Santa Barbara limousine services like ourselves transfer clientele to diners on a daily basis. From restaurants overlooking the sea, dining rooms in wine tour country, – to the happening pubs of State Street – these are our recommendations for 10 best dining options on the American Riviera.
From hot air balloon rides, feeding ostriches and jeep rides through the sand dunes, Santa Barbara sure has lots to offer! Whether you are looking for an exclusive wine-tasting tour to the vineyards or you would prefer a dinner cruise in the Santa Barbara Channel, a limo provider can make your excursion even better. What could possibly be better than arriving for your plane- or boat tour with a stretch luxurious limousine? Whether it’s for a birthday party, an outing with friends or for a romantic getaway — let us help you plan out your dream day on the American Riviera. Looking for a tour where you can pick your own fruits? Or would you prefer a tour of the Native-American historic places, or maybe a safari whale-watching cruise in the harbor? These are our picks for the best getaway tours in the city of Santa Barbara!
8. Apple-Picking Tours
A fun adventure for the whole family could be apple-picking at an apple farm. You’ll have many choices in picking an apple farm, but Apple Lane Orchards in Solvang is the most popular for limo service clientele and should definitely be checked out! Here you can pick Golden- and Red Delicious in September-October andGranny Smith apples October and November. Other alternatives for apple-picking include the Ballard Apple Farm, Greenhaven Orchard, Golden Hills Orchards, Country Harvest Apple Orchard, Loyal’s Family Farm and Mueller’s Apple Farm.
7. Feeding Ostriches
Feeding the ostriches and emus as Buellton’s Ostrich Land U.S.A. has become an increasingly popular activity. Our limousine services often head here on tours with families, for kid’s birthday parties and other trips. Here children and adults alike can have fun while photographing and hanging out with the world’s largest birds. And let’s face it, how often do you get the chance to feed ostriches yourself? You can also try out ostrich meat, if you dare, and you can check out or buy gigantic ostrich eggs. Ostrich feathers, oils and jerky are just a few more of the souvenirs available at their gift shop. Being located in Buellton nearby the magnificent wine country, a trip to OstrichLand U.S.A. is easily combined with a Santa Barbara wine-tasting tour by limo or party bus.
6. Touring the Channel Islands
Yet another limo service destination is the Channel Islands National Park. These five islands make up the majority of the California Channel Islands and is a place visited for numerous reasons. Nicknamed “the North American Galapagos Islands”, these islands are home to many animals and plants found nowhere else on Earth. In fact, there are 145 plant- and animal species on these islands that are found nowhere else on the planet. One example is the Channel Island Fox, an endemic fox species that inhabits most of the islands. As each of the islands are unique and different from the others, do some research on the different islands and find out which one you’d like to pay a visit to. Santa Cruz Island is the largest and maybe most diverse. Here you can find caves, forests, beaches, mountains, cliffs and more. Santa Rosa Island may have the most scenic white sandy beaches, while Anacapa Island is small and relatively easy to explore. The national park can be visited by Island Packers.
5. Jeep Riding Tours
With off-road jeep trips in the mountain side, on the beaches and in wine country, Cloud Climbers Jeep Tours are a great way of bonding with friends or family while at the same time enjoying beautiful sceneries and a lot of fun! There are four types of trips offered: sunset-, mountain-, discovery- and wine-tasting tours. The trips take place in six-passenger jeeps and take place in the Santa Ynez Mountains and Santa Ynez Valley in Santa Barbara’s backyard wine country. Have fun, explore the vineyards, check out the Ronald Reagan Ranch and enjoy the backcountry! These trips are becoming increasingly more sought-after for limo and airport sedans clients in Southern California. Prefer riding in the sand dunes? Check out Pacific Adventure Tours for Hummer rentals at the Oceano Sand Dunes and Pismo Beach!
4. Sunset Dining Cruise
One of the most romantic getaways on the American Riviera are the sunset dining cruises in the Santa Barbara Channel offered by the Sailing Center. Here you can enjoy wines, cocktails and beer in the full bar while enjoying a dinner with your significant other while watching the waves at sea. Private dinner cruise rentals are available by the Condor Express. For alternative trips, check out the various tours offered by Sunset Kidd, the Santa Barbara Sailing Center and Condor Express! Some of the trips offered by Sunset Kidd include their full moon cruises, valentine’s day cruise, parade of lights cruise and others. Wine-tasting cruises are offered by both Sunset Kidd and the Sailing Center. Live music tours are offered by the Sailing Center and the Condor Express.
3. Whale-Watching Cruise Tours
Whale-watching watching boat tours in the Santa Barbara Channel can be a lot fun, enjoyed by families or couples. Here you will get the chance to observe dolphins, porpoises, Blue whales, Humpback whales, seals, sea lions, killer whales, and more! These tours are offered by Sunset Kidd Sailing Cruises, Santa Barbara Sailing Center’s Double Dolphin, Condor Cruises, Captain Don’s on Stearns Wharf, and by Island Packers in Ventura. Why not book a limo service to the harbor to go whale-watching with the kids, family, significant other or anyone with an interest or love of wildlife.
2. Hot Air Balloon Rides Over Wine Country
Experiencing the Santa Ynez Valley and its gorgeous vineyards from above can be a beautiful experience. Here you can bring your significant other along for a romantic balloon ride above the rolling green vineyards and picturesque nature. Contact Sky’s the Limit Ballooning in Los Olivos for a unique balloon ride over Santa Ynez. Alternatively, check out Windhaven Glider Rides or Red Baron Aviation for plane rides over the valley.
1. Santa Barbara Wine-Tasting Tours
There are many wineries, vineyards and wine-tasting venues spread throughout the American Riviera, in the city as well as the nearby wine country in the Santa Ynez Mountains, Santa Maria Valley and the Santa Ynez Valley. Some of the most popular Santa Barbara wine-tasting tours are those to wineries such as Bridlewood, Sunstone and Firestone. These mansions are located in maybe Southern California’s most gorgeous vineyards and are surrounded by pristine nature, rolling hills and ever-green vineyards. Our limousines and airport sedans are daily servicing these vineyards, where we offer top rated wine tours with exclusive price-match-guarantees for all our customers. The small vineyard towns of Santa Ynez and Los Olivos are definitely worth the visit, for the night or just for the day. Here you can stroll the streets of these all-American small towns and enjoy the relaxed and peaceful atmosphere of the wine country.
Of course there are many more tours to be enjoyed in Santa Barbara. Prefer a flight over wine country and the city to take photos? Check out Spitfire Aviation, which specializes in flights for photographing over Santa Barbara and the Santa Ynez Valley! How about a tour of the various wine-tasting rooms in the city? Try the Urban Wine Trail! For those interested in checking out the city, check out the red-tile tours, Segway tours or trolley tours! For those with an interest in local history and Native-American pictographs, why not get a limo or party bus to see the historic sites of the city and the Chumash Painted Cave State Historic Park? For surfing, check out the Lovewater Surf School, and for go-karting, research the great Jim Hall Kart Racing School. The tours “Eat This, Shoot That!” and “Taste Santa Barbara Food Tours” are two great tour ideas for those interested in visited the great eateries and learning more about the great diners and iconic Santa Barbara dishes. If you’re looking for horseback-riding you’ll have many choices in Santa Barbara. One of our favorites include the Alisal Guest Ranch and Resort in Solvang, where you can try horseback-riding in one of Southern California’s most beautiful nature areas with forests, creeks and mountains. For whatever tour and for whatever reason or occasion, limousine services can add an additional tour to your tour, and make your day a day to remember for life!
With its iconic look and unbeatable climate, Santa Barbara is a top choice for movie productions. All the filming locations here make cinematic tours by either a party bus or limo service popular here. With so many famous scenes appearing in movies, TV-series, music videos and more, we often get questions about filming locations for various movies. Besides our exclusive Santa Ynez wine tasting tours to all wineries visited in the movie Sideways (2004), we often get questions of what movies have been filmed in the various places of Santa Barbara County. On a Santa Ynez wine tour you can experience a bunch of more film locales as well. From Stearn’s Wharf, the Mission, State Street, – to acres of wine country, – the American Riviera is an exceptional place for film productions and our gorgeous city is featured in countless films and TV-shows.
Did you for example know that scenes from the Pirates of the Caribbean III: The World’s End (2007) was partially filmed at the beaches of Santa Maria? Or that both Friday the 13th: The Final Chapter (1984) as well as Friday the 13th Part III (1982) have scenes filmed in Santa Barbara? Many also don’t know that the actual location for Tony Montana’s (Al Pacino) home in the hit movie Scarface (1983) actually is located here in Santa Barbara! Let us present to you some of our favorite films and TV productions made right here on the American Riviera.
As most of the city burned down in the early 20th century, it laid the foundation for a brand new city. With architecture mostly based on its old Mission from 1780’s, Santa Barbara became the ultimate and maybe most iconic Californian city. As a local limo service for more than seventeen years, our Santa Barbara limousine hub can testify that it remains so still today. It didn’t take long from Hollywood to discover the natural beauty and quaintness. Movie productions began here already in the early 1900’s, and by 1920, already more than five movies had been made in the city, including titles such as Perils of Pauline (1914), Diamonds from the Sky (1915) and Rivers End (1919). In other words, long before the time of a limo service such as ours, which has served Santa Barbara since 1999. Have you ever been on a local whale safari or tour to the Channel Islands (National Park)? Santa Barbara limo services customers have numerous times mentioned how these beautiful islands, just off the Santa Barbara coast, are featured in the movies. One example could be San Nicolas Island, where Colonel Matrix (Arnold Schwarzenegger) flies to save his daughter in Commando (1985). We have had a dozen clients ask us about where the Scarface final shooting scene took place, even people utilizing LAX airport transfers to visit the home of Tony Montana. For while the film is based in Miami, Florida, the actual location of Tony Montana’s mansion is at 631 Para Grande Lane in neighboring Montecito! Getting a Santa Barbara limousine to visit Montecito might not be the most popular, but tourists using LAX services have come here to check out Montana’s estate.
With various scenes filmed in the area, chances are you may recognize a place or two from the Friday the 13th trilogy. For while the kids in Friday the 13th: The Final Chapter head to “Crystal Point” for a swim, the actual location of the lake (Zaca Lake) is situated in the San Rafael Mountains, a beloved destination for our exclusive Santa Ynez wine tours! Local limousine and party bus rental clientele have also noticed a striking resemblance between the coast of Libya depicted in the film G.I. Jane (1997) and its actual location, namely Guadalupe Beach. Furthermore, our local limousine service have appeared in numerous local TV-productions, including The Bachelor (in 2007), Keeping Up With the Kardashians (2009) as well as The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills (2010). Would it not be cool to ride in a Santa Barbara limousine featured on TV? From The Amazing Race (2011), Top Gear (2012) and X Factor (2011), countless TV-series have been produced here. Another example could be the La Purisima Mission in Lompoc, featured in for example Ghost Adventures (2009) on Travel Channel, where many go for limos for rent to explore its haunted history. There are also supposedly haunted sites where we have taken wine-tasters on a Santa Ynez wine tour.
More interested in films that are actually based in Santa Barbara? For while many may have scenes made here, not all are actually based on storylines out of S.B. However, some of the movies taking place here include Cutter’s Way (1981), It’s Complicated (2009), The Graduate (1967), Demolition Man (1993), amongst others. Chances are you may have recognized various locations from It’s Complicated, for instance scenes shot by the Courthouse or elsewhere in the city. Also featured in this movie is the scenic wine country of inland-Santa Barbara County. This is also where the film Sideways (2004) is both based and filmed, and Santa Ynez wine tours to the movies’ many wineries are popular getaways. Having had a great impact on the blooming wine industry of the valley, wine tasting tours to the region are more popular than ever after this film. And from the Foxen Winery, Fess Parker Winery and Kalyra Winery, we are happy to service all wineries featured in this masterpiece. Not been on a wine tasting tour vacation yet? Seeing this movie is guaranteed to make anyone want to make an escape to our stunningly aesthetic vineyards. Ordering Santa Barbara limousine services to Santa Ynez Valley are more popular than ever. Other movies made in Los Olivos and the surrounding Santa Ynez Valley include Flying Lessons (2010) and Of Mice and Men (1992). All these movies, as well as It’s Complicated (2009), will showcase the valley’s beauty with its rugged, green rolling hills and picturesque wine country. Book your Santa Ynez wine tour today! Bring 20 friends or family members along by renting a party bus! What could be more fun?
So what are the favorite film locations of our Santa Barbara limo services? Besides wine touring the trail of Miles and Jack in Sideways, many like to see where Emma goes to her sister’s wedding in the film No Strings Attached (2011). While the resort depicted in the film is the Four Seasons Resort the Biltmore, the indoor scenes of the resort were filmed at the Bel Air Bay Club in Pacific Palisades. Of course the Montecito mansions featured in Scarface and Bedazzled (2000) also are trending movie destinations. The Gainey Ranch, featured in Of Mice and Men (1992), as well as various locations from Batman the Movie (1966) are well worth a visit. In fact, our limousine service have several times been parked at the approximate location of the Batmobile, right outside Moby Dick Restaurant on Stearn’s Wharf! Want to walk in the footsteps of Meryl Streep instead? The Santa Barbara County Courthouse may not always have an outdoor market in front, but you will definitely recognize its iconic red-tiled roof and architecture in the movie It’s Complicated (2009). A recent trend for tourists have been to order a cinematic tour to the courthouse, often by a Santa Barbara limousine, sedan town car, SUV or with party bus. Film locations in a variety of movies can also be seen on a Santa Ynez wine tour.
Reserving limos for rent in order to visit the famous movie locations are more sought-after than ever. And whether you’d like to see locations from Lassie Come Home (1943), No Strings Attached (2011) or Adaption (2002), our limo and party bus rental services can take you there! Having had the honor of offering Santa Barbara limousine services for nearly 20 years, we know all the film locations tourists love to see!
Elsewhere Santa Barbara County
Besides Tony Montana’s house, there’s a lot more film locales in Montecito. The 2016 film 20th Century Women is filmed entirely in Santa Barbara and Montecito. Also featuring scenes from Montecito are movies such as Summer of 42 (1971), The Pet (2006), Won Ton Ton: The Dog Who Saved Hollywood (1976) and many more. While Lompoc can be seen in The Greed of Men (2013), Lompoc’s Vandenberg Air Force Base can be seen in movies such as the James Bond film Diamonds Are Forever (1971), in the part when a satellite gets launched, and in the 1970 film Moonraker. A designed Santa Barbara County historical landmark in Carpinteria has been featured in numerous motion picture, namely the Casa Blanca Pool House at 851 Sand Point Road. This house can for example be seen in a 1973 episode of Columbo (1971-2003) and a 1984 episode of Dynasty (1981-1989). The water-polo match in the 1932 film What Price Hollywood? was also filmed in Carpinteria, at 3300 Via Real. The Best Western on 4558 Carpinteria Ave. can be seen in My Favorite Martian, a 1999 comedy. A number of movies have also been filmed throughout Santa Ynez Valley, often stopped by on a Santa Ynez wine tour.
Our limo service has served Santa Barbara County now for over seventeen years. Besides the award-winning wine tour selections, we also offer Southern California’s largest fleet when it comes to everything from a party bus selection or limousine vehicles. Book the best rated Santa Barbara limousine today! Call us at (866) 319-LIMO for a free quote to any/from any Southern California location.
Tucked in between the Santa Ynez-Mountains and a curved bay lies one of the most beautiful destinations in Southern California, nicknamed the American Rivera for its idyllic climate and gorgeous beaches. It is no wonder the Spanish missionary settlers named this land la tierra adorada, or “the beloved land”. Despite not getting its Mediterranean Spanish look before the 19th century and even more so after the 1920’s, the Spanish history in this town was remarkable. The Spanish- and Mexican settlers were the only ones to live in this region for decades, which has left its solid historical markers on the city. As a recent client at our Santa Barbara limo service told us: “the American Ribera truly is SoCal’s Spanish gem. From its Spanish atmosphere, to the adobe architecture, and the great Hispanic cuisine.” Despite suffering a loss in the 1860’s through the early 20th century, the old Spanish-Mediterranean architecture and areas of historical significance are now not only protected, but a large number of the historic adobes have been preserved and some resurrected to its original look. Sightseeing the city is as simple as it is rewarding; since its roads are pretty much made for walking, visitors love strolling up and down the streets gently rising from the beaches and leading up to the mission. We not only serve the local area, but the entire county, for instance offering the top rated Montecito limousine alternative on the market. We’d be happy to give you an exclusive experience of the city!
When visiting the American Rivera, make sure to make a quick stop by the Visitor’s Center first to check out their information on upcoming events, current touring packages offered, cultural excursions, and more. Clients utilizing our limos, sedans, and party bus services often tell us about the city’s wonderful rounded archways, palm lined boulevards, and Spanish housing with adobe walls and red tile roofing. As a matter of fact, a popular touring option for the local Visitor’s Center is the Red-Tile Tour. This particular tour begins at the County Courthouse at Anacapa Street, which is an architectural wonder itself with its beamed ceilings, palacio tiled flooring, and arched corridor. This trip also makes a stop at the Hill Carrillo Adobe on Carrillo Street, which is a historic 1826 vintage house. Other favorites amongst our Santa Barbara limo service clients include El Paseo, Casa de la Guerra, Casa de Covarrubias, Historic Freemont Adobe, El Presidio, the Museum of Art, Museum of Natural History, the Mission, Stearns Wharf, and the Zoological Gardens. The Trolley is popular for many exploring the city by foot, and takes riders along the waterfront, through Downtown up State Street, and beyond to the Mission.
Another increasingly popular trend is Santa Ynez wine tour options to the neighboring valley across the Santa Ynez-Mountains. Started in the mid 1990’s and through the early 2000’s, many wineries and tasting-rooms popped up throughout this region, which has become a tremendously popular destination for wine-enthusiasts and others. Even the best experts on the field no longer question the fact that these particular wineries rival those of Sonoma- and Napa Valleys of Northern California. The quantity of wines, wineries, vineyards and visitors are increasing by each vintage, but the number of visitors here are still small enough to give that personal touch, often accompanied with servers and experts that can give details on the varieties our clients are tasting, harvesting methods, food comparing, etcetera. In this region we serve the small towns of Santa Ynez, Ballard, Los Olivos, Los Alamos, and all areas in between. All on a regular basis, providing more Santa Ynez wine tour trips than any of our competitors. While many fall in love with the one-block town of Ballard, others love Santa Ynez’s historic church dating back to 1897. Los Olivos is home to the Mattei’s Tavern, which is a former stagecoach inn dating to 1886. This vineyard region will not let you down, with all its prime wineries scattered around on picturesque backroads and nestled in smaller canyons. Why not get together some friends, rent a party bus, and head on out to explore the wines and vineyards by a luxurious country ride through the stunning natural surroundings? Call us today to speak with one of our reservation and tasting experts who can help you pick what wineries and tasting-venues to experience on your trip to the vineyards.
Located right next to the Pacific Ocean, with a lush Mediterranean climate and a rich history, the City of Santa Barbara is a place you definitely should experience if you haven’t done so yet. Known for its gorgeous beaches and weather, as well as its Spanish colonial architecture and unique city shape, the American Riviera has something to offer each and every one. From the beautiful coastal cafes to thousand-year-old Indian petroglyphs, the city has remained a popular tourist destination for decades. Here you will find California’s oldest mission which is still in use, as well as some of the most expensive residential areas in the United States. The average home price here is over $1.1 million, which is over twice as much as the American average home price. To its immediate south is where we find Montecito, one of the most affluent communities in America, which is served on a daily basis by our award-winning Montecito limousine services. Both this community and the larger S.B. area as a whole are home to countless celebrities and wealthy retirees, possibly due to its prestigious and quiet atmosphere. It is singer and songwriter Katy Perry’s hometown, and has been periodically the home of famous people such as Jennifer Aniston, Charlie Chaplin, Tom Cruise, Ellen DeGeneres, Whoopi Goldberg, Avril Lavinge, Brad Pitt, Ronald Reagan, Jennifer Lopez, Steven Spielberg, and countless other celebrities you may encounter while strolling the boulevards found here.
Further inland is where we find rolling, green hills of the Santa Ynez- and Santa Maria Valleys, two valleys filled with vineyards and famous tasting venues. We are so proud of having offered Santa Maria- and Santa Ynez wine tour trips for more than fifteen years. We are the top rated alternative for anyone wanting to experience the gorgeous vineyards found in the county, besides also offering airport transportation, limos for nights on the town, wedding services, and much more. Not only do we serve S.B. and surrounding areas, but we also serve all of Southern California with our exclusive unmatched price match guarantee. Our fleet is as large as it gets, so if you for example you happen to look for Goleta-, Carpinteria- or Summerland party bus vehicles or limousines, we will be able to assist all your needs for luxurious transportation. Many clients hire from our Santa Barbara limo service to visit the beaches here, and a hugely popular attraction is the tasting venue found on the pier, where you can sip wine while enjoying the beautiful view of the Pacific. Right across the channel is where we find the Channel Islands National Park, home to numerous endemic plant- and animal species found nowhere else on Earth. Just northeast of downtown is where we find the historic and unique mission, which was established in the 1700’s and is the only mission in the state that is still used for weekly Sunday church services. The zoo with its botanical garden, right off Highway 101, is home to animals such as sea lions, monkeys, elephants, lions, reptiles, and much more. With its own petting zoo, this is a great place to bring the kids for a day of adventure and excitement! Make sure to also check out the Moreton Bay fig tree, which was planted in the 1870’s and is the oldest fig tree found in America.
South 15 minutes of S.B. is where the lovely beachside community of Summerland is found. Here, many of our clients love to visit the restaurants overlooking the ocean or one of its many larger beaches. By renting Summerland party bus vehicles or limos, you can head from here to any destination in Southern California with our premier transportation services. Just south of S.B. is where Montecito is situated, a community that has been ranked by Forbes as the wealthiest community in the state. Home to an abundance of multi-millionaires, as Oprah Winfrey as an example, hiring a Montecito limousine has been a popular thing to do for decades. Further north is where we find Goleta, a lovely seaside community known for its many great wedding venues. Our Santa Barbara limo service has transported countless clients for their weddings here, which has also been the wedding destination for numerous celebrities, including for example singer and songwriter Fergie, Travis Barker, Jennie Garth, and many more. Even if you haven’t been in the area before, you may very well recognize it from your favorite movie or TV-series. Countless movies have been filmed in the county, and clients visiting S.B. for the first time often mention how they have seen the city before, either it’s from Katy Perry’s music video “Teenage Dream” or it’s from movies such as Batman, My Favorite Martian or It’s Complicated. Many of the clients partaking in a Santa Ynez wine tour like-ways also recall having seen the roads, wineries and tasting venues in films such as Sideways (2004).
When it comes to a luxurious ride in the S.B. area, you have many choices in choosing services for your transportation. Always make sure to check out the reviews before booking, and maybe more importantly, remember to call a few of the services to ensure that you are paying a right price for your ride. We are not only the best rated transportation company in the region, but we also offer an exclusive price-match-guarantee, so all our clients are guaranteed the most affordable – and luxurious – transportation experience possible.
The following text is a copy of a customer blog post, a recent wine-touring review, sent to us from Carolyn in New York.
Dear transportation company that helped us experiencing the vacation of a lifetime last week. We – me and my hubby, – went on a four-day last minute trip to Santa Barbara, California. We travel here a lot for the great beaching, shopping on State Street, and just living the easy life for a few days with the gorgeous Mediterranean feel of the American Riviera. Last time we were bringing the kids, which of course meant a few visits to the local zoo among other kid friendly activities. On this particular trip, my husband and I decided to go on a date trip without friends or kids for once. The freezing New York weather helped us greatly in picking location; it had to be either Key West or Southern California. After researching one night on the computer, my husband turned over to me with a smile: “You know babe, our wedding anniversary is coming up pretty soon, let’s plan on a trip to SoCal!”, he said. “Why SoCal? We could go to Miami and find something cool there?’, I replied. He then showed me something he had been researching apparently since the last time we traveled to SoCal: “Santa Ynez wine tour selections”! Right there and then, we both agreed to celebrating our wedding anniversary exploring the wineries and tasting-venues in the area.
Arriving in the American Riviera
While at the hotel in S.B., we started asking and researching what Santa Ynez wine tour we should go for. There were so many options to choose from!! After consulting with the hotel receptionist and actually asking at a local restaurant, we checked out Santa Barbara County Limousines. After calling them and a couple of other more expensive alternatives, we went for the best rated – and surprisingly also the cheapest one, – that we could fid. We also knew that we wanted a larger vehicles than a standard stretch, and some of the services apparently did not offer party bus services. While some were expensive, we liked that this particular company also offered a price match guarantee, which none of the other Santa Barbara limo service companies seemed to do. Early Saturday morning the chauffeur had arrived – fifteen minutes before time – which was actually kind of nice, as we were a bit worried with the traffic, accountability, etc. We wanted the day to be perfect. And that is really what it was. Firstly, we went for our first tasting at the Bridlewood Winery Estate. And this place was magnificent!!! Prior to the trip we of course knew that California produced more than 90 % of all wines in the country, but we always thought this was more true of Northern California. While touring the vineyards though, we actually both agreed – it was in fact NICER than the vineyards of Sonoma- and Napa Valleys. We were totally taken back by the natural beauty of these rolling hills, greenery, and vineyards as far as the eye could see.
Bridlewood: Oak trees and gorgeous nature
When driving up the rather long driveway leading to Bridlewood Winery, we thought at first this gorgeous structure looked like a mission. After hearing its history be were even more baffled. It was once an Arabian equestrian ranch, and was bought by its current owner complete with everything from racetracks to ponds and animals. The tasting rooms were cozy and large, and we preferred sitting outside as it was a sunny day to take in the gorgeous surroundings. The more than 100 acre property is filled with vineyards, rose gardens, ponds, old oak trees and beautiful greenery. We brought some groceries, found a place by ourselves under the oak trees, and picnicked and drank wines like teenagers in love. It was a beautiful moment: 75 and sunny, surrounded by Spanish architecture and great wines, and best of all, with my husband all to myself. Before we jumped in the waiting party bus and took off for our next destination, we checked out their gift shop and stacked up on some of our favorite varietals.
Firestone: Flagship winery of the Santa Ynez Valley
When leaving Bridlewood’s long driveway in our luxurious bus, we were certain that this must be the most beautiful among the wineries in the region. On what was supposed to be a fifteen minute drive to the Firestone, we could just pass Los Olivos after having seen it from the road. This quint, tiny village/town had an awesome little walkable road with numerous cafes, artist galleries, and of course, tasting venues. We decided for a bite at Los Olivos Merchant Cafe, which was fabulous. After buying a few souvenirs at Los Olivos General Store, we were ready to continue our Santa Ynez wine tour experience. Firestone winery we quickly learned was the first winery in the valley. Founded in 1972 by the Firestone family, their vineyards have more or less become an icon for tasting in SB County. Covering vineyards on an area larger than 500 acres, Firestone MUST be the nicest winery in the valley! It’s huge winery nestled in between the oak trees made the perfect end to touring the vineyards. With the view from the island bar overlooking the never-ending vineyards, with a great wine in my hand watching the sun go down over the hills, our touring was over and we got a Carpinteria limousine to take us back to coast.
My conclusion is, if you like (aka love) wines, go for some great touring of the vineyards in Southern California! It’s an experience of a lifetime. If you are thinking about visiting these vineyards, a great tip is to check out the movie Sideways from 2004, which depicts for example the local cafe we visited in Los Olivos and several wineries and vineyards, including Firestone. See you next time, SB!