A few short observations from a whirlwind trip down south:
- The Santa Ynez Inn is beautiful. What a nice place to unwind.
- California is dry, dry, dry. Parched land was everywhere, dust blowing, cows being fed on hay as there is no open range grass left anywhere. Please, somebody, bring us rain, and lots of it!
- Central coast wineries have really hit the big time. There was lots and lots of delicious wine, from lots of wineries I'd never heard of, using all sorts of varieties of grapes I was totally unfamiliar with.
- Central coast wineries know they are making lots of delicious wine. At most of the wineries we visited, the low-end bottles were going for $25 to $30, and we visited multiple wineries where the regular tasting menu included wines costing $70 or more
- Fess Parker winery hasn't made sparkling wine in over a decade. Shows how long it's been since we were down that way.
- On the other hand, the Flying Goat sparkling wines were quite nice; we particularly enjoyed their Cremant
- The biggest foodie hit of the weekend was the San Marcos Farms honey, possibly available direct from San Marcos Farms but we found it at the Olive Barn in Los Olivos. In particular, the "Avocado Honey" is quite surprising. It's not avocado flavored (yuk), but rather is produced by bees who make their homes in an avocado orchard. Super!
- Lompoc, Solvang, Santa Ynez, Buellton, Los Olivos: years may have passed, but these small towns barely seem to have changed at all.
- My niece and nephew, however, are shooting up like sprouts! How quickly children grow up...