North, Along the Coast

Is it an artist community or horse country? A rural enclave, or a getaway for well-to-do wine lovers? Does it really matter when you’re talking about a place as charming as Los Olivos?

So writes the author in my AAA magazine.

My friend and I were ready for a day trip up the coast, and decided that Los Olivos was the place we wanted to go. Actually, a ride in a convertible on a sunny, summer day along the coast was what we wanted. Los Olivos was just a destination to keep us driving.

We started out from my house around 9:30 in the morning and headed north to Santa Monica to pick up Route 1, the Pacific Coast Highway. Driving through Malibu, we drove along the now infamous stretch of highway where drunk movie stars get arrested. I bet you can’t find that on any map!

What was amazing, other than the beautiful day, was the complete lack of TRAFFIC! In three hours time, we traveled up the PCH through Malibu, Oxnard, and Ventura, picked up 101 and continued right through Santa Barbara.

I snapped this along the way.

along_pch.jpg

From there I turned onto Route 154, a twisty road that cuts through the Los Padres National Forest. I love roads like this. I’m not sure my passenger enjoys them as much as I do, but she’s a good sport and doesn’t put her feet on my dashboard. She does, however, read the speed limit signs to me as we pass them. I don’t know how she can read them. They’re kind of blurry when I pass them. 🙂

We got to Los Olivos just in time for lunch. Unbeknownst to us sun kissed travelers, we ate at one of the restaurants where a scene from the movie Sideways was filmed. I had Roasted Tri Tip (shaved Grass Fed Beef ‘Tri Tip’ With Barbeque Sauce, Crispy Onions And Classic Coleslaw) and my friend had Roasted Vegetable (zucchini, red pepper, eggplant oven dried tomato, basil pesto and smoked mozzarella on toasted foccacia). Neither of us had any of their famous wines though.

After lunch we walked around the small downtown area visiting the local shops, trying to make room for dessert. The shops were evenly divided between wineries and art galleries, with a few clothing stores, a tack shop and a general store just to make it fair.

Not seeing anything we wanted to buy, or any desserts we were interested in eating, we hopped back in the car and headed home. On the way we decided to stop in Solvang. “Solvang” is Danish for ‘sunny field’, and was founded in 1911 by a small group of Danish teachers. The downtown area is about a 2 square miles of shops selling everything “Danish”. Including danish…cheese, raisin, apricot…We figured this would be a perfect place to stop for dessert. We strolled from shop to shop; café to café, but neither of us had any of their famous pastry! We instead had an ice cream cone!

Never let it be said we conform to any conventions!

Here is a picture I snapped of the Mission up the road from Solvang. When the scenery wasn’t the Pacific Ocean, it was this…

solvangmission.jpg


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