Summer in the Valley provides a plethora of outdoor activities, including wine tasting, brewery tours, equestrian events, summer celebrations, farmers markets, and even cool restaurants to check out. You may have to visit the Valley more than once to really get a taste of what it has to offer!
Schedule Your Vacation to Santa Ynez
Not sure of what to do on your vacation? We’ve got some suggestions! Beer lovers can beat the heat and party at the Figueroa Mountain Brewery, and find the humor in life at the brewery’s comedy night.
Summer Arts in the Valley
Theatre and film enthusiasts alike can get lost in fairy tale land at a musical performance under the California stars at the Solvang Festival Theater or screen a movie at the Buellton Oak Park in Solvang. Fans of visual art can browse the finest local art available at the museum, and even purchase local Santa Ynez Valley art the second Saturday of every month. Dance a little and blow some bubbles with your little ones during kid-friendly Music on the Green in Solvang.
Food and Drink
With all of the picturesque vineyards in the area, you’d be amiss not to sample some of the finest local wines of the Valley. Pick out your favorite fresh fruits and vegetables at the Farmers market to plan a great picnic.
Indulge in a handcrafted cocktail at the S.Y. Kitchen, or engage in the best people watching with some great food. The Farmstead allows visitors to forage for fruit for a rewarding experience and have Chef Jake Francis prepare it. Think “gourmet hot dogs” is an oxymoron? Think again! The Doggy Door in Los Olivos is perfect for all ages and attitudes. Wake up and get your caffeine fix at our coffee shop in the Valley.
R&R in the Valley
Take a drive through pristine central coast hill country to a remote Santa Barbara County beach with the world’s best burger.
Spend the day in Los Alamos digging for funky finds, tasting wine, and eating at the hippest new restaurants. Book a massage therapist or get needled by an acupuncturist to deepen your vacation relaxation, many of whom will go right up to your door.
The Great Outdoors
Rent a bicycle and get route tips from the pros, or live out your Old West fantasies at Vino Vaqueros — with wine, of course. Hike a local favorite, Figueroa Mountain, or just turn the A/C on and take the “long way” from Los Olivos to Santa Ynez through the mountains. Get a bird’s eye view of the Valley in a hot air balloon ride. If you’re getting out (or staying in) and getting active, go for some paddle boarding, surfing, kayaking or indoor rock climbing. Pet owners can take their pups to the only Santa Barbara Country off-leash dog beach around to play with his/her peers.
The Valley is a haven of summertime fun, adventure, and relaxation. For suggestions or to book a home in the heart of it all, contact us today!
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.
Spring is a time of new beginnings, celebrating life and birth.
In recent weeks Santa Ynez Valley has brilliantly erupted with color. Wildflowers paint the rolling hills in shades of mustard, orange, and violet. Local restaurants are hauling in cartons of locally foraged mushrooms for their seasonal menus. In the pastures along the country roads clumsy foals are taking their eager first steps. Spring has arrived. Each year our magnificent planet reminds us of life’s cyclical nature, and we have an opportunity to celebrate with both the Spring Equinox and Easter fast approaching.
To our surprise, the property that is most befitting of Easter’s spirit is still available. Folded Hills Ranch, nestled among 600 rolling green acres between Nojoqui Falls Park and the Gaviota Pass, is the idyllic estate to hold your annual Easter gathering. The home is reminiscent of a gracious, old world plantation home that’s been classically restored with modern amenities. Thoughtfully styled, a distinct charm radiates throughout the home and the three surrounding private cottages. Folded Hills Ranch sleeps 18 people. You can rest assured you can bring the whole family, and likely more.
Here, you can turn Easter into an entertaining and educational experience for the little ones. We can make arrangements for Santino, the groundskeeper and livestock manager, to introduce each member of the Folded Hills Ranch farm animal family (goats, emus, llamas, pigs, mules, cows, etc.) to your family, including the newest arrival Judy, the baby Sicilian donkey. My goodness, is she cute! By the time Easter rolls around though, who knows how many other tiny, new creatures will be gracing the acres of Folded Hills Ranch? Santino will also assist you in gathering freshly laid eggs from heritage hens. These eggs are already colorful, but with a few dips of (natural) food coloring would be ready for one of the grandest Easter egg hunts we can imagine.
Just down the road, adjacent to the Folded Hills Ranch is the new Farm•Stead, a truly delightful representation of organic farming on the Central Coast. You’ll find the soil here is bursting with life. Take advantage of the food voucher you will receive upon arriving to Folded Hills Ranch. Grab a basket and head to the fields to harvest your own beets, chard, and the first strawberries of the season. The team here at Santa Ynez Vacation Rentals has spent many afternoons lunching at the Farm•Stead barn and have fallen in love with the animals, the vibrantly fresh produce, and the irrepressible smiles of the farmers, Abel and Eliberto. Check out all that the Farm•Stead has to offer at FarmsteadCA.com.
Play a post-Easter egg hunt game of croquet on the 16 pristine grass acres, and spend the afternoon fishing on the 2.5-acre lake. Later, enjoy a lunch of your freshly caught large-mouth bass or catfish on the expansive sun dock with a shaded entertaining area and full wet bar. If you’re keen to get some exercise during your holiday, hit the tennis court with your most competitive family member, jump on the paddle board in the lake, take a swim in the saltwater pool, or guide the family on a hike through one of the meandering forest trails. Unwind around the outdoor fire pit after dinner where you can share stories over a glass of wine before heading your separate ways to fall asleep to the sounds of a country night.
All that I’ve mentioned here is included in the price of your stay. Additionally, Chef Mark is available to host private brunches or dinners on the premises, and the team here at Santa Ynez Vacation Rentals will stop at nothing to ensure you’re fully enjoying your stay.
We can’t think of a more intimate and authentic Easter experience than the one offered at Folded Hills Ranch. Spring is all about new beginnings, so how about beginning a new family tradition by bringing your loved ones to this little paradise on the central coast?
The Ancient Greek language makes a distinction within the concept of love leading to the use of four different words for love: éros, philía, storge, and agápe. Éros is defined as an intimate sort of love, philía is an “affectionate regard” often found within friendships, storge the natural and immediate love one finds with family, while agápe is a universal love, one of charity, goodwill, and benevolence. Agápe is giving love for the sake of giving love, without an expectation of it’s return. Thomas Aquinas further explained it as “to will the good of another.”
Éros, romantic love, is often the focus of upcoming Valentine’s Day. This day dedicated to romantic love is an opportunity to recognize and honor the bond between partners, and it’s the perfect excuse to steal away for a few romantic days in the country with the one you love. Our guests who will be staying with us for this special weekend will be treated to a few sweet surprises of the chocolate variety upon their arrival. We have also designed an array of services in the hopes of providing a sense of ease and indulgent luxury to our valued guests. These services include, but are not limited to, floral arrangements, on-site couples massage, and an intimate dinner for two prepared on-site by a local chef. We are also more than happy to help arrange any “grand gestures” in the name of love, perhaps a proposal in a hot air balloon thousands of feet above our beloved Valley?
While we at Santa Ynez Vacation Rentals wholeheartedly believe in celebrating éros, we also believe strongly in the practice of agápe daily. Our friends at Zella Woods have incorporated the two kinds of love in their design of a “loved” cuff bracelet. It’s truly a double whammy of love in that it makes a beautiful gift for your loved ones, and also acts in the name of charity. In fact, $10 from every loved item purchased through February 14th will be donated directly to The Trade Foundation. The Trade “has done tremendous things over the years to raise Cambodian women up out of sex trafficking, provide training and education in haircutting, hairstyling and makeup, and offer new life to women who have suffered unimaginable heartache.”
We’ve come upon a new year and we’re off to a fresh start with our NEW grocery delivery service.
We all know how easy it is to throw your money and healthy lifestyle choices out the window on vacation. because you’re being forced to eat out for every meal. One of the luxuries of staying in a vacation rental is the ability to have home-cooked meals when you’re miles away from home. However, it is quite the buzzkill when you finally arrive to your vacation rental, fully prepared to shrug off the worries of the tedious every day and shift into vacation mode when you say to yourself, “Groceries. We still have to go to the grocery store before the fun begins.”
Let us help you save a few precious hours of your relaxing vacation by pre-ordering grocery items with us. It’s simple; we’ll email you a form with a list of oft-ordered items, you fill out the form, add any notes or special requests and send it back to us at least 3 days before your arrival. We will, to the best of our ability, fulfill your grocery request and ensure your fridge is stocked upon your arrival.
Being an eco-conscious small business ourselves, we take pride in offering products from local purveyors like fresh-baked artisan bread from The Baker’s Table, and charcuterie and cheese from the Santa Ynez Cheese Co. We prefer to fulfill your grocery order through the independent and primarily organic grocers in the Valley, but at your request we will happily deliver from nearby Albertsons.
All kitchens in our vacation rentals are stocked with the tools and supplies you’ll need to prepare a meal, and most of our rentals have outdoor barbecues perfect for grilling a steak. Some of our rentals are even outfitted with outdoor wood fired pizza ovens. Plan for an easy evening of entertaining with a pizza night using dough we’ve sourced from a local Italian restaurant or make sandwiches for a picnic lunch out at one of the vineyards on the Foxen Canyon Wine Trail.
Keep this new year fresh and optimize your vacation space and time by allowing us to do your grocery shopping. You’ll be switching into vacation mode in no time.