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.