Scenic Santa Ynez Valley is located in northern Santa Barbara County and lies only 35 miles from Santa Barbara. The area's coastal mountains form valleys that open up directly to the Pacific Ocean. This quality allows breezes to form areas ideal for growing wine grapes.
As one of the coolest grape growing regions in California, the fruit remains on the vine longer allowing it to produce wines with highly desired character. The country drives throughout Santa Ynez Valley are incredibly picturesque and the wineries and tasting rooms are plentiful within the valley. Known well for such favorites as Pinot Noirs, Chardonnays and Syrahs, there are over 75 world-class wineries and tasting rooms to choose from.
Tourism, the wine industry and the equine industry are the primary economic drivers of the area. Santa Ynez Valley is known in the equine world for raising thoroughbreds as well as housing the nationally-known Alamo Pintado Equine Medical Center
In the heart of the Santa Ynez Valley lies the small town of Santa Ynez which boasts an authentic western heritage, hosting its well-known Old Santa Ynez Days each June. With its old California architectural flair, it has a popular historic saloon called The Maverick, a historical museum featuring one the finest carriage collections in the United States and a vintage Victorian house turned into the Vineyard House Restaurant. Nearby lies the Chumash Casino Resort which continues to gain popularity with live music concerts, gaming rooms and fine dining.
Solvang, a Danish settlement founded in 1911, is also located in the heart of the Santa Ynez Valley. Named by Orbitz Worldwide Travel as one the "Top 5 US Domestic Destinations with International Flair", the quaint downtown area offers a wide array of specialty shops, winery tasting rooms, Danish bakeries and art galleries. Mission Santa Ines and golfing at the Alisal River Course are worth a visit, as well. Another favorite among visitors and residents alike is the PCPA Theatrefest. As the only outdoor venue for live theatre along the Central Coast, this is a nationally-renowned theatre company that runs June-October in this "under the stars" venue in downtown Solvang's 700-seat Festival Theatre.
Ballard, a sleepy village and upscale bedroom community that was founded in 1880, was a Wells Fargo stage line station. It's first school, Ballard's Little Red School house was built in 1882 and is still operating today. Located in the heart of wine country, it is home to the Ballard Inn, a four-star restaurant and bed and breakfast.
Buellton stands at the crossroads of US Highway 101 and State Highway 246 which leads to nearby wine country. Know as "The Home of the Original Split Pea Soup" it is known worldwide for its famous Anderson's Pea Soup Restaurant, established in 1924. It is also well known for being the destination for the Academy Award winning film "Sideways" which was filmed throughout the area at locations including the Hitching Post Restaurant. It was also named "Service Town USA" in 1949.
The Santa Ynez Valley is a diverse, stunningly beautiful region that offers something for everyone who visits and resides here. From sprawling wineries and horse ranches to authentic historical sites and live music venues, it continues to grow in popularity and size.