Sunday, January 8, 2012

Mini-Vacation Idea: One Day, One Night in Santa Barbara

Christmas is a very hectic time of year for Alex and I, sothis year we decided to add a day of fun prior to the annual 4 Christmases to help us relax and prepare for what is to come...we planned an overnight in Santa Barbara at the Simpson House Inn, and decided to try a winery or two on the drive down from San Francisco.

We began our day tasting at Rusack in Los Olivos. The drive was pretty, although a little windy for the last few miles. We entered a nice tasting room and were warmly greeted by Joe, the wine tasting guide. We enjoyed the wines and decided to purchase the Ballard Canyon Estate Syrah and Santa Rita Hills Pinot Noir. The beginning of the experience was excellent, however another tasting host completed our tasting in a very rushed and not very personable manor. He was practically grabbing our glasses out of our hand which really tarnished the experience for us! The wines were great, unfortunately I do not think that we will be back here any time soon! Once we got back in car,we decided we would give Los Olivos another shot and made our way over to Carhartt

Robin, our wine host, was amazing! She was so fun and energetic, it was really just a bonus that the wines were good too! When I began to ask her for additional winery recommendations and she described a place as having “Nordstrom-like bathrooms”, I knew she was my kind of girl. This tasting room is extremely small, so come here on a random day or when its warm outside and you can enjoy your tastings on the patio. Lucky for us, we were the only tasters there when we arrived. I personally preferred their whites to their reds, however their pinot noir was very delicious. We ended up spending about 45 minutes in the tasting room and purchasing 2 bottles of wine, the 2010 Sauvignon Blanc and the 2010 Granache Blanc. We thought that both of them weredelicious and unique. Per Robin’s suggestion we tried Los Olivos CafĂ© for lunch.To my surprise, this was a really amazing place. They had an incredible wine selection and a beautiful layout. A thai curry flavored turkey burger and 2 glasses of water later, we were back on the road towards the Simpson House Inn.



Upon arrival at the Simpson House Inn behind 121 Arrellaga Street, we were greeted at our car and our luggage was whisked away. We were given a tour of the inn and all of the amenities were fully explained to us,then we were taken to our upgraded room. The garden room was a beautiful wooden room with high ceilings and a lot of natural light. The room was stocked with complimentary water and sodas along with a small dessert and a personal welcome card. No wonder this place is the only 5 diamond awarded B&B in North America! There was an appetizer and wine tasting hour featuring Santa Barbara Winery and light bites. Alex and I didn’t care for the wines, but the appetizers were a nice touch and tied us over for the evening. We took a walk down State Street, then returned to desserts, coffee, and tea before retiring to our room and scanning through Netflix. The beds were extremely comfortable, which is important to note, because I am a difficult sleeper away from home. The following morning we enjoyed a huge gourmet breakfast delivered toour patio. We had coffee, granola, fruit, muffins, yogurt, and a Strata witha small salad. We loved the rainfall shower and Alex liked the Kiehl’s bath products so much that I bought him some for his Christmas stocking. The overall experience was exactly what we needed to relax before a long weekend of 5 Christmases in San Diego. I think that we found our new pre-Christmas routine and next year we will be happy to head back to the Simpson House Inn!


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