Grapeline can be reached to book reservations at 1-888-8-WINERY.
A Sideways wine tasting map can also be downloaded here. Visitors to the Santa Ynez Valley can use it to experience all of the restaurants and other locations that the characters visit in the film. Twitter followers can stay up to date by following the hashtag #Sideways10 on social media. Solvang and the rest of the Valley look forward to celebrating the anniversary of this seminal classic.
When you come to the Santa Ynez Valley this year to celebrate the 10th anniversary of the hit movie Sideways, be sure to make the trip unforgettable by staying in one of these remarkable vacation rental homes.
We are thrilled to welcome an all-new luxury vacation rental into the Santa Ynez Vacation Rentals family. We are proud to introduce to you the Folded Hills Ranch, our most premier property yet, near the town of Solvang in the Santa Ynez Valley!
About Folded Hills Ranch
Folded Hills Ranch is an expansive 600-acre private retreat, providing serenity, peaceful quiet and relaxation to all its guests. It’s easy to kick back and have a great time with all the activities Folded Hills Ranch has to offer, including a pristine lake with a dock for sunbathing, fishing, kayaking and paddle boarding. For the active guests, the grounds feature a tennis court, basketball court, and 16-acre manicured sports field for soccer, softball or golf. If nature is on your mind, there are hiking trails for scenic adventures on-foot. The estate even features an organic farm bursting with organic local produce where you can pick your own berries. To connect with family or friends, enjoy a meal together using the outdoor BBQ, have a glass of wine at the cozy outdoor fire pit, or share memorable conversations in the rocking chairs on the porch overlooking Folded Hills Ranch.
In the Heart of the Santa Ynez Valley
Folded Hills Ranch is just a 10 minute drive from Solvang, a quaint danish town nestled in the heart of the Santa Ynez Valley. Nojoqui Falls Park, a must-see site in the Valley, is a leisurely walk from the property. Gaviota Beach is a short 10-minute drive away, as are the many wineries and delightful local businesses, shopping and restaurants of the Santa Ynez Valley. The bustling city of Santa Barbara is just over a half hour away.
Perfect for Large Groups
Folded Hills Ranch can sleep 17 people, but can accommodate up to 20 people for a meal together in the large dining room. This expansive vacation rental is perfectly suited for large groups. Its size is great for dinner parties, corporate events, family reunions, housing wedding parties, special retreats and more. If you are vacationing with a large group, this vacation rental is a great way to keep everyone together and provide a unique and memorable getaway to the Santa Ynez Valley.
“Take a look at my family crest, and you will find a boar’s head, an ancient symbol of hospitality,” says the iconic pop superstar Fergie (Stacy Ferguson), of Grammy-winning Black Eyed Peas fame. As the co-founder of Ferguson Crest Winery in Solvang, California alongside her father Pat, Fergie expressed her desire to bring a different flavor to the wine industry, and that is precisely what Ferguson Crest offers. The winery’s varietals are just as unique as they are attractive, and the winery’s surroundings make the experience that much sweeter and more memorable.
Based in the California wine country of the Santa Ynez Valley, nested in the hills of Solvang, the winery offers an exquisite wine collection, including two Viogniers, one Cabernet and one Syrah. In addition, it has the ambiance that any wine lover would approve of, and it epitomizes what Fergie is all about: character, individuality and surprise, which, of course, heightens the winery’s appeal.
Indeed, the success of Ferguson Crest can be attributed to Fergie’s high-profile status, but the wine “Fergalicious” is one of the many reasons that Ferguson Crest is already so deeply respected and popular in the area. It has even captivated Oprah’s attention! Oprah wasted no time letting the world know how fond she was of the winery after a recent visit to Solvang to sample some of Ferguson Crest’s delectable wines in their place of origin. Fergalicious is just one of the many wines that Ferguson Crest has to offer.
Unlike a lot of other wineries, Ferguson Crest was built from the ground up right here in Solvang. Fergie and her family planted their first basket of grapes on one acre in 2007. It took only five years for that first basket of grapes, on one acre, to turn into the now 6-acre Ferguson Crest vineyard, which is entirely dedicated to harvesting grapes and producing delightful wines. With a family’s bond and pure determination Fergie’s aspiration to produce a line of wines that anyone could appreciate is one of the top reasons to enjoy winemaker Joey Tinsley’s creations from Ferguson Crest. This winery is all about delivering a unique product of excellent quality, and that is precisely what it does with all of its wines.
If you’re visiting the Santa Ynez Valley, consider adding some of Solvang’s own Ferguson Crest wines to your tasting list for a well-rounded and full-bodied experience. To make your visit even more memorable, consider staying at one of our Solvang vacation rentals!
There are numerous wonderful things to see and do and experience in the Santa Ynez Valley during Autumn. It’s one of the most beautiful times of year to visit! Here are a few of our favorite events that happen during the fall months.
Celebration of Harvest – October
Celebration of Harvest is one of the biggest wine events of the year in the Santa Ynez Valley. It is sponsored by the Santa Barbara County Vintners Association. More than 100 member wineries participate, and it’s the perfect time to meet area vintners, learn more about the harvest and wine-making, and sample local wines. In addition to enjoying the fruits of the harvest, you can also sample delicious local food from area restaurants, caterers and gourmet food creators. This year’s event is October 12, 13 and 14, 2012. More Information About the Santa Barbara Celebration of Harvest or Read Our Article About the Harvest Festival for More Info
Brander Winery Annual BBQ – October
Brander Winery hosts a traditional barbeque every year on the Saturday of the Celebration of Harvest Weekend. This year’s event is October 13, 2012 and will feature an Argentine BBQ from noon to 4 p.m. Attendees can enjoy the musical stylings of Flamenco guitarist Chris Fosse, along with numerous wine samplings and delicious BBQ. Wine club members get free entry, and guest tickets are $25 per person. More Information About the Brander Winery Annual BBQ
Bruegala Buellton: A Festival of Beer – October
This is the first year for this all-new German-style beer festival. Attendees can sample traditional food and enjoy beer maidens serving Bavarian brews, as well as bands “playing lively tunes and leading singalongs of old time drinking songs.” The festival will feature the best German style brews from local, regional and international craft breweries. Tickets are $25 in advance or $35 at the door, and they include the beer stein, meal, live entertainment and six 6-ounce beers. For a little extra fun, come dressed in a dirndl or lederhosen to get a free beer ticket! This year’s event will be October 27 from 2 to 6 p.m. at River View Park. More Information About the Bruegala Buellton
Solvang Prelude Bike Ride – November
In this annual biking event, you can choose between 35, 50 and 63-mile rides, and you can ride either solo or in a tandem team. This year the race begins and ends in Buellton, and the rural routes are both beautiful and scenic. In addition to the rides, there is also a Cycling Festival with outdoor music, a live DJ and vendors. There is also a catered luncheon, with tickets available for preorder. This year’s event is November 2 and 3, 2012. More Information About the Solvang Prelude Bike Ride
Annual Vaquero Show & Sale – November
Attendees of the annual Vaquero Show & Sale and look forward to a preview party, gala dinner, two-day show and equestrian demonstrations. This event honors the lifestyle and renowned horsemanship of the California Vaqueros (cowboys), who developed their unique skills on the cattle ranchos of Central California during the Spanish/Mexican Colonial period. This weekend will gather noted artisans and collectors from throughout the western U.S. to display and sell their hand-tooled leather saddles, braided Vaquero-style riatas, bridles, reins and other Vaquero-inspired horse tack, as well as Western art, apparel, books, memorabilia and jewelry. This year’s event is November 9, 10 and 11, 2012. More Information About the Vaquero Show & Sale
For more information about these and other upcoming events in the Valley, check out our Santa Ynez Valley Events Calendar! Planning to visit the Santa Ynez Valley to enjoy one or more of these wonderful traditions? We would love to have you stay at one of our beautiful, memorable Santa Ynez vacation rental properties.
Solvang, California residents will have yet another resource to go green and lighten their carbon footprints on the planet. Solvang has 6 electric vehicle charging systems open as of March 1, in addition to 12 other electric vehicle charging stations throughout Santa Barbara County, in areas like Ventura, Lompoc and San Luis Obispo.
According to this report, driving an electric vehicle that you charge at home can lower your fuel cost to the equivalent of $1 per gallon A one-hour charge costs about $1.25 to $2 and gives an electric vehicle a about 15 miles of energy in the batteries.
Care about the environment and considering a visit to beautiful Solvang, California? Check out these Solvang vacation rentals.
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.