One of the first things you notice when arriving in Santa Barbara County is its unparalleled natural beauty. The winter rains often carpet the surrounding hills in pristine green during the early spring months. Many who live here thrive on the outdoors and spend much of their time kayaking, hiking, cycling and golfing.
As an example, Guadalupe became a very popular destination for Japanese migrant workers who sought work up and down the coast and for Japanese dignitaries. They were especially intrigued by this small, thriving agricultural location.
Located in Northern Santa Barbara County, the Pacific Coast Highway (Highway 1) runs right through Guadalupe. Less than 10 miles from Santa Maria, it is a much smaller, more historic destination. It has an Elementary and Jr. High School and students attend nearby Santa Maria High School.
While it has its own library, post office, city hall and a host of markets and convenience stores and restaurants, shopping is also done in nearby Santa Maria where larger department stores can be found.
Guadalupe's primary industry is agricultural with numerous packing, cooling, produce, grower-shipper, seeding and harvest related businesses residing nearby. Strawberries, cauliflower, broccoli and different types of lettuce are prominent here. Wineries are springing up throughout the area due to the cool climate that makes the Santa Maria Valley a perfect choice as a highly regarded viticulture area.
Guadalupe is also an area known well for its Santa Maria Style Barbeque. Starting in the early 1800s cattle was a primary economic force and the vaqueros would hold large barbecues at the ranchos after each cattle roundup was completed. The tradition continues in the area and has been adopted by many others across the country and beyond.
You can head to the Far Western Tavern Steakhouse in downtown Guadalupe to experience this phenomenon for yourself. Tri-Tip is probably the most popular cut within the entire region. Housed in the old Palace Hotel building, it opened in 1958 and generations of the original family still own and run this vintage location.
Downtown Guadalupe also houses the Rancho de Guadalupe Historical Society. Its primary purpose is to preserve the unique history and ethnic charm of this area. There's a museum, historic jail and the Guadalupe Cultural Arts & Education Center.
Another well-known landmark is the Guadalupe-Nipomo Dunes area. Home to an abundance of wildlife and plants, it has been used for such films as Cecil B. DeMille's Ten Commandments, Pirates of the Caribbean III and Hildago. The Guadalupe-Nipomo Dunes Center offers an educational experience for those who visit while sharing many of the area's old stories.
Oso Flaco Lake is located a few miles away and leads visitors along a mile stretch of boardwalk heading through different areas and out over the lake. It's a popular destination with panoramic views of the coastline, different habitats, a large, diverse bird sanctuary and a peaceful oasis for many who come here for inspiration, writing, photography and art.
Guadalupe celebrates traditional values, the stories and rise of immigrants who once lived here and those who continue to call this home today, the surrounding area's agricultural and its natural beauty.