Our weekend getaway started at the Madonna Inn. The anticipation building up for this stay has been overwhelming since we first planned the getaway in March, it’s safe to say I was ecstatic to be staying at this magical place! The ostentatious design of the hotel caught my eye while browsing online, and I knew this was a place to add to my summer bucket list. We had a trip in the works for a weekend stay in Santa Barbara when we said to ourselves, “why not just do both?”. So, we planned to make a stop in San Louis Obispo before heading down to Santa Barbara.
If I had to describe our room in one word, the first thing to pop in my head would be enchanting. It was simply amazing, and we had an amazing stay! Our first excursion on the property was dinner at the steak house, which was absolutely phenomenal and one of the best meals I’ve had. The restaurant used a wood firing method on their meats and the flavor was just as mouth watering as you could imagine. Unfortunately, we were too full to try the cakes which they are so famous for. (Or maybe that will be my excuse for the need to go back!) Our late dinner reservations placed us perfectly in time to experience the 50’s music dance party being attended by all ages at the bar next door. The energy and happiness observed in the room next to us was another sure sign of the magic that the Madonna Inn radiates to its visitors.
SAN LOUIS OBISPO DOWN TO SANTA BARBARA-
We are becoming quite the wine connoisseurs, my boyfriend and I. Or maybe just “wannabes” but to say the least we love to go wine tasting and explore the valleys on the meandering backroads of California. We’ve heard so much about all the amazing wineries that Santa Barbara and it’s surrounding areas had to offer. So we had to check them out for ourselves! We took the road less traveled down from San Louis Obispo winding through the farmlands and strawberry fields. Driving through with the Jeep top down we couldn’t have asked for a more beautiful day, the sun was shining and you could smell the freshness in the air from the fresh picked strawberries for miles. We had only enough time to stop at three wineries, Fess Parker, Sunstone, and Rideau. Each had so much to offer and were fabulous in their own way. I’m more of a red wine drinker but I was very impressed by the chardonnays and other white wines that we tasted from all three. Our first stop was to Fess Parker, such a beautiful place with green lawns surrounding the building and people enjoying the outdoor patio. We tried all the wines and left with a bottle of chardonnay. Next on the list was Sunstone Winery, off the beaten path you take a little dirt road until you arrive at the beautiful Tuscan style rock building. When entering the property to get to the tasting room you pass through a little courtyard where people were enjoying the sunny day, kids playing in the grass, sipping wine and playing games like bocce ball in the lawn. We sampled their classic selection and the Reserve list so we could share and have more of a variety. They had an amazing selection and I liked just about every wine they had to offer, but I preferred most of the ones on the reserve list. Lastly was Rideau, which was suggested to us by someone from Sunstone, we had never heard of it but we stopped by and it was packed! I really loved the old cottage like house where the tasting room was located. We sat down at the tasting bar and you look out to panoramic views of the lush green surroundings. We ended up staying here for a while and talking to the sommelier about all the unique wines, the surrounding cities, and places we should stop at.
SANTA BARBARA AND THE HOTEL MILO-
We cruised down the Pacific Coast Highway where lastly we arrived in Santa Barbara! The temperature dropped quite a bit and the coastal air was brisk as the evening fog moved in. We stayed at the amazing Spanish style Hotel Milo. We had a perfect view from our balcony of our room where you could see the beach and the boardwalk of people playing with their dogs, biking, walking, or just relaxing in the sand. We sat back on our front balcony and drank a bottle of wine that we had got that day and talked and people watched. For dinner we went to a Mexican place off of State Street that was recommended to us by numerous people calledCarlitos. Their food was amazing, and so were their margaritas! Sitting outside we enjoyed the tunes of a band and the sanguine environment. After dinner we ventured around State Street and down to the “Funk Zone” where all the local breweries and wineries are located, stopping at this little dive bar that caught out eye where an old blues band playing.
The next morning we walked to the harbor where we had lunch on the patio at Endless Summer Cafe’ before walking all the way out to the end of the harbor and taking a boat ride off the coast. We saw some lazy sea lions napping on the barge. Just before our departure, we cruised the pier enjoying the beauty of Santa Barbara, talking about how we will be back for another adventure soon!