Monday, October 18, 2010

Los Olivos and Other Magnificent Fruits

It's no secret here that Mr. Wonderful and I are winos. In the almost 3 years we've been together, we've visited Napa and Paso Robles twice, the wine country around Santa Barbara five times and the Burgundy region of France once. But all these places have so much more to offer beyond wine alone. There's a wholesome earthiness about each of them that I just adore.

My favorite town in the area above Santa Barbara is a little spot called Los Olivos. I loved running through this area during the marathons I did. I think the population there is only about 5,000 and it has every lovable quality a small town could possibly have: cute shops, charming restaurants, friendly people and a great sense of community. The wine tasting rooms don't hurt either.

When we visited Los Olivos over the weekend, they were having a little street festival, complete with craft stands, barbecue and, as you can see, lots of tractors.

There were also a live country band and some meandering square dancers. There's something so honest about this kind of place. Just good folks trying to live a good life. It's really endearing. Every time we visit, I tell Mr. W I want to live here.

The weather wasn't great, but the landscape around this part of California is always breathtaking. Golden hills dotted by oak trees. Wildflowers and small farm plots. Rows upon rows of gorgeous green vines. We were a bit surprised to see that many of the vineyards hadn't yet harvested their grapes. Apparently the chilly weather this year forced the winemakers to push back picking.

The cacti out front of Alma Rosa's tasting room were beautiful. I don't know what kind they were, but their fruit grabbed me right away. Don't they look like big, fat Christmas lights or holiday ornaments?

On our way back to the 101 freeway, we couldn't resist stopping at a roadside pumpkin patch. We bought two sizable pumpkins for $4.00. Mr. W said he felt so bad they were so cheap that he wanted to give the farmer a $20 tip.

I hope that one day (if I'm still writing here) I'll be writing from the hills above Santa Barbara, finding time to blog between raising my chickens and sheep, and tending to my pumpkins and grapevines.


blakspring said...

those cacti are so cool. i never realized they flower like that.

maybe you and mr. w can have your own vineyard one day :)

LesleyG said...

What a beautiful place to get away! And I'm sure the wine helps. :)

Sizzle said...

It truly is a beautiful part of the country. I'd happily visit you and your chickens (and Mr. W) to sip some of your wine. :-)

Do you like how I just invited myself?

Rachel said...

Looks like fun. I don't have anything to say, just wanted to say hello! Haven't commented in awhile :)

geekhiker said...

Isn't the land up there absurdly expensive these days?

Over my years of traveling around my native state, I've pretty much come to divide my "cute towns" into two categories: those that have a Thomas Kincade gallery and those that don't, and find myself much preferring the latter...

Scribe said...

What a lovely weekend! It does look breathtaking and enough to tempt me to visit. Thanks for sharing it!