Incredible sunrise hot air balloon flights in the Santa Ynez Valley available seasonally; by request. Flights are 45-60 minutes soaring to several thousand feet providing stunning Valley views--over vineyards, ranches, fields and oaks. Watch for wildlife. Enjoy champagne toast celebration. A family-owned business since 1973. Hotel pick-ups available. Call for reservations, rates, specials and directions.
Cachuma Lake Nature Center HC 59, State Highway 154 Santa Barbara CA 93105
Cachuma Lake Nature Center is a facility which offers exhibits and programs to thousands of guests each year free of charge: children on field trips, youth organizations, tour groups, camping clubs, churches, individual campers and day use visitors. The Center is unusual because of its location in a lovely, 1950s ranch house, its emphasis on hands-on materials, and its focus on local human and natural history. For information on Cachuma Lake Recreation Area (camping, boating, pickning) call 805-686-5050.
Chumash Casino Resort & Spa 3400 E. Highway 246 Santa Ynez CA 93460
Tel: 805-686-0855 Toll-Free: 1-877-CHUMASH Fax: 805-686-3888
Located right on Highway 246, just three miles from Solvang, the Chumash Casino Resort, with 2,000 slot machines, 40 blackjack tables, high stakes area, poker room, and the friendliest high stakes Bingo, also features three restaurants, showroom, and gift shop. Open 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Special promotions throughout each month. Call toll-free 1-877-CHUMASH. Plus, now open 106 room AAA four-diamond hotel and 5,000 square foot Spa.
Clairmont Farms 2480 Roblar Street Los Olivos CA 93441
Tel: 805 688 7505
Clairmont Farms is a family owned lavender farm. Located in the Santa Ynez Valley in Los Olivos. There are five acres of the Grosso variety lavender, known for its healing quality. The fields are breathtakingly beautiful with the backdrop of the Santa Ynez Mountains. Three hundred year old oak trees dot the grounds. Filmmakers, photographers and painters arrive each year and apply their craft. The driveway is lined with olive trees that were planted by the Spanish Missionaries over 175 years ago. In addition to our essential oil, we also offer a complete line of lavender based personal care products, homemade soaps, etc. The farm in open to the public from 10 am to 6 pm daily. Tours each day with no charge. Visitors are welcome to stroll through the fields, picnic and shop in our boutique located next to the fields.
PCPA Theaterfest 800 South College Drive Santa Maria CA 93454
Tel: 805-928-7731 Fax: 805-928-1142
A nationally-renowned theatre company performing year-round in Santa Maria in the Allan Hancock College Performing Arts Center and June-October "under the stars" in Solvang's 700-seat Festival Theatre, the only outdoor venue for live theatre on the Central Coast. Call 805-922-8313 for show information.
Rancho Oso Guest Ranch & Stables 3750 Paradise Road Santa Barbara CA 93105
Tel: 805-683-5686 Fax: 805-683-5716
Rancho Oso is located in the heart of the Los Padres National Forest and its hundreds of miles of riding trails. The beauty of the mountains and rich history of Rancho Oso combine to provide one of the most memorable riding and recreational experiences in Santa Barbara County.
Rancho San Marcos Golf Course 4600 Highway 154 Santa Barbara CA 93105
Tel: 805-683-6334 Fax: 805-692-8805
Newly renovated and re-opened July 4, 2007. Considered by many to be the premier golf experience in Southern California. Set in the mountains 12 miles outside of Santa Ynez, Rancho San Marcos Golf Course spectacularly captures the natural beauty and distinctiveness of its surroundings. Built on the site of the historic Rancho San Marcos, circa 1804, this Robert Trent Jones, Jr. designed gem gracefully saddles the natural topography meandering amidst a plethora of ancient oaks, and preserved traces of 19th century adobe structures and the rugged San Marcos Stagecoach trail.
Santa Ynez Valley Arabian Horse Association Santa Ynez CA 93460
Tel: 805 688 0392
If there's one thing that horse lovers have in common, they love to talk horses! The Santa Ynez Valley Arabian Horse Association originally began as an Arabian Breeders club over 30 years ago. We have some of the most accomplished Arabian & Half-Arabians in the world right here in the Santa Ynez Valley. Many nationally accomplished trainers and internationally acclaimed Arabian breeding farms proudly call the Santa Ynez Valley their home. In fact, we believe there are more Arabians per square mile in the Santa Ynez Valley than anywhere else in the United States, thus the nickname "The Valley of the Arabian Horse." Whether you are just beginning your venture into the world of Arabian horses, or are a lifer, please take the time to contact some of the Arabian horse owners in the Santa Ynez Valley. You will find people who are excited to share their ranches and stories and experiences. Please visit the website www.syvaha.com for a map of the Arabian ranches in the Valley and more detailed information about each farm. For a 68 page directory of the SYVAHA, please call Kelly Elm at 805 688 0392.
Solvang Theaterfest 420 Second Street Solvang CA 93460
Tel: 805 686 1789 Fax: 805 686 5912
The Solvang Theaterfest maintains and operates the Solvang Festival Theater, a 700 seat outdoor facility that operates primarily from June through October, providing a space for PCPA Theaterfest productions. It is thanks to an energetic Board of Directors and a supportive community that the theater has been in operation since 1974.
~ A SPRING WILDFLOWER VIEWING REPORT
Figueroa Mountain Wildflower Update---Early April 2009
By Helen Tarbett, Los Padres National Forest Service Ranger
It's springtime and the wildflowers know it only too well! The vivid blues, yellows, oranges and pinks at Figueroa Mountain are becoming more and more spectacular each day. Come join the tour through Figueroa Mountain. Starting at the first cattle guard as you start up the hill, look for popcorn flowers, blue dicks, buttercups, fiddlenecks, shooting stars, Johnny jump-ups, minors lettuce, lomatium, fiesta flowers, miner's lettuce, sky lupine, creeping Charlie and, milk maids (also known as toothwort) as they continue to bloom, along with Chinese houses that have began blooming this week as well. Look to your left, after two bends up the road, and you will find miniature lupine, well as the beginning blooms of owls clover. On your right, along the rock wall, you'll see even more Indian paintbrush since the last update. The carpet of shooting stars, lomatium, Johnny jump-ups, fiddlenecks and popcorn flowers just a little ways beyond still looks beautiful. A few yards further down the road, the hillside filled with sky lupines, blue dicks and deer vetch can still be seen on the left. In the canopy area just past this hillside, fiesta flowers, Johnny jump-ups, shooting stars, buttercups, popcorn flowers and fiddlenecks are visible. The hummingbird sage is still in its beginning stages.
Continue up the hill and look for vibrant orange California poppies on the rocky hillside to your right. Buttercups, popcorn flowers, fiddlenecks, blue dicks, royal lupine and shooting stars are blooming all the way up the hill, as are lomatium and goldfields. Look to the mountain on the left known as Grass Mountain as it welcomes spring with its beautiful hues of orange and purple of the California poppies and lupine. A few prickly phlox and wall flowers are beginning to bloom while the canyon wild peas continue blooming along the rocky hillsides. Beautiful ceanothus is in bloom here and in many other areas, too.
The chocolate lilies are still quite exquisite at Vista Point (large gravel turnout about 11.4 miles from the bottom.) along with Shooting stars, lomatium and goldfields. Across the road from Vista Point, along the rocky area leading towards the fire station, look for poppies, buttercups, miniature lupine, phlox, blue dicks, shooting stars, goldfields and bigelow coreopsis.
Just beyond the Figueroa Fire Station, the shooting stars are still going strong. About a mile further, the slopes on your left continue to put on quite a show as more and more purple sky lupine and bright orange California poppies carpet this area. Don't forget your cameras! The bush lupine are also beginning to bloom along this area
On Figueroa Lookout Road, the sky lupine and poppies are blooming up to about halfway up the hill. At the higher elevation, beyond Pino Alto, the breathtaking displays still have about two weeks to go.
Along the corridor beyond the campground, lupine, fiddlenecks, popcorn flowers and poppies are visible. As you continue past the serpentine look for the shooting stars, lomatium, sky lupine, buttercups and goldfields. As you drive along the pipe fence area, you will see the ground as it fills with patches of goldfields and look across the pipe fence, to the area on your right where you will find a magnificent display of chocolate lilies along with buttercups and shooting stars.
Just past the gate at Ranger Peak, on the hillside to the right, more and more beautiful baby blue eyes continue to peek through the grass. From the top of Ranger Peak to Cachuma Saddle, you will see more bush poppies and bush lupine as they begin to make their presence known. Ceanothas, purple nightshade, popcorn flower, fiddleneck and Indian paintbrush are in bloom.
Sunset Valley is really beginning to make quite a fashion statement. As you turn onto Sunset Valley and drive to Nira Campground, look for ceanothus, popcorn flowers, baby blue eyes, fiddlenecks, yellow and orange California poppies, bush poppies, miniature lupine, one giant coreopsis, vetch, phacelias, Chinese houses, wild cucumbers, coulter lupine, prickly phlox, chia, spiny lupine, milk thistle, blue dicks, lomatium, canyon wild peas and Nuttles larkspurs.
Happy Canyon continues to show off. As one turns from Cachuma Saddle onto Happy Canyon, ceanothas, California poppies, Nuttles larkspur, coulter lupine, phacelias, purple nightshade, morning glories, sky lupine, royal lupine, spiny lupine, bush poppies, golden yarrow, vetch, bush lupine, fiddleneck, fiesta flowers and popcorn flowers are in bloom. Along the area across Cachuma Campground, prickly phlox, Indian paintbrush and canyon wild peas can be seen. Continuing down Happy Canyon, California poppies, different colors of shooting stars, bigelow coreopsis, globe gilias, popcorn flowers, fiddlenecks, fiesta flowers, buttercups, royal lupine, lomatium, buttercups, prickly phlox, wild cucumber, mustard, shooting stars, morning glories and Johnny jump-ups are quite impressive. Also, look for Mexican elderberry as it begins to bloom.
Don't miss out on this wildflower season! It really seems to be a spectacular wildflower year! Remember to drive safely on the mountain roads and don't forget your Adventure Pass. Until next time, happy viewing!
Look for our next wildflower update in mid-April. For more information, please contact Helen Tarbet at 805-925-9538, ext. 232, or by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.
~ APPLE & FRUIT FARM STANDS
Seasonal apple and fruit stands offer fresh produce throughout the Valley--plus some opportunities to "pick your own". Some options include Apple Lane Farm, 1200 Alamo Pintado Road, Solvang, 805-686-5858; Greenhaven Orchard/Dittmar Farms, 2275 Alamo Pintado Road, Solvang, 805-264-7100; OR Morrell Nut & Berry Farm, 1980 Alamo Pintado Road-Solvang, 805-688-8969.
One of the best ways to experience the sights and sounds of Santa Ynez Valley is on two wheels. Each January, Tour de France winner Lance Armstrong and his team train here. Plus, there are many cycling events year-round (see the events calendar for details). For bicyclists, there are several easy loops from Santa Ynez through the backcountry past horse ranches and vineyards. Access www.sbbike.org for more information. NEW! Experience the SIDEWAYS movie location tour via bicycle! Two 50+ mile rides have been developed by Bicycle Coalition president Ralph Fertig. Download the maps/directions here: http://www.sbbike.org/docs/Sideways-1.pdf http://www.sbbike.org/docs/Sideways-2.pdf or call 805-568-3046 for more information.
Hundreds of species abound. For example, many ardent birders come here to find the Yellow-billed Magpie. This large, crow-sized, black and white bird with a bright yellow bill and a raucous voice is found almost exclusively in California's central and southern sections.
~ CACHUMA LAKE RECREATION AREA
Located 10 minutes from Santa Ynez on Highway 154, this placid and beautiful body of water is home to fish, deer and bobcats as well as 275 species of birds, including migratory bald eagles in the winter. From November through February, eagle cruises depart from the lake marina to reveal these majestic predators in their native habitat. March through October enjoy wildlife cruises, all with naturalist aboard. There are also boat rentals, fishing, plus picnic, camping and play facilities. For general information, call 805-686-5054; for details and reservations on nature cruises aboard the Osprey 48-foot pontoon boat, call 805-686-5050.
~ FARMERS MARKET-SOLVANG
Every Wednesday, year-round, rain or shine in downtown Solvang between Mission Drive (Highway 246) and Copenhagen Drive on First Street. Summer hours: 4:00PM - 7:00PM. Winter hours: 3:00PM - 6:00PM. The freshest fruits, veggies, flowers and local items. Delicious! For more information, access www.sbfarmersmarket.org or call 805-962-5354
~ HANS CHRISTIAN ANDERSEN MUSEUM 1680 Mission Drive Solvang CA 93463
Hans Christian Andersen Museum is located upstairs in the Book Loft building, 1680 Mission Drive. Here the multi-talented father of the modern fairy tale is accessible through his books, sketches, paper cutouts, silhouettes and colleges. Call 805-688-2052
~ HANS CHRISTIAN ANDERSEN PARK
On the outskirts of downtown Solvang on Atterdag Road, enjoy picnic areas, public tennis courts, children's playground, horseshoe pits and group areas. For more information, call 805-688-PLAY.
Figueroa Mountain Road area hiking trails offer opportunities to explore a ruggedly handsome section of the nearby Los Padres National Forest. Wildflowers in the spring are especially plentiful and vibrant.
~ LA PURISIMA GOLF COURSE
La Purisima located west of State Highway 246 on the way to Lompoc features a relaxed setting among gently rolling hills masking a demanding course. At 7,000 yards and par 72, La Purisima is designed to meet the requirements of major PGA and LPGA competition. The course was recently the site of the PGA Tour qualifying finals. Golfers may choose from a full range of services, clinics and special rates. For reservations, call 805-735-8395.
~ LLAMA RANCH
At Tina and Bob Westin's Flying V Llama Ranch, be fascinated by the beauty, intelligence and curiosity of these unique creatures native to the Andes. Tours are $5 per person, available by appointment only. For more information, call 805-735-3577.
~ MISSION SANTA INES
Located at 1760 Mission Drive (Highway 246) in Solvang, this lovely Old Mission was 19th of 21 missions built in California from 1769 to 1836 by Franciscan priests. It was also the first European settlement in the Santa Ynez Valley. At the Museum you can see artifacts and works of early European and Indian art. Mass is celebrated daily. Gift shop available. Museum and Gardens Open Daily 9 am - 5:30 pm. For more information, call 805-688-4815 or go to www.missionsantaines.org
~ NOJOQUI FALLS COUNTY PARK
This delightful spot, part of a county park 20 minutes from Solvang on Alisal Road, is reached via a 15-minute walk on a canyon trail, but is well worth it. In the winter it is a silvery cascade off the cliff, in summer a cool bank of moss, ferns and trickling waters.
~ OSTRICH LAND
A 33-acre breeding farm with more than 100 birds. Kids enjoy the back pen that houses a motley crew of gawky baby ostriches. There is also a smattering of emu on property. A small store sells eggshell paintings, fresh ostrich meat and other souvenirs. Seen in the hit movie SIDEWAYS. Call 805-686-9696 or visit www.ostrichland.com
~ QUICKSILVER MINIATURE HORSE RANCH
Well-known for its thoroughbred and purebred horse ranches, the Valley is also the home of Quicksilver, a miniature horse ranch and breeding facility that welcomes visitors from 10:00 a.m. - 3:00 p.m. daily for free tours. Contact them at 805-686-4002.
~ RIVER COURSE AT THE ALISAL
Alisal River Course is just south of Solvang's Mission Drive on Alisal Road, situated on the banks of the Santa Ynez River against a backdrop of the Santa Ynez Mountains. Four lakes grace the championship course, part of the famous 10,000-acre Alisal Ranch. Sycamores, elderberry trees and oaks punctuate the setting. Par is 72 on each of four sets of tees designed to challenge golfers of any skill level; the championship course is 6,830 yards. Services are full-range while a rustic restaurant and lounge awaits finishers. For more information and reservations, call 805-688-6042.
~ SANTA YNEZ VALLEY HISTORICAL SOCIETY MUSEUM
Santa Ynez Valley Historical Society Museum & Parks-Janeway Carriage House. Located on the corner of Sagunto and Faraday Streets in downtown Santa Ynez. Founded in 1961 by a group of Valley residents dedicated to preserving the rich local history of the region. Eight fascinating rooms of history and memorabilia include Chumash Indian tribe heritage through 20th century ranching days. Of special interest is the Carriage House containing the largest collection of horse-drawn vehicles and accessories west of the Mississippi. Call 805-688-7889 for opening/closing hours and special displays.
~ SOLVANG VINTAGE MOTORCYLCE MUSEUM
The privately owned Solvang Vintage Motorcycle Museum displays a broad variety of classic motorcycles at the Solvang Village Square. 320 Alisal Road, downtown Solvang. Open Saturday & Sunday from 11:00am-4:00pm and during the week by appointment. Call for more info: 805-686-9522
~ ZACA CREEK GOLF COURSE
Zaca Creek Golf Course offers a challenging 9-hole, par 29 layout with a nice view of the Santa Ynez River and the hills in Buellton. Take Highway 246 west to Avenue of the Flags to Shadow Mountain Drive. For more information, call 805-688-2575 or visit www.zacacreekgolfcourse.com