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4 Santa Barbara Itineraries to Brighten Your Day

Posted On: Thursday, Feb 19, 2015 5:53 PM

If you’ve been on Twitter or Instagram this week, you’ve seen that Santa Barbara is sending social sunshine to brighten the days of those in Chicago and Denver. From daily giveaways of TEVA Sandals to  grand Santa Barbara getaways, we’re making our fans and follower’s days just a little brighter. And why wouldn’t we?! With over 300+ days of sunshine in Santa Barbara, we’re happy to spread the warmth of our summer-like winters.

However, if you’re not located in Chicago or Denver, we’d still like to brighten your day with 4 pre-planned itineraries to inspire your next vacation to the Santa Barbara South Coast.

Itinerary #1 – “Pic” & Play in Santa Barbara

No matter where you go on vacation, the one accessory that always comes along is your camera. Treat yourself (and your sidekick) to a winter beach vacation spot that has a backdrop made for photo shoots and stunning selfies.

  • STAY: With an incredible view that showcases all that Santa Barbara has to offer, Belmond El Encanto is a landscape photographer’s dream. 
  • PLAY: Keep an eye on the ocean and a finger on the shutter! While aboard the Condor Express, you’ll get a front row seat to whale watching in Santa Barbara. 
  • RELAX: The Spa at Belmond El Encanto is rated 5-Stars by Forbes and is perfect for those moments when you need to take a break from your vacation (and your camera).  
  • DINE: Eat like a local and shoot like a pro. On Eat This, Shoot That’s 2.5 hour food tour, you’ll indulge in sips and bits from popular Santa Barbara restaurants, while learn a thing or two about photography from a pro. No needs to bring a fancy camera, smart phones are welcome.
Brighten Your Day Itinerary 1
(Image by Insatagram fan @mr.mxrxnsgold)

Itinerary #2 – Get Outside & Ride

In celebration of the Amgen Stage 5 Start in Santa Barbara on May 14th, this itinerary is for those who prefer 2 wheels to 4.

  • STAY: Be a part of the Amgen action, and stay at the Franciscan Inn, located within walking distance of both Stearns Wharf and the Amgen Stage 5 Start. But should you want to get away from the celebration, this Spanish-Mediterranean hideaway will be your easy escape. 
  • PLAY: On May 14th, attend the highly anticipated Stage 5 Start of the Amen Tour of California, as the riders begin their day on the sunny shores of Santa Barbara. Be treated like a star with Amgen VIP access to see all there is to offer. 
  • RELAX: For a slower pace, cruise along Cabrillo Blvd for a scenic tour of the Santa Barbara coastline with Wheel Fun Rentals
  • WINE & DINE: Take a trip into the heart of the Santa Barbara’s wine country, as you pedal from winery to winery with Santa Barbara Adventure Company. You’ll ride along the scenic back-roads as you taste your way through the Santa Ynez Valley. Did we mention cupcake tasting is included? Yum!
Brighten Your Day Itinerary 2
(Image By Insatgram Fan @satchscratch)

Itinerary #3 –Sip & Spa in Santa Barbara

Vacations were made for relaxation, and so is this next itinerary.

  • STAY: Start your relaxing vacation by waking up to beach front views at The Fess Parker A DoubleTree By Hilton. You can choose to begin your day with a stunning sunrise from the comfort of your room or on a beachside stroll to Stearn’s Wharf.
    Additionally located within walking distance of Santa Barbara beaches, shops and restaurants is Brisas Del Mar, Inn at the Beach. This location is perfect for those looking to add a little romance to their getaway. 
  • RELAX: Float your way to complete relaxation at Float Luxury Spa in downtown Santa Barbara. This premiere day spa specializes in everything you’ll need to unwind, massages, facials, body treatments and more.
  • PLAY: Let the calming waters of the Pacific Ocean send you into a meditative bliss. With SB Fit Tours, complete your afternoon with a yoga session on a stand up paddle board. 
  • DINE: True relaxation is often times accompanied with a glass of world-class wine. Like in Santa Barbara, at Olio e Limone Ristorante the wine list is hand-picked and carefully selected. 
Brighten Your Day Itinerary 3
(Image By Instagram Fan @nicole_hollerer)  

Itinerary #4 – Explore A little More

Starting in the heart of Santa Barbara and venturing out into the south coast cities of Montecito, Summerland and Goleta, there is plenty more to explore during your stay.

  • STAY: The Kimpton Properties of The Goodland & Canary Hotel offer the best of both worlds in the Santa Barbara South Coast. Stay at The Goodland in Goleta, CA where you’ll be close to local treasures such as the Ellwood Butterfly Preserve and surfing on Haskell’s Beach. Then, head to the heart of downtown for a stay at Canary Hotel. You’ll be in the epicenter of Santa Barbara’s culture & cuisine.
  • PLAY: Let your next journey take you to The Channel Islands with Channel Island Outfitters for a once in a lifetime experience touring the caves and coves by kayak. Afterwards, you can cross off this favorite National Park off of your bucket list. 
  • RELAX: See the shores of Summerland as you ride horseback along the beach with Beach Horseback Rides of Santa Barbara. This trot will take you through the beaches and foothills of Summerland, ending with a glass of wine at Summerland Winery. 
  • DINE: From Summerland, skip over to Montecito for dinner at Bella Vista at the Four Seasons Resort The Biltmore Santa Barbara. Showcasing organic, Italian-inspired California cuisine, you’ll fall in love with the food and the restaurant’s décor – complete with fireplaces, hand-carved wine wall, and the ambience of the tranquil seaside setting.
Brighten Your Day Itinerary 4
(Image By Instagram Fan @CIO_adventures) 

 For additional offers to brighten your day, please visit BrightenYourDaySB.com for complete details.

Spring into Santa Barbara this March

Posted On: Wednesday, Feb 11, 2015 11:28 AM

From the blues of the Pacific coastline to the golden rays of sunshine, the Santa Barbara South Coast is surrounded by beauty all year round. Walks on the beach get better with every sunset and hikers are blessed with breathtaking views as they reach their peak. These vivid colors, that are signatures of Santa Barbara, can also be seen bloomed within the flowers grown in Santa Barbara County each year.

In fact, did you know that Santa Barbara County is the highest producing flower region in the United States? It’s true! Friends, family and loved ones across the US are gifted with a bit of Santa Barbara, when they receive or purchase a bouquet of flowers!

Field to Vase Dinner Carpinteria


To honor the coming of spring, and all the beauty that it brings to our region, here are two special upcoming events that will make you want to stop and smell the roses:
  • Make your way to Westland Orchids on March 5th, as Certified American Grown Flowers kicks off the 2015 Field-to-Vase Dinner Tour. In the first of 10 pop-up dining experiences held across the country, participants of this Santa Barbara County event will enjoy a private, guided tour of the orchid farm, meet floral designer Margaret Lloyd of Montecito-based Margaret Joan Florals, savor local fare served family-style at farm tables, and enjoy domestic wine and craft beer. As the decorative lights twinkle, the flowers will delight and the convivial mood of this unique event will be unforgettable. You'll leave with all of your senses stimulated, and a newfound appreciation for the story of America's flowers, the people who grow them and the artists who design with them.

    For more information, please visit: americangrownflowers.org/fieldtovase/

  • Celebrating its 70th Anniversary, The Santa Barbara International Orchid Show is the longest running and premier international orchid show in the United States. March 13-15, visitors will delight in the exuberant displays of blooming orchids, with exhibits designed to this year’s theme of “Celebrate withOrchids!” A step into the Exhibit Hall is a step into the lush colors and fragrances of exotic, beautiful orchids. In addition to the lavish garden displays of orchids for which the Show is famous, floral arrangements and corsages feature orchid blooms on an intimate scale. Additional activities include free workshops on orchid care led by orchid experts, an orchid photo booth, interactive orchid puppet show and much, much more.

    For more information, please visit: sborchidshow.com

Until the celebration begins, here are 5 interesting facts about Orchids!

For year-round botanical fun, Santa Barbara is also home to the Santa Barbara Botanic Garden where you can wander 65 acres of exquisite exhibits of California native and Ganna Walska Lotusland, a rare botanical nirvana in Montecito, CA.

Opening Night: 2015 Santa Barbara International Film Festival

Posted On: Wednesday, Jan 28, 2015 3:13 PM

As movie goers grabbed their popcorn, savored a few milk duds and picked the perfect seat, the opening night of the Santa Barbara International Film Festival kicked off its 12-day festival to a sold out crowd at the historic Arlington Theatre. Marking its 30th Anniversary, the  2015 Santa Barbara International Film Festival will be host to a vast array of films representing 54 countries, 23 world premieres and 53 US premieres, tributes with the year’s top talent, panel discussions, and free community education and outreach.

desert dancer film premiere film festival
Director, Richard Raymond as he arrives at the historic Arlington Theatre

During its opening night, SBIFF debuted the US Premiere of Desert Dancer, directed by Richard Raymond and starring Freida Pinto. Showcasing the importance of freedom of expression, Desert Dancer is a powerful and unbelievable true story that follows the brave ambition of Afshin Ghaffarian. During the volatile climate of the 2009 presidential election, where many cultural freedoms were threatened, Afshin and his friends risk their lives and form an underground dance company. Through banned online videos, they learn from timeless legends who cross all cultural divides, such as- Michael Jackson, Gene Kelly and Rudolf Nureyev. Afshin and Elaheh also learn much from each other, most importantly how to embrace their passion for dance and for one another.

Desert Dancer was an inspiring movie for all and a cinematic start to another successful Santa Barbara International Film Festival.

For more information on the 2015 Santa Barbara Film Festival Line Up, click here.

And, if you’re looking to grab a bite to eat or drink before your movie, discover over 25+ dining offers and 10+ wine tasting flights as part of Film Feast 2015. Or if you’d like to stay and indulge a little more, we’ve got you covered with 17 cinematic lodging packages.

5 Quotes to Live By in Santa Barbara

Posted On: Wednesday, Dec 3, 2014 3:58 PM

Guaranteed to inspire your next vacation to Santa Barbara, we've put together 5 inspiring quotes that we try to live by in the Santa Barbara South Coast.

brighten your day quote

1. "Every sunrise is an invitation to brighten someone's day."
Days in the Santa Barbara South Coast sure are bright with 300+ days of sunshine a year! This winter, ditch the gloom and head to Santa Barbara's sunny shores. To sweeten your stay, here are a few sunrise surprises.

paradise quote

2. "All I need are palm trees and a little bit of paradise."
Parks and beaches in Santa Barbara are a paradise all their own. Here are a few of our favorite beaches.

channel islands quote

3. "Better to see something once, than hear about it a thousand times." - Asian Proverb
The Channel Islands National Park is undoubtedly one of the most unique and breathtaking in the country. During your stay, making time to see this hidden gem is a must.

Scenic route quote

4. "Always take the scenic route."
From the beach shores to the mountain tops, exploring the entire Santa Barbara County is well worth the drive.

happy place quote

5. "This is my happy place."
For us, the Santa Barbara South Coast is home. After visiting, you'll never want to leave.

Relieve Your Holiday Stress with These 5 Activities

Posted On: Wednesday, Nov 26, 2014 11:11 AM

Untitled-2

With the chaos of the holiday season, and the aftermath of Black Friday, it’s important to take the time to relax, de-stress, and to use this time to create special moments you’ll remember throughout the year. In Santa Barbara, we’re in no shortage of sunshine and activities for you and your loved ones. While your friends and family are in town for a Thanksgiving getaway, or perhaps you’re preparing for a Santa Barbara Christmas, here are a few activities that will help to relieve your holiday stress and welcome the warmth of the season. Did we mention it’s still sunny and 70 degrees here?


1. Hiking

Get off your seat and on your feet! Spend the afternoon hiking in Santa Barbara and you’ll be lead to spectacular views of the city. Or, on an overcast day, you’ll be transported into a dreamland above the clouds.  

 2. Beach Walk
If hiking isn’t quite your thing, but you still want to get moving after all the holiday treats, a beach walk is something everyone can enjoy. If you don’t know where to start, here are a few of our favorite beaches.  

3. Horseback Riding
Add a little giddy up to your holiday and experience horseback riding on the beach. Perfect for the whole family, this is an activity you and your kids will be talking about for years to come.

4. Savor a sunset
Nothing beats the beauty of a Santa Barbara sunset. Surrounded by a sky bursting with color, it’ll be a performance you’ll never forget.

5. Star-Gazing
Need one final way to de-stress this season? Spend the evening relaxing under a star-filled sky. There’s no better way to end your day.

However, if you’re looking for events to fill your holiday vacation, view our guide to the holidays in Santa Barbara.

Santa Barbara Holiday Guide 2014

Posted On: Friday, Nov 21, 2014 10:35 AM

The holiday season is no longer just around the corner, in Santa Barbara, our menus are planned, party outfits have been picked out and we're ready to celebrate the rest of the year surrounded by friends and family. Whether you're planning a Thanksgiving getaway or if Santa Barbara is your Christmas vacation destination, we're here to help plan your stay with some of our favorite events of the season. With so many holiday events and gatherings to choose from, your calendar is sure to be booked from now until 2015. 

NOVEMBER:
In between planning your Santa Barbara Thanksgiving and putting the final touches on your holiday menu, take the time to attend one of our November events. From cooking unique side dishes to running off those holiday pounds, you'll have a "smashing time" at the following events:

  • November 22-23: Holiday Marketplace 2014
    From hand-thrown ceramics to one-of-a-kind jewelry to custom-sewn textiles to custom crafted leather goods - the Holiday Marketplace is one-stop shopping for even the most difficult-to-buy-for person on your holiday list. 

  • November 23rdVeggies Gone Wild, A new Spin on Holiday Dishes
    Experience some decidedly non-classic but uniquely delicious sides for your holiday (or anytime) meals.

  • November 23: 5K Gobble Run
    The 5K Gobble Gobble Run is the run with fun! Your prize for crossing the finish line? A glass of wine from Fess Parker Winery! Or, you can choose to walk through 2-3 wine tasting stations along the 1K course.

  • November 27th: Thanksgiving Day Pumpkin Smash
    Have a “smashing” time at the Santa Barbara Zoo with the family on Thanksgiving! Watch as the elephants, gorillas and other Zoo animals play and interact with pumpkins during this holiday favorite event.

For a complete list of November holiday events, please visit our November Events Calendar.

DECEMBER
During your California Christmas vacation, dash through Santa Barbara in December. We're more than a winter beach vacation. Below, you'll discover holiday traditions that include a few of our favorite things, parades, trains and a toast to champagne.

  • December 3rd: Secrets of a Tamale Chef
    This entertaining and interactive class shows how to make tamales you'll love to eat and serve.

  • December 3rd: 20th Annual Arcada Christmas Walk
    Get into the holiday spirit with a stroll in Santa Barbara’s La Arcada, complete with photos with Santa, strolling carolers, local music groups, popcorn and other holiday cheer!

  • December 5th62nd Annual Downtown Santa Barbara Holiday Parade
    Join Grand Marshall Alan Thicke and more than 50,000 spectators to cheer marching bands, floats, performance groups and of course - Santa Claus in  the 2014 Downtown Santa Barbara Holiday Parade. This year’s theme, "Winter Nights & Holiday Lights", is presented by Consumer Fire Products, Inc.

  • December 5-7: Folk & Tribal Arts Marketplace at Museum of Natural History
    Attend the largest folk art show in Southern California, as they return to Santa Barbara with nearly 30 vendors representing more than 50 countries. This show will featuring an amazing selection of baskets, décor, ethnographic art, furniture, jewelry, pottery, sculpture, and more!

  • December 6: Gustafson Dance Presents: Rudolph
    Holiday season isn’t complete without a visit to see Santa’s trusted reindeer, Rudolph. Also included in this ballet of the holiday classic are Clarice, the Abominable Snow Monster, and even Santa. 

  • December 7th: Cheese and Sparkling Wine Class
    This is one delicious event you won’t want to miss! Join C’est Cheese as they celebrate the holiday season with sparkling wines & cheese! Attendees will taste through 3 sparkling wines, a Prosecco from Italy, a Cap Classique from South Africa & a Champagne from France - each of which will be paired with 2 cheeses.

  • December 7-9: Holiday Festival of Trains
    Those of all ages are invited to enjoy a sampling of Dave Halbeisen's extensive model train collection as the Santa Barbara Public Library System presents "Holiday Festival of Trains" at the Goleta Library for a special 3-day holiday display.

  • December 10: A Very Electric Christmas
    Get ready for a Very Electric Christmas at the Granada Theater. Performed in complete darkness this show is sure to entertain and features creative storylines centered around Nutcracker soldiers, candy-canes, naughty Rats, an electric Christmas tree surrounded by presents, glow worms, dancing flowers and many other holiday creatures that light up the stage.

  • December 13: Healthy Holiday Cooking
    Held at the Santa Barbara Public Market, learn how to make healthy holiday dishes without breaking tradition. Replace high fat holiday foods with healthier, delectable versions that will fool even your pickiest guests!

  • December 13: Nutcracker at the Arlington
    A cherished Santa Barbara holiday tradition, Nutcracker at the Arlington Theatre will be performed by Santa Barbara Festival Ballet at the Historic Arlington Theatre with a live, full symphony orchestra.

  • December 14th: 29th Annual Parade of Lights
    A Santa Barbara tradition the whole family can enjoy! The 29th Annual boat parade will begin as 20-30 boats motor, sail, and paddle the Santa Barbara Coastline. Best viewing locations include Stearns Wharf and Santa Barbara Breakwater.

For a complete list of December holiday events, please visit our December Event Calendar.

A Few of our Favorite Santa Barbara Beaches

Posted On: Friday, Oct 17, 2014 2:11 PM

One of the simplest pleasures of Santa Barbara is its proximity to the ocean. With miles of sandy coastline, and over 300+ days of sunshine to enjoy, you'll have trouble picking which of our pristine beaches to visit first. From surfer dude waves to a gentle ocean, Santa Barbara beaches have something to offer everyone.

When you're ready to hit the beach, here are some of our favorites with a few insider tips:

1. Arroyo Burro Beach
Insider Tip: Known as Henry's Beach to locals, Arroyo Burro Beach is a flat, dog-friendly spot. There's even a dog-washing station in the parking lot!

 henrys beach santa barbara
Image by Instagram Fan @littlelynnSB

2. Butterfly Beach
Insider Tip: Located in Montecito, Butterfly Beach faces west, making it a great place to watch the sunset.

Butterfly Beach
Image by Instagram Fan @SBlifeandstyle 

3. East Beach
Insider Tip: Bring the family and head to East Beach, next to Stearns Wharf. East Beach makes your stay a breeze with lifeguard stations, playground, cafe, and volleyball courts.

 east beach volleyball santa barbara
Image by J. Sinclair

4. Goleta Beach Park
Insider Tip: This good land beach is for those who like to be active during their beach time. Goleta Beach Park is complete with a fishing pier, playgrounds, picnic and grill areas, bike trails, volleyball courts and horseshoe pits.

 Goleta beach park
Image by Instagram Fan @gb0n

5. Ledbetter Beach 
Insider Tip: Near the harbor, where the coastline wraps around the beach. Because the coastline trends east to west, you can watch both the sunrise and sunset here.

 ledbetter beach santa barbara
Image By Jay Sinclair 

6. Summerland Beach
Insider Tip: Looking for a relaxing time? Summerland beach is a low-key spot that's not only dog friendly, but horse friendly too.

summerland beach
Image By Jay Sinclair 

Which of these Santa Barbara beaches is your favorite?

6 Savory Sips in Santa Barbara’s Newest Wine Neighborhood

Posted On: Tuesday, Oct 14, 2014 11:34 AM

As a lover of Santa Barbara and even bigger lover of Santa Barbara wine, I’m happy to announce and cheers to Santa Barbara’s newest wine tasting neighborhood, the Wine Collection of El Paseo. Located in the heart of fine dining and high-end shopping on State Street, these 6 ultra-premium wine tasting rooms are the perfect pairing for an afternoon (or two!) of wining, dinning and shopping.


Photo By Mark Weber

But what sets this new tasting neighborhood apart from others in the area? The new Wine Collection of El Paseo features small-production, boutique wineries that produce ultra-premium wines sourced from local Santa Barbara County vineyards.  In addition to tasting great wines, while you sip and swirl, you’ll be able to earn how these wines are locally crafted and about the terroir of where the grapes are grown in Santa Barbara County. It’s truly a grape to glass experience!

Tasting rooms of the Wine Collection of El Paseo includes Au Bon Climat Winery, Grassini Family Vineyards, Happy Canyon Vineyard, Jamie Slone Wines, Margerum Wine Company and MWC32.

Spend the afternoon in Downtown Santa Barbara and taste for yourself! All tasting rooms are open daily from 12-6 pm. Keep in mind the final tastings of the day begin no later than 5:30 pm.



Follow Grassini Family Vineyards on Instagram @grassinifamilyvineyards

For your epicure.sb insider tip, enjoy special tasting flights from:

Grassini Family Vineyards, featuring “Savor The Sauv” October 1-31
Jamie Slone Wines, featuring “Showtime at the Cabernet” October 1-31
Au Bon Climat Winery, featuring “Monster Mash Tasting Flight” October 24-31 and “Halloween” on October 31st

Cheers!

epicure.sb Inside Scoop: How To Crack Sea Urchin in 4 Easy Steps

Posted On: Friday, Oct 3, 2014 2:07 PM

Have you ever taken a look at the purple and prickly shell of the sea urchin and thought, how am I supposed to eat that? Believe us, it's not as hard as it may appear, and the results are too delicious not to try. In Santa Barbara, sea urchin is our specialty, and we're here to show you how to crack and enjoy this local delicacy in 4 easy steps.

In honor of epicure.sb, a 31-day celebration of cuisine, libations and culture during the month of October, Stephanie Mutz, President of Commercial Fishermen of Santa Barbara is here to guide you and provide the inside scoop. Here we go:

Step 1: Open the urchin by turning it upside down with mouth facing up. Hold two spoons back to back and squeeze together.

how to crack a sea urchin step 1

Step 2: Turn the sea urchin over to dump the sea water and algae.
how to crack a sea urchin step 2

Step 3: Pull out the maroon membranes.
how to crack a sea urchin step 4

 Step 4: With a spoon, scoop pieces of the bright orange uni.

how to crack a sea urchin step 3
That's it! The traditional way to eat sea urchin is raw, right out of the shell. Not feeling that adventurous? Don't worry. Visit seastephaniefish.com for recipes or click here for your complete guide to all the eats, drinks and experiences during epicure.sb.

 

Savor Your Salutations with 8 Yoga Events During epicure.sb

Posted On: Wednesday, Oct 1, 2014 10:32 PM

There's a new craze that's sweeping Santa Barbara and it's calling on the mind and body. That's right, yoga in Santa Barbara is stretching its reach and balancing itself within our coastal lifestyle.

Santa Barbara Beach Yoga
Image by Instagram fan @primalrevolutions

Yoga has been around for centuries, but what makes the Santa Barbara yogi so unique? Our ocean to mountain sunshine allows for this meditative practice to be taken outside of the studio and into the wild. Bring a whole new meaning to mountain pose while you’re surrounded by giant boulders and breathtaking views. Or, perhaps boat pose on the sand at your favorite Santa Barbara beach. Wherever you choose, this healthy activity will leave you feeling centered in your Santa Barbara surroundings.

Santa Barbara sunset yoga

Image by Instagram fan @primalrevolutions

As part of epicure.sb, a 31-day celebration of Santa Barbara’s cuisine, libation and culture, we’ll also be celebrating yoga in Santa Barbara with the First Annual Health and Wellness Yoga Series. This October event series will feature a unique array of Santa Barbara's top Yoga teachers and premiere locations. Each of the events is designed include an hour long yoga class followed by a reception.

  Re-Occurring Sundays

The purpose of this series is to create a truly uplifting experience that highlights the unique lifestyle of Santa Barbara. With that said, grab your yoga mat and join us for one of these unique events!

Namaste.

 

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