Wow! It has taken me forever to get these pictures up! Last month I had the opportunity to travel the country with an amazing organization that is teaching kids the importance of responsible pet ownership (more about PEP! & what we’re doing in a later post!). Our first stop was 3 days in Los Olivos, California. I’ve never been to the west coast, so I was so excited for this girls-only trip with some of my favorite ladies!
Los Olivos is a small town in the Santa Ynez Valley, just north of Santa Barbara. They were having a heat wave while we were there, meaning that temps were in the high 80’s, which seemed cool to us! The main street is lined with tasting rooms, shops, galleries, & restaurants. It was great to be able to walk anywhere & we spent a good bit of time just wandering. One thing to note about Los Olivos, it is a quiet town, so the tasting rooms close around 6pm & the restaurants close around 9pm. We typically bought a bottle of wine before dinner & would enjoy it at the cabin after dinner.
We stayed on the main street in town, at the Fess Parker Wine Country Cabins. The cabin was absolutely beautiful! It had two bedrooms, two bathrooms, a full kitchen, living room, & a private courtyard. The courtyard was the perfect spot for our morning coffee or an evening glass of wine! It was so nice to have a place to regroup, spread out, & have small meals. I haven’t had a roommate in over 10 years, so it was fun to have a house full of girls. We had a blast getting ready every night & staying up late to gab.
The first evening began with a glass of wine in the courtyard & a bottle of Grenache Blanc at the Epiphany tasting room. Our cabin was located just behind Epiphany, so all we had to do was walk through our gate! The fruity white wine was one of my favorites from the trip. We ate dinner in nearby Los Alamos at Full of Life Flatbread. Flatbread specializes in artisan, wood-fired pizzas, but we couldn’t resist starting with oysters on the half shell! Many of the restaurants, including Flatbread, are farm to table. Everything we ate was so fresh & full of flavor!
On Friday morning, we had breakfast & coffee on the patio at Petros, a restaurant in the Fess Parker Inn. I could have spent all morning curled up in a chair on the lawn, with a cup of coffee & a good book! Most of Friday was spent at a PEP! outreach event. Our hosts, Old Yeller Ranch & Rescue, planned a wonderful day of education, fun, & food. I’ll be sharing all of the details on the event & Old Yeller next week!
Seriously, how delicious do these chicken tacos look? On Friday night, we had dinner at Sides Hardware & Shoes, located in an old hardware store. I had the most amazing kobe beef sliders! On Saturday morning we all had treatments at the Fess Parker Spa. It had been so long since I had a massage that I didn’t want it to end! It always amazes me how quickly time passes when you’re enjoying a treatment. The spa was beautiful & relaxing. I wish that we’d had an extra day to return & spend time by the pool. Maybe next trip!
After exploring the town & doing a little shopping (couldn’t resist the cutest little shops), we headed out to Fess Parker Winery & Vineyard for the first tasting of the day. Fess Parker Winery was founded in 1989 by Fess Parker & his son, Eli. What started as a small vineyard quickly grew to include almost 700 acres over 4 vineyards. Parker’s legacy of hospitality is evident the moment you arrive at the winery & vineyard. Guests are invited to a tasting in the main building, where you can buy a bottle of wine to take outside & enjoy. There are picnic areas, where you can bring your own lunch, on a sweeping lawn overlooking the vineyard.
We started our tour with a tasting in the VIP tasting room. We settled into a couch while our guide led us through 6 wines, from a buttery Chardonnay to a rich Syrah. We learned the characteristics of each wine, where the grapes were grown, & the best pairings for each. Our guide showed us how to “roll” our Cabernet to release all of the flavor. Laying my glass on its side & rolling it across the table to aerate the wine is my new party trick! My favorite, which wasn’t part of the tasting, was the Pinot Noir Rose.
After the tasting at the winery, we came back to town for an outdoor tasting at Epiphany. Sitting on the outdoor couches & visiting with the groups around us was the perfect end to our day.
Walking to dinner, we stumbled upon The Crooked Path, a private home whose yard is open to the public in the evenings for live music. You’re encouraging to bring some food & wine, grab a table, & enjoy the music. Being from Louisiana, we love any chance for live music! Of course, we had to grab a seat for a little while. Throughout the trip, I was struck by how hospitable, easy-going, & generous everyone was.
Dinner on Saturday night was on the patio at the Los Olivos Wine Merchant Cafe, where Sideways was filmed. We took advantage of any opportunity to eat outside, since it’s so rare that the weather at home allows it. This was the best meal of the trip & I highly recommend getting a reservation if you’re in Los Olivos. It was also the only place I found that would ship wine to Louisiana, so the sommelier helped me put together a case of Santa Ynez Valley wines. On Sunday morning, it was back on the plane & off to our next stop!
**Although we were guests of Fess Parker Winery & Old Yeller Ranch & Rescue, this post was not sponsored**