Girls Trip: Sunshine and Wine on the West Coast
If I’ve learned anything in my 20s, it’s that there are few combinations as divine as a girls’ trip and wine. While Napa is often seen as the wine-tasting capital of the country, Santa Barbara County is a wonderful place to see some of the most beautiful vineyards and taste some of the most well-crafted wines. If you’re wanting to plan the perfect girls’ trip that includes delicious wines, beautiful sights, and boutique accommodations, then a weekend in Santa Barbara wine country is exactly what you need. During your visit, there are three unique yet delightful towns that you should explore in order to make the most out of your experience: Solvang, Los Olivos, and Los Alamos are three stunning towns that are truly dedicated to the art of winemaking. Each place is unique from the other, yet they blend together perfectly to make up the heart and soul of Santa Barbara wine country.
Solvang is the closest thing to a taste of Europe that you can get in California. This delightful Danish town features traditional Danish architecture such as windmills and cottages, making you feel as though you have hopped over the pond. The town is a mere 2.4 square miles, meaning you can either walk or bike to pretty much everything. With more than 20 different tasting rooms in downtown Solvang, you will face no shortage of vino. In fact, the biggest struggle you will encounter will be trying to narrow down which tasting rooms you will be able to visit. Before going, I would recommend doing a bit of research on the wineries and figuring out which ones serve your favorite kind of wines. For food, there are several little Danish bakeries that you absolutely must try while in Solvang. It is also the perfect way to load up on some carbs while you indulge in a day of wine tasting. For dinner, take your girls to Mad & Vin for a tasty yet modern meal, complete of course with a bottle of wine from a local vineyard. At nightime, lay your head to rest comfortably either at The Landsby or Hotel Corque, two luxury boutique hotels that are within walking distance of everything in downtown Solvang.
Located less than 15 minutes from Solvang is the beautiful and quaint town of Los Olivos. Though the main strip of Los Olivos is a bit smaller than what you’ll find in Solvang, the area is surrounded by rolling hills with plenty of huge vineyards and tasting rooms. Before settling in and preparing to explore the small downtown strip, stop by some of the more secluded vineyards on your way in. The views will stun and it is the perfect opportunity to snap some memorable photos with your girlfriends. Once you are ready to drop the car off and finish your day on food, check into the Fess Parker Wine Country Inn and get ready to taste some of the best sauvingnon blancs and pinot noirs you’ve ever had. Once you’ve had your fill of vino, sit down for dinner at Nella for an Italian-inspired meal that will blow you and your friends away. Lastly, before leaving Los Olivos, you must get your hands on a carton of Enjoy Cupcakes. They are truly the most delectable cupcakes in all of Central California.
The last stop on your girls’ West Coast wine tour will be in Los Alamos, a funky town that is truly a designer's dream. Whether you choose to stay at the Skyview Los Alamos or the Alamo Motel, you and your girls will be blown away by the attention to detail and Instagram-worthy aesthetic. Though you will find fewer tasting rooms in Los Alamos than Solvang and Los Olivos, your group will also most likely be a bit burned out from all the wine that you indulged in the previous days, making this the perfect location to end your trip. After enjoying a glass of wine on Bodega’s patio and hitting all of the spots on your list, end your evening with a French-inspired dinner at Bell’s. If the group is up for it, take a look at their award-winning wine list for one final indulgence before heading back to reality.
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