Spend your day the Melville way in the Santa Ynez Valley!
Whether you’re coming for a day trip from Los Angeles or a weekend from San Francisco, the Santa Ynez Valley is an easy-to-get-to location that feels worlds away from the hustle and bustle of city life. With an abundance of sun-filled days and mild temperatures year-round, this serene expanse of Northern Santa Barbara County is the perfect quick getaway for families, couples, and singles alike. We invite you to spend a day the Melville way in this special place we call home. Read on for a list of our local favorites to inspire your next adventure!
Start your day with the enticing aroma of fresh-baked bread at a local favorite, Bob’s Well Bread, set in the old-fashioned township of Ballard. Founded in 1880, you will feel like you’ve time-traveled back to the Old West – as this spot was once an original Well’s Fargo stagecoach stop and features an authentic Little Red Schoolhouse. From delicious pastries and breakfast sandwiches to perfectly roasted coffee, Bob’s is sure to fulfill the wake-up cravings of anyone in your group. If you can find a better croissant in America, let us know!
Mid-Morning – Los Olivos…
After your morning “cuppa” from Bob’s, meander 3 miles north to the charming village of Los Olivos, a beautiful New England-esq town, small in size yet rich in personality.
One block west of the flagpole you’ll find J. Woeste, a whimsical wonderland of hand-selected home and garden treasures. We love the feeling of walking into this beautiful indoor-outdoor boutique artfully curated by owner and central-coast native Jefferson Woeste. Browsing the eclectic mix of yard art, garden planters, wind chimes, and hard-to-find pieces is a treat for both the senses and the soul.
Next head into Global Eye, the storefront shop for local Santa Ynez artists Michael Robertson and Kristen Cramer showcasing their multitude of artistic endeavors – from ceramics and word-working to paintings and jewelry. Shopping here is an aromatherapeutic experience in itself. Breathe in….
For clothing and accessories with a “travel state of mind,” pop into the Coco Belle Cabana, a female-owned and operated boutique where bright colors and vibrant prints abound.
Ready to get your drink on? Support our friends at SAMsARA, a small production, hand-crafted winery, or over at Community Craft, where a unique selection of local, boutique, and international beer and wine are poured. “Grab a cup of happiness” at Los Olivos Lemons, a town-favorite lemonade stand (in the shape of a lemon!) offering small-batch ‘ade for kids of all ages.
Midday – Make your way to Melville!
After a busy morning, you’ll be ready to sit down and relax, so turn on some tunes and head over to the Melville Estate in the Sta. Rita Hills. Pick up lunch en-route from Industrial Eats in Buellton, where they serve up seasonal dishes sourced from sustainable farms and food pioneers. Pro tip: the White Shrimp with Pancetta and Caesar salad are winning combinations when paired with our Estate Chardonnay. Our expansive lawn has plenty of seating, allowing for a picnic-style tasting with mountain and vineyard views, and likely a cool breeze rustling through the trees. Sample our current selection of cold-climate Pinot Noir, Chardonnay, and Syrah. Plan ahead and make your reservation online.
Afternoon – Are we in Scandinavia?
From Melville, head West on 246 into Downtown Solvang, the Danish capital of America. This sweet little Scandinavian town will have you feeling like you’ve stepped into a classic European village, complete with windmills and a wooden horse-drawn streetcar. Stroll through the scenic town, admire the architecture and explore the local offerings. Our favorites include wine tasting at Crawford Family Wines, artisan cheeses from Cailloux Cheese Shop, a jolt of java and a “monkey bar” from Good Seed Coffee Boutique and children’s gifts and toys from ONEderChild. Wander the farmer’s market on Wednesdays offering local produce and provisions as well as live music in the summer months…you might even spot a Danish Tomten frolicking about in wooden clogs!
Evening – Small town fare, big-time taste
No visit to the Santa Ynez Valley would be complete without an exceptional wine country culinary experience. Brother’s Restaurant at the Red Barn in downtown Santa Ynez offers a “from scratch” homemade element to their cuisine. While many would argue they cook the best burger in the valley, the chicken is top on our list as well. Put on your boots and poke around this classic Western town if you have some extra time to spare – giddy up!
Chef Budi Kazali at The Gathering Table (back in old township Ballard) blends his Indonesian background with classic French training, delivering an extraordinary and delectable fusion-style menu. Pro tip: The Hamachi has been a staple on the menu for years and is not to be missed!
Are you feeling inspired to visit? With harvest just around the corner, it’s one of the most exciting times of the year in the Santa Ynez Valley. Start making your plans today! For additional tips and resources, Discover Santa Ynez Valley has plenty to share.