Travel Thoughts by Kim

By Kim Pritt, Contributor Posted 22 January 2022 at 3:00 pm

Let’s go on an adventure together….to Santa Barbara, CA!

Santa Barbara was the first stop on a West Coast Adventure I took in March/April of 2017. This was a fabulous trip that lasted about 15 days between a seven day cruise, extra time spent in the San Francisco area, and a train ride to Seattle. Maybe I’ll do an article soon that pulls all the parts of that trip together. For now, I want to talk about Santa Barbara.

Me in the vineyard at LaFond Winery in Santa Barbara, CA. Beautiful landscape and delicious wines.

I had originally booked a walking tour that included food and wine tastings through an eclectic section of Santa Barbara. But, I heard some other passengers talking about a different tour that sounded better, so I swapped them out. I’m really glad I did! The tour I ended up taking included a drive through the wine country surrounding Santa Barbara, visits to two estate wineries, and time for lunch and shopping in nearby Solvang – a quaint Dutch Village. It was a fabulous day!

The ports in Santa Barbara can’t accommodate large ships, so we had to tender in from the ship on smaller boats. The country side around the Santa Barbara area is just stunning! Lots of rolling hills with vineyards and farms as far as the eye can see and mountains off in the distance. It was a gorgeous warm and breezy spring day in California. We were outside a lot of the day and it felt amazing.

We visited two estate wineries – LaFond and Foley Estates. To be considered and “Estate” winery, they have to farm their grapes, process their wine, and bottle it all on their own property – nothing can be outsourced. I enjoy wine tastings – they can be great fun in beautiful settings. Both wineries were beautiful with comfortable and lovely tasting rooms and stunning landscapes. They both offered us samplings of their best wines – both red and white – all of which I really enjoyed, which is not typical for me. I was never really a red wine fan. But, after my trip to California, I grew to appreciate them and absolutely LOVED the Pinot Noir offered by both of these wineries.

The lovely Dutch village of Solvang in Santa Barbara County located in the Santa Ynez Valley stays true to its Dutch heritage.

We spent the afternoon in Solvang. Solvang is a small Dutch city in Santa Barbara County, located in the Santa Ynez Valley. It was founded in 1911 and incorporated in 1985. Solvang is often dubbed “The Danish Capital of America”. To ensure they maintain their identity as a Dutch village, all businesses must have an old world Dutch look. It really makes for a great place to visit. We had lunch “on our own” and lots of time to shop and wander around the unique village. 

For lunch I chose a small diner and had a sampling of various Dutch sandwiches on pumpernickel bread and potato salad – so good!!! I couldn’t resist capping off the meal with the specialty dessert – Aebleskiver!!! They are warm, soft donut-type balls with raspberry jam and powdered sugar. There were three on the plate, but they were so huge that I was only able to eat one and a half! They were amazing…..I wished I had left more room so I could finish them! 

Taking the horse trolley through the village of Solvang was a joy. Seeing them around the village was pretty cool, too!

After lunch, I visited many of the shops and sat on benches enjoying the wonderful day in such a lovely Dutch setting. It was a short day in Santa Barbara, but very memorable. It gave me a taste of the area, of the wonderful California wines, and an amazing Dutch inspired lunch. You can’t beat that! If given the chance, I would definitely return for another look around this beautiful area of California.

Visit the blog post I wrote about my day in Santa Barbara for more photos (click here).

Happy Adventuring,
Kim Pritt