23rd Annual Taste of Solvang comes to the Santa Ynez Valley

Taste of Solvang - Windmill

Hidden within the Santa Ynez Valley lives Solvang, Southern California’s very own hint of Europe.  March brings the 23rd Annual Taste of Solvang, “…a culinary journey through Solvang, where wine country meets ‘dine country'”.

Solvang (appropriately Danish for ‘sunny field’) is home to quaint boutiques, fine dining and historic sites.  Drinks and cuisine are Euro-Inspired, making it the perfect destination event for food and wine lovers alike.  Don’t let this tiny town deceive you; they’ve got some pretty big events.

Festivities begin Wednesday March 18th though many visitors continue to trickle in for weekend happenings such as Saturday’s Grand Tasting. At this event, visitors will have the opportunity to snack, sip, and shop throughout Solvang’s charming boutiques and tasting rooms.

Solvang Shopping Alisal Road

After a Saturday filled with shopping and snacking, guests enjoy unwinding at the 2-day Wine and Beer Walk. Solvang offers over a dozen tasting rooms, bars, and taverns. Each scene provides new flavors of local wine and craft beers unique to this Southern California city.

Complete your Santa Barbara Wine Country escape with visits to the many wineries and vineyard tasting rooms in Los Olivos, Buellton, and Ballard.  The SYV Marriott website features a complete list of Santa Ynez Valley Wineries and a downloadable California wine country map.

Your wine country trip won’t be complete without a stay at The Santa Ynez Valley Marriott – the perfect blend of countryside charm and modern amenities.  Book your hotel accommodations for Taste of Solvang soon as availability is very limited during this popular wine country festival.

Don’t forget to buy your weekend passport now and read more about the events on tap for 2015’s Taste of Solvang!  Tickets go quickly, so if you miss the most popular events at this year’s festival, visit the SYV Marriott site for a complete list of things to do in the Santa Ynez Valley and other annual wine and beer festivals and events.

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Valentine’s Day 2015 in the Santa Ynez Valley

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Valentines Day in Santa Ynez Valley

Plan your Valentine’s Day 2015 in the Santa Ynez Valley with a gourmet dinner at the Starting Gate Restaurant at the Santa Ynez Valley Marriott in Buellton.  This year’s Valentine’s Day menu features a four-course meal that is sure to make the year’s most romantic month one to remember.

Your romantic dinner begins with a glass of champagne and a first course of mixed baby greens with fresh strawberries, raspberries, mandarin slices, Queso Fresco, drizzled with raspberry/walnut dressing accompanied with freshly baked rolls and butter.  A second course of Tomato Florentine soup garnished with roasted cherry tomato and crisp kale follows.

Entrée choices include lobster served with drawn butter or prime rib with creamed horseradish.  Accompaniments include grilled root vegetables and cheesy skin on red mashers.  A vegetarian option is available upon request.

Vanilla crème brulee with fresh berries or warm chocolate caramel crunch provide a sweet finish to your romantic dinner.

Superb service and carefully prepared menus make Valentine’s Day dinner at the Santa Ynez Valley Marriott a tradition among locals and visitors from surrounding areas.   Reservations are required and typically fill quickly.  Call the Starting Gate Restaurant at 805-688-1000 today to make your reservation.

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Holiday Events in Solvang and the Santa Ynez Valley California

Christmas in Solvang CAThe Santa Ynez Valley and Solvang CA offer a delightful assortment of things to do during the holiday season for families, couples and even independent travelers looking for solo adventure.  Explore our holiday event guide for ideas on things to do in Solvang and where to celebrate in Santa Ynez Valley and Solvang, California during the holidays of 2014.

Key to Wine Country – December 5 – 7th

Unlock unique and exclusive experiences in Santa Barbara Wine Country this holiday season.  Hosted by the Santa Barbara Vintners, the Key to Wine Country is like a wine tasting passport giving you special offers and deals at 38 participating wineries and 10 restaurants throughout Santa Barbara County December 5th through 7th. Find out more and purchase your key at the Key to Wine Country website.

Solvang Julefest Parade – December 6, 2014 – 11am  

Cozy up with the family and a thermos of hot cocoa in downtown Solvang for this traditional Danish Julefest parade.

Wildling Holiday Marketplace – December 6th

Mark off some items on your holiday shopping list with unique gifts from local Santa Ynez artisans at the Wildling Holiday Marketplace.  Customize your gifts at the art activity station while the kids get their faces’ painted.  The Holiday Marketplace is open from 12pm to 5pm on December 6, 2014.  Find out more at the Wildling Museam website.

Buellton Winter Fest Celebration – December 7th

An all-day spectacular, the city of Buellton invites you to start the day with breakfast with Santa from 9am to noon at the Buellton Rec Center or come in the afternoon for concerts, cookies and cocoa from 4:30 – 6pm. In the evening from 4:30 to 8pm, wander the neighborhood block party on the Avenue of Flags, sampling from food trucks, enjoying beer, wine and spirits from vendors and playing in twenty tons of snow. The Mobile Light Parade will start at 6 pm and the Buellton Christmas Tree Lighting at 7 pm.

Holiday Wine Walk – December 13th and 14th

2014’s Julefest Holiday Wine Walk is a 2-day wine and beer tasting passport at a dozen wine tasting rooms in Solvang.  Tickets are available through the Solvang Visitors Bureau.

Nativity Pageant – Saturday, December 13th

Treat your family to a Christmas classic with the “Christmas Story” as it comes to life in the Nativity Pageant at the outdoor Solvang Festival Theater.  Actors in traditional costumes, live animals on stage, a choir and the outdoor setting make this performance unique and fun for the entire family.  Performances are at 5pm and 7pm at 420 Second Street.  They are free and are on a first come first seated basis.

New Year’s Eve Revelry at the Santa Ynez Valley Marriott

New Years Eve 2014 Santa Ynez Valley MarriottThe Santa Ynez Valley Marriott brings back two of their annual New Year’s Eve Celebration favorites – the New Year’s Prime Rib Buffet Package and New Year’s Eve Evening Out Package with Molly Ringwald Concert tickets.

The New Year’s Prime Rib Buffet Package for 2014 includes one night accommodations for two at the Santa Ynez Valley Marriott on New Year’s Eve and prime rib buffet for two.  Dinner is served 5pm to 9pm.  Dinner reservations are required so please call (805) 688-1000 to make your dinner reservations after booking your package.  Click here for more information about your New Year’s Eve Prime Rib  Buffet Package at the Santa Ynez Valley Marriott Buellton hotel.

The 2014 New Year’s Eve Evening Out Package with Molly Ringwald Project concert tickets includes deluxe accommodations for two at the Santa Ynez Valley Marriott, prime rib buffet for two, and two tickets to the Molly Ringwald Project Concert and New Year’s Eve Celebration.  Click here to book your New Year’s Eve package and for more information.

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Thanksgiving Day Buffet in the Santa Ynez Valley

Thanksgiving Day Buffet 2014 at the Santa Ynez Valley Marriott

The Santa Ynez Valley Marriott welcomes you to a Thanksgiving Day Buffet on Thursday, November 27th 2014. Thanksgiving Day is a time when we celebrate the bounty of the Santa Ynez Valley by serving only the best and most unique cuisines made from local produce. First seating will start at 11.00am and last sitting begins at 3.00pm.

Thanksgiving Day menu options

Main courses

You have a choice of five main dishes.

  • Baked tilapia served with caper dill sauce
  • Carved ham served with gourmet mustards
  • Carved turkey served with creamed horseradish sauce, cranberry sauce, and homemade gravy
  • Jumbo shrimp served with traditional side accompaniments
  • Pasta station with shrimp Marinara, smoked chicken sausage, and Alfredo sauce

Fixings

  • A variety of local and Mediterranean salads
  • Assorted freshly made crackers and breads
  • Assorted Marriott holiday cakes and pies
  • Cherries flambé and bananas foster
  • Chocolate fountain
  • Cranberry-apple sourdough stuffing
  • Local and international cheeses
  • Mixed vegetables
  • Orange glazed honey yams
  • Red skinned mashed potatoes

Your Thanksgiving buffet also includes Starbucks Coffee, iced tea, or hot tea.

Thanksgiving Buffet Prices

Prices (excluding taxes and gratuity) are as follows;

  • Seniors (65+):                         $29.95
  • Adults            :                         $35.00
  • Children (7-13):                      $19.95
  • Children (6 years or under): Free

Other menu options available

Even with Thanksgiving Day activities ongoing on that Monday, Santa Ynez Valley Marriott will continue to thrill guests with our sumptuous dishes.

Starting Gate Restaurant

Starting Gate Restaurant will still serve classic and modern classic breakfasts.  So, those not taking part in the Thanksgiving can still enjoy an All American breakfast comprised of two eggs made to your desired style with crisp hash browns. For a total of $13, you also get juice and coffee, muffin or bagel and your choice of protein including ham steak, sausage, Canadian bacon or bacon.

You’ll also be able to grab your favorite Business Lunch Special where Starting Gate allows you to create your own sandwich wrap, and include a salad, soup, and a soft drink of your choice. Even dinner specials will be available in plenty.

Winners Circle Lounge

Winners Circle Lounge activities will still be in full swing. Gather with friends at the lounge as early 5:00pm on that Monday for your favorite drinks including Raspberry Mojito, Palamani, Tangerine dream, Ginger Smash, and so much more. Come enjoy the leather easy chairs and shake off any lingering tension from your busy holiday schedule.

Lobby Lounge

The Lobby Lounge is always open from 6:00am to 6:00pm every Monday and that will remain the case on Monday, November 27th. Even with Thanksgiving Buffet underway.  You’ll still be able to explore the scenic valley as you enjoy Tazo herbal teas, Starbucks Coffee, pastries and so much more. Lobby Lounge stocks your best beer in town and is known for the tastiest wines.

In-room and poolside dining

In-room and poolside dining will remain on offer as well. Available from 6:00am through to 10:00pm, choose your favorite dishes and wait to be served in your guest room with the in-room dining option. Poolside dining is perfect for the sunny weather. You never have to swim, all you need to do is order your favorite dish and enjoy the warmth of the California sunshine.

Summary

Click here for more information on the Thanksgiving Day menu on Santa Ynez Valley Marriott’s main website or download your copy of the Thanksgiving Day menu as you prepare for the occasion.  Reservations must be made in advance.  Reservations are required, so contact us at 805.688.1000 to ensure you book your desired seating time.

Thanksgiving Buffet Marriott Details

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Miracles Happen in Santa Ynez Valley

This fall, Santa Ynez Valley Marriott is privileged to host the Second Annual “Miracles Happen” Charity Golf Tournament at the River Course at the Alisal in Solvang, CA. As we start ticking down the months and weeks until the event, here’s a short list of what you need to know:
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Miracles Happen: 2nd Annual Santa Ynez Valley Marriott Charity Golf Tournament

1. A beautiful, late-summer day at the Alisal instead of the office? How fast can we get here?! The River Course is a picturesque backdrop with views of the Santa Ynez Mountains and Valley. Featuring four lakes, the course also often follows the meandering path of the Santa Ynez Valley River, bringing nature straight into the heart of your game. At 6,830 yards, the par-72 River Course is dramatic without being impossible, a good afternoon challenge for golfers of all levels.

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2. The Making Miracles Happen Tournament has one simple goal: to help People people-helping-peopleHelping People benefit children’s health services in Santa Ynez Valley, Lompoc and Los Alamos. Serving men, women and children for 20 years, People Helping People is committed to helping others achieve self-sufficiency with dignity and ultimately, fulfill their potential.

3. Teams of all sizes are welcome! Want to go solo? Great. Have three friends that
want to join? Fantastic. Both individual and team registrations (for teams of 4) are available. Registration costs will cover entry into the tournament, barbecue, raffle tickets, fun on one of California’s most beautiful golf courses and the opportunity to help change others’ lives for the better. Long drive, putting and closest to the pin contests are also available with over $2,500 in cash prizes for the taking. And lest we forget, the chance to win a new car with a hole in one!

4. Speaking of prizes, let’s say that again: over $2,500 in cash prizes will be available for the taking, plus the chance to win a new car with a lucky hole in one!

5. Sponsorship opportunities are available. For more information, visit the event’s site.

For more information and registration forms, visit syvmarriott.com/miracleshappen or call (805) 325-2020.

The Santa Ynez Valley Marriott is committed to the well-being of its surrounding community. An official Green Business of Santa Barbara County as well as a 2014 TripAdvisor Certificate of Excellence winner, the Santa Ynez Valley Marriott constantly strives to serve not only their valued guests, but also their community. Join us September 19, 2014 as we give back and watch miracles happen. For information on room accommodations during the tournament, click here.

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Planning a Meeting in the Santa Ynez Valley

Whether escaping hectic Los Angeles or crossing the country, business retreats although a fabulous idea, can seem daunting to plan. Among the quiet, rolling hills of California wine country though, Santa Ynez Valley Marriott awaits with mountains of inspiration. Here’s our list of all you need to know for planning a meeting in the Santa Ynez Valley.

7 Reasons to Plan a Meeting at Santa Yenz Valley Marriott

Location, location, location: Just over 2 hours from Los Angeles, Santa Ynez Valley sits in the heart of California wine country. The property is located 45 minutes from Santa Barbara, conveniently accessible from California’s Hwy 101.

IMG_4534-banquetSpace galore – From intimate to extravagant, Santa Ynez Valley Marriott has meeting and event space for every type of group. Over 12,000 square feet of flexible meeting and conference space spreads across the property including ballrooms, outdoor pavilions and banquet rooms. Plan a social hour with Santa Ynez Valley as your backdrop on the Outdoor Garden Pavilion and celebrate your team’s achievements in the Turf Club Ballroom! For more information about SYV Marriott’s event space, view the event space diagram.
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Help in planning and executing– Santa Ynez Valley Marriott is more than ready to help with any and all meeting needs! Thanks to professionally accredited, on-site Certified Meeting Planners, who are experienced in coordinating event agendas from executive retreats to full-scale, multi-faceted events for hundreds, you can rest easy. Our award-winning, Certified Meeting Planners are professionally trained to deliver attentive service from inception to execution of your event and our team will be on hand to assist with technology needs, décor and guest accommodations.

IMG_4593-fruit-bev-station2Meal time is always a good time: Santa Ynez Valley Marriott’s on-site culinary team delivers thoughtful menus that can be customized for any budget or event-style. Our Starting Gate Restaurant, Lobby Lounge and in-room dining are also perfect options for individual, down-time meals.

All the business perks: High-speed Internet access, on-site audio-visual services, 24-hour business center and boarding print station will assure your meetings go according to plan from start to finish. And if that’s not enough, our team will be on site to assist for any and all questions or issues.

Down-time fun: There’s plenty of ways to relax after your meeting. Santa Ynez Valley Marriott amenities include a state-of-the-art fitness center, heated pool, sun deck, tennis court, racquetball court and game room. Spa services include massage therapy and facial treatments and the Finish Line Hair Design offers an intimate and modern salon experience, specializing in precision haircutting and modern color techniques.
Pool

Adventure all around: The small-town charm of SYV will come to life with visits to neighboring towns like Solvang and Los Alamos. California’s natural beauty is also up for grabs with national parks and beaches at every turn. Book a wine or cycling tour. Whatever your interests, Santa Ynez Valley has something for everyone.


screenshot-by-nimbusThere’s never been a better time to get away! Plan the next chapter of your business with crisp California air above you and the Santa Ynez Valley Marriott staff all around you. From beginning to end, we promise to put the skills that earned Santa Ynez Valley Marriott a 2013 Certificate of Excellence from TripAdvisor, to very good use. For more information, please visit our meetings and events page.

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Toasting Earth Day in Santa Ynez Valley

As April makes a turn towards Earth Day (April 22), it’s time to toast Santa Ynez Valley’s commitment to sustainable practices and a greener future. After all, from organic wine production to green business practices, there’s certainly a lot being done to make Mother Nature proud.

Toasting Earth Day in Santa Ynez Valley all month (and all year)

One of the many wonderful things about Santa Ynez Valley, of course, it wine production. The other wonderful thing about SYV is that a number of area vineyards approach the tradition with organic techniques. Returning readers will remember the organic wine tutorial featured on our blog last year, but as a recap, the basics that deem wine organic include hands-on, small-production techniques, use of sustainable, organic, and/or bio-dynamic agriculture and an elevated degree of environmental stewardship.

In the Santa Ynez Valley, a number of vintners have made the commitment to such practices. Here are just a few:

almarosa Alma Rosa Winery has worked over 40 years to set the benchmark in organic farming, sustainable agriculture methods and environment-friendly commerce. Working over 100 acres of certified organic vineyard, they also support earth-friendly causes such as the reintroduction of peregrine falcons to the Santa Ynez Valley.

ampeloscellarsAmpelos Cellars – Using bio-dynamic and organic farming practices, Ampelos focuses on a minimalist approach, meaning no yeast, artificial tannins, artificial malolactic bacteria or artificial coloring is added to their wine. They strive for every sip to evoke the beauty of Santa Ynez Valley.

Beckmen-vineyards Beckmen Vinyards – Respecting the land, the Beckmens are committed to bio-dynamic farming which naturally builds soil life and vitality while defending against pests and disease. “Our goal,” says Steve Beckman says, “is to always get better and better. Biodynamics allows us to achieve the purest possible expression of our Purisima Mountain Vineyard terroir, which is at the very heart of our wine growing philosophy. Since we’ve gone bio-dynamic, we have produced some of our best wines ever.”

cimerone Cimarone – Owners Roger and Priscilla Higgins are dedicated to sustainable farming, especially the prevention of soil erosion and incorporation of biodegradable/natural materials when dealing with pests and mildew issues in the vineyard.

 

ClosPepe

Clos Pepe Vineyard – The vineyard encourages a healthy, diverse vineyard environment by using sheep, chickens, owl boxes and raptor perches and promotes soil health by composting and organic fertilization.

coqueliciotCoquelicot Estate Vineyard – The estate focuses on healthy and balanced soil, water conservation, natural critter and weed management and cover crops.

 

foxen_vineyard Foxen Vineyard – Dedicated to sustainably-farmed, vineyard-focused wines using a minimalist approach. Tasting rooms are solar powered.

 

RefugioRanchRefugio Ranch – Using a wholly natural approach to grape growing, Refugio Ranch uses low-yield sustainable farming practices which allow the unique terroir and mico-climate of the area to come alive in their crops.

 

SunstoneWinerySunstone Winery – Sunstone has been committed to growing wine grapes without the use of herbicides, pesticides, or synthetic fungicides since  initial planting in 1990. Nick De Luca, winemaker and viticulturist says, “It is really wonderful to work with fruit that has no residual pesticides. I feel that the vines tend to be healthier, and organic farming is certainly the way of the future, as we will have to use a more sustainable approach to agriculture as a way of caring for the world that we live in.”


StolpmanVineyardsStolpman Vineyards – Pursuing highest-quality wine making, Stolpman Vineyards promotes both organic farming and bio-diversity with over 50 acres of land, an organic vegetable farm, olive trees, owl habitats and the use of varying cover crops every year.

 

The Santa Ynez Valley Marriott, itself, is certainly not immune to the green bug. In fact, the hotel is a certified TripAdvisor Green Leader and as well as the first hotel in Santa Barbara County to complete the Green Business Program.

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SYV Marriott’s commitment to preserving the planet continues by:
-taking steps towards energy efficiency and water conservation
-adding bulk soap and shampoo dispensers in guest rooms to reduce plastic bottle waste
-upgrading lighting throughout the hotel
-adding new controls on vending and ice machines to reduce energy use
-monitoring landscaping around the property for water efficiency
-adding new native, water-wise plants
– putting recycling programs in place throughout the hotel
-becoming one of the first Tesla super charging stations in the nation
SYV-TeslaCharger

If you happen to be in Santa Ynez Valley this month, make plans to join these Earth Day events:
Earth Day Festival, April 26-27, Alameda Park, Santa Barbara1497478_10151829106911637_1921727119_n
The 1st Annual Earth Day includes a pop-up farm-to-table dinner in the park, the longest-running public Green Car Show in the U.S. including the BMWi3 and Tesla Model S, free bike valet and bike tune-ups and music headliner Hot Buttered Rum on Saturday, April 26th.

Earth Day Celebration, April 26, Santa Ynez Valley Botanic Garden
The perfect day to appreciate Mother Earth, join the garden for family fun and rock painting – perfect for doorstops, gifts, paperweights and garden décor.

BikeWheel2-13868484_sCelebrate Earth Day this year with a green stay at Santa Ynez Valley Marriott! Fully equipped to make your stay in the Santa Ynez Valley as relaxing (and green) as possible, we invite you sit back and relax. Plan a bike tour of the area by booking our Cycling Package or book a Sustainable Wine Vine Tour complete with behind-the-scene tours of four organic vineyards and an organic, gourmet picnic lunch.

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10 Reasons to Plan a Wedding in the Santa Ynez Valley

With winter on its last legs, wedding season is certainly on its way. As you look towards the day you say ‘I do’ (or help a loved one plan their special day), here are 10 reasons to plan a wedding in the Santa Ynez Valley:
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1. The Backdrop
Sprawling, rolling, twirl and sing on a mountaintop kind of landscape – that’s what you find in Santa Ynez Valley. With this neck of the woods as your backdrop, everything from your ceremony location to pre-reception cocktails to photos will feel picture-perfect.

2. Near Perfect Weather
Repeat after us, 300+ days of sunshine. This is the place where outdoor weddings thrive.

3. Wine, Wine, Wine
You have come to wine haven, let the local agriculture do its part in making your celebration merry and bright.

4. Outdoor Adventures Await
In the downtime between matrimony festivities, your guests will have a slew of options for things to do. From wine tours to horseback riding, bike tours to golf courses. there’s something for everyone.

5. Your guests will thank you
Since we are talking about your guests, let’s just say it – they’re going to love you for choosing the Santa Ynez Valley. Yes, they are certainly looking forward to seeing you and your loved one tie the knot, but they’re counting the days until they reach that sweet California sun. A vacation is all they’ve ever wanted.

SBASY-Champagne6. Choice Vendors
While it may sound like a challenge to plan your wedding long-distance, the vendors in the Santa Ynez Valley are superb at what they do. From photographers to florists, DJs to desserts, wedding planners to officiates, the area has everything you’ll need for the big day and grand celebration.

7. Romance is everywhere
From coastline sunsets and mountaintop views to wine soaked hills, Santa Ynez Valley has romance around every corner.
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8. Great food
A diverse cultural history combined with a rich wine culture has created a deeply-satisfying mix of local culinary delights that are not to be missed.

9. From small town to city slick, it’s the best of both worlds.
The towns that comprise the Valley (including Solvang, Los Olivos and Santa Ynez) along with Santa Barbara are short drives away. California’s big city gems (San Francisco to the north and Los Angeles to the south) are but a road trip away.

10. Santa Ynez Valley Marriott
A seasoned expert in the Santa Ynez Valley wedding scene, Santa Ynez Valley Marriott is the perfect choice for a wedding location. 15,000 square feet of flexible event space means whether your idea is an intimate ceremony or a lavish reception, indoor or outdoor, the Santa Ynez Valley Marriott has all the options. A convenient location, on-site wedding specialists and custom menus also help ease the planning process so that when your day arrives, it’s one that you can truly enjoy and cherish.

©2011 Red Square, Inc. —-
Say ‘I do’ at Santa Ynez Valley Marriott. Wedding packages, menu options, and guest room information are all available at SYVMarriott.com.

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Romantic Dates in the Santa Ynez Valley

The Santa Ynez Valley has all the makings of a romantic date – lush, rolling hills beneath your feet, sweet sunshine above your head and wineries, small towns and nature-escapes all around. Now that the scenery has done half the work, here are eight ideas for romantic dates in Santa Ynez Valley.

Romance in the Santa Ynez Valley

Couples massage at Santa Ynez Valley Marriott – Unwind with your loved one by letting the hotel’s Natural Balance massage therapist work the worries right out of your muscles. The hotel offers a bounty of options including deep tissue massages that last 50 or 80 minutes.

450px-Nojoqui_FallsPicnic at Nojoqui Falls Park – Pack a picnic complete with blanket, wine and games and take the short hike to Nojoqui Falls. The sound of the water and the experience of being secluded in the park will make the afternoon one to remember.

Glider Ride – Take a scenic flight with Windhaven Glider Rides and have your breath taken away by California’s natural beauty. Climbing 2,500 feet above the lower ridges of the Santa Ynez Coastal Mountain Range, you’ll see views of Lake Cachuma and the Santa Barbara Coastline.

Visit Solvang – As you soak in the Danish ambiance of this Santa Ynez Valley town, you’ll wonder if you’re even actually in California. Meander underneath windmills and in and out of  the town’s unique shops, art galleries, restaurants and bakeries  – and don’t forget to stroll the gardens of the Santa Ynez Mission!

Bike Tours – From strenuous workout to relaxing jaunt, the Santa Ynez Valley offers a bounty of bike tour options. Whichever you choose, beautiful backdrops will surround you as the wind whips past your face and you soak in some rays. Many bike companies also offer a wine tasting/ bike combo, which, after a workout never sounds like a bad idea.

13924312-a-couple-on-a-horse-rideWine Tasting & Horseback Riding Tour – If bike rides aren’t your idea of a romantic date, maybe horseback tours are. With many tours to choose from, you can even combine the outing with a wine tasting and gourmet lunch – because that’s just what we do in the Santa Ynez Valley.

 

Wine Fantasy in February – The Santa Ynez Valley never has a shortage of wine events. In February, take advantage of the four-day event, Wine Fantasy, that includes 15 wine tastings and the opportunity to meet the area’s wine makers and winery owners.  The event stretches over Valentine’s Day and President’s Day weekend, make your getaway plans now!

5sideways_picnic-smSideways Tour – If you’re both cinema fans, retrace the story of the movie Sideways! 2014 marks the 10th anniversary of the Oscar-award winning film and Santa Ynez Valley plans to celebrate all year. From stops at boutique wineries to meals at the exact restaurants, let the story come to life as you follow Miles and Jack’s steps. There’s even a map to do just that.

Romantic dates in Santa Ynez Valley may be easy to come by, but a great place to stay can be hard to find. At the Santa Ynez Valley Marriott, we’d like to think that we’re experts at both. While planning your romantic Santa Ynez Valley date, be sure to book the Santa Ynez Valley Marriott Romance Package, complete with deluxe overnight accommodations for two, a bottle of champagne or wine upon arrival and breakfast buffet for two at our Starting Gate Restaurant.
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Santa Ynez Valley Family Getaways

There’s something special about the days that stretch between Christmas and New
Years – rare moments with families home from work and school. It’s also the perfect time for a quick trip!

In this neck of the woods, wine-getaways are the tried and true option, but among the region’s rolling vineyards, a few quirky neighbors offer the makings of a perfect Santa Ynez Valley family getaway. Whether your calendar lets you skip town for a few days or a few hours, these family-friendly trips will make the most of your time in the Santa Ynez Valley.

Family Fun in Santa Ynez Valley

Quicksilver Ranch qslogo
The universal rule that everything is cuter in miniature form comes to life at Quicksilver Ranch. Few people know that SYV carries the nickname, “Kentucky of the West,” but this ranch lives up to the label by inviting visitors to visit their miniature horses up-close. Gentle, mild-mannered and patient, these miniature hosts will be the perfect company for an afternoon in the sun-soaked hills of Santa Ynez Valley.

Lavender Farms
While the Santa Ynez Valley is dotted with lavender fields, Clairmont Lavender Farms is one of the few that actually invites visitors to peruse its fields and picnic on its lush, sweetly-scented grounds. A family-owned farm, Clairmont is five acres of sun-soaked Grosso lavender and 300 year-old oak trees. Also, their essential oil, lavender based personal care products and homemade soaps are all organically made and available for purchase in the farm’s shop.

Seein’ Spots Farm
A family-owned farm in Santa Ynez Valley, Seein’ Spots Farm became famous in recent years for Zeyore, a donkey-zebra cross. Otherwise filled with miniature donkeys (yes, you read that right) that are never more than 36 inches tall, the farm is a barnyard delight. Also, originally an apple farm, the land still holds over 800 apple trees that can be picked from late August to November. Loyal, sweet and affectionate, the miniature donkeys welcome visitors of all sizes into their petting areas and encourage the smallest of these to take part in the farm’s kiddie rides.

Ostrich Land USA
If miniature horses and donkeys (or even a zonkey) aren’t tempting enough, perhaps Ostrich Land USA is calling your name. The ostriches and emus that parade the property are available for visiting, feeding and petting. Bonus: the lush land that they roam is reminiscent of their natural habitats, lulling in you into the feeling that you’re on safari. The site’s shop also sells intriguing keepsakes including ostrich and emu egg shells, emu oils, feather dusters and ostrich meat
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Hike in Los Padres National Forest
Mountains, streams, rivers and beaches – Los Padres National Forest holds beauty that will take your breath away. Stretch your legs and let yourself wander some of California’s natural sites as you take one of the park’s numerous day hikes. While most campsites are closed for winter, this is one place to bookmark for warmer weather romps.

Nojoqui Falls Park
A short trail walk away, Nojoqui Falls is a secluded 100-foot waterfall fit for a quiet afternoon retreat. The falls are viewed best after rain, but are available to visit any time of year. Pack a lunch, blanket, board games and books to make an afternoon of it!Nojoqui-Entrance

Santa Ynez Valley Marriott is the perfect home-base for your California adventures. WhenIMG_4688-fireplace you return from a hike at the falls or a picnic in lavender fields, relax with a book and glass of wine next to our fireplace or take a dip in the heated pool before meeting your family for dinner at our Starting Gate Restaurant.

No matter the size of your clan or length of your stay, Santa Ynez Valley Marriott is ready to help you get away with those you love the most.

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