Santa Barbara - Still a Classic
Santa Barbara has become a focal point in the southern reaches of the Central Coast AVA in California. Visiting the city presents a rewarding part of experiencing the regional diversity of AVA's that call Santa Barbara County their home considering the depth of urban winery tasting rooms immediately available.
March 26, 2013
When I was a young kid growing my Dad used to take us what seemed like every summer Sunday up to Santa Barbara. Each Sunday morning we would pack up for the day and head up 101 to get out of the valley heat in Los Angeles. It was during those days I developed an appreciation for just how beautiful the place was and my view is the same after forty-five years. And yes, it did become a place for the rich and famous but for me its retained that excitement of hanging out on the beach, walking the shoreline and taking in that California beach culture some many years ago.
I still go back there for business and I also show up from time to time on my motorcycle and while the place has changed the fond feeling I have continues. Getting there on a motorcycle is fun and scenic especially coming from the north where from San Luis Obispo you can take an inland route that gets you the famed Foxen Canyon Road. This road is ridden by bicyclists and motorcyclists alike and is a great diversion from Highway 101.
According to Esau’s “The Santa Barbara Chef Scrambler was developed by professional chefs who understand the unique need of whipping air in egg dishes to make them fluffy.”
If you are looking for something to do in the evening take a walk down State Street with it's shops and restaurants and all types of people from college kids to talented street entertainers. It’s a great way to spend a few hours and check out the local scene.
Looking for wine? Well old timers will tell you Santa Barbara County has been growing great wine grapes for years but really seemed to get on consumer radar with the advent of the Sideways movie back in 2004. You remember it’s a fun wine tasting road trip by a couple of friends that takes you through the Santa Ynez Valley. The Santa Barbara County appellation - including the AVA's of Santa Maria Valley, Santa Ynez Valley and Sta. Rita Hills - produces a wide variety of fine wines including Chardonnay, Pinot Noir, Sauvignon Blanc, Merlot, Cabernet Franc, Cabernet Sauvignon and Syrah, along with sweet dessert wines. There are unique differencea in the same varietals dependant on their vineyard locations and winemaker approach and each AVA, or appellation, has a signature wine.
Yes Santa Barbara has changed a lot since those early days of my youth but as it has aged so have I so we're still in step. If you haven’t visited in a while or you have never been it might be time to check it out. It’s especially great to see and experience if you're on two wheels as I often am. But you will have just the same great time in a car.