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San Luis Obispo

Beverly from San Luis Obispo asked

Santa Barbara wine country ideas?

My boyfriend and I have heard so much about the wine country near Santa Barbara, so we've been meaning to go for a while and are now finally doing it (we also may have been inspired by recently watching the movie Sideways, which we heard was shot near there and looked beautiful!)

This will be our very first time taking such a trip down there so any tips to narrow down where we should spend our time would be really helpful. Thanks!

Santa Barbara (California)

1 Answer
answered first by
Brew from Manhattan Beach

I see that you're from SLO, so in the case that you're driving there, there are plenty of great wineries on the way down, too. I always recommend people stop by  Foxen Vineyard. This winery is just a small shack on the side of the road, but I think the Foxen Canyon Trail is worth a drive, for some good central California scenery (if you go up the road from Los Olivos, you'll see Firestone Vineyard, Fess Parker Winery, Foxen and if you stay on the road, you'll go all the way out to Rancho Sisquoc Winery winery, which is a cool spot, but pretty far out there. It's at the very end of the Foxen trail winery route... like I said, far out there, but an interesting spot if you have time to kill.

For food, there are good steaks at  Hitching Post II. Famous from Sideways fame (this is where Miles would walk, sit at the bar and drink wine)... their Pinot, the "Highliner" is very good. My wife loves the artichoke.

Also, you should check out these places:

Maverick Saloon a great cowboy bar, but I added it to pin the street it is on. This is the main street in Santa Maria, which is a classic west town. Definitely worth a drive down this street. Most people wouldn't imagine a cowboy town 40 minutes from Santa Barbara, but there is.

Grappolo is a very good Italian restaurant in Santa Ynez. On the old main street, which is a classic western/cowboy town and street.

Cachuma Lake Park is another good place to drive by. I wouldn't stop here, but the drive to/from Santa Barbara and Santa Maria, past the Lake is beautiful. We normally take the 101 on the way up and the 154 on the way back (or vice versa).

Cold Spring Tavern is another old stagecoach stop... if you end up going to Los Olivos/Solvang area and take the route over the pass, past Lake Cachuma, this is a little restaurant bar that is a cool place to stop for a drink if you're thirsty or hungry.

The Andersen's is an authentic Danish bakery on State Street in Santa Barbara. Very good pasties, food and excellent coffee. However, if you'll be drivin gup to Solvang/Los Olivos, I would opt for Olsen's, as the overall Danish experience is better.

Comments (1)

I second Foxen, Rancho Sisquoz, Grappolo and Cold Spring Tavern for food. I'll add some more wineries later.

Mentioned in this answer:

  1. Foxen Vineyard (attraction)
  2. Firestone Vineyard (attraction)
  3. Fess Parker Winery (attraction)
  4. Rancho Sisquoc Winery (attraction)
  5. Hitching Post II (restaurant)
  6. Maverick Saloon (attraction)
  7. Grappolo (restaurant)
  8. Cachuma Lake Park (attraction)
  9. Cold Spring Tavern (restaurant)
  10. The Andersen's (restaurant)
comments (1)
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