The first port of my Coastal California Cruise was Santa Barbara. I had originally booked a walking tour that included food and wine tastings through an eclectic section of Santa Barbara. But, I heard some other passengers talking about a different tour that sounded better, so I swapped them out. I’m really glad I did! The tour I ended up taking included a drive through the wine country surrounding Santa Barbara, visits to two estate wineries, and time for lunch and shopping in nearby Solvang – a quaint Dutch village. It was a fabulous day! Santa Barbara does not allow cruise ships to dock – their harbor isn’t really suited for big ships. So, we had to tender to shore in smaller boats.
The tour included this commemorative wine glass for us to use for tastings at both wineries and keep!
I LOVE it — it says “Wine Adventures of Santa Barbara” – PERFECT!!!
The first winery we visited was LaFond – I have never really been one to care for red wines, but over the past year or so I have grown to appreciate them…..but, when I tried this Pinot Noir, I LOVED it….I am a new Pinot Noir fan, for sure!!! We tasted a couple whites and a couple reds. I rarely go to a wine tasting and like EVERY wine I taste, but I did here…..in fact, I did at both Santa Barbara wineries, as well as all three wineries we visited while in Napa Valley / Sonoma, too! I was impressed!
We had a nice size group on our tour – this was about 1/2 of us in the tasting room at LaFond.
To be considered an “Estate” winery, they have to farm their grapes, process their wine, and bottle it all on their own property. We passed so many beautiful vineyards – the country side is full of hills covered with grape vines! This is a section of the property at LaFond.
It was windy, that day…..but very sunny and warm!
Oak barrels used to age some types of wines. The LaFond Pinot Noir is oak aged – very good!!!
The second estate winery we visited was Foley Estates. The owner of this winery was one of the co-founders of Fidelity Investments.
Foley Estates also had a wonderful Pinot Noir and other award winning wines. I purchased a couple bottles of the Pinot Noir from this winery – I regret I didn’t get something from LaFond. In fact, I am killing time right now waiting for Fed Ex with the package from Foley Estates – it has to be signed for and can not be left on a porch because of the contents, so I have to stay put till they get here! 🙂
They have a warm, inviting tasting room! Again, we tasted a couple whites and a couple reds and ALL were amazing!!!
And, their property is stunning, as well!
What a gorgeous day it was!!!
I couldn’t resist taking a photo of this lone cow resting up on the top of the ridge across from the winery! 🙂
Then, we moved on to Solvang. This was a lovely little village settled by the Dutch. To ensure they keep their identity as a Dutch village, all businesses must maintain an old world Dutch look. It really makes for a great place to visit!
After all that wine, I was ready for some lunch…..haha! I chose a small diner and picked the sampling of Dutch sandwiches and potato salad. It was all soooooo good……the ones on the right are sliced Dutch meatballs with red cabbage slaw and pickled carrots, then there was one with ham and a garnish of peas, carrots, and red onions, the last one was roast beef with marinated cucumbers and red peppers – all on pumpernickel bread! YUM!!!
I couldn’t leave without trying their specialty – Aebleskiver!!! They are warm, soft donut-type balls with rasberry jam and powdered sugar. They were HUGE! So, I was only able to eat one and a half…..hated to leave the rest, they were so good, but I just couldn’t eat anymore!
Many of the buildings had these decorative birds on the roofs – at first, I thought they were real, until I looked closer!
Yes – that is an actual pay phone……they do still exist!!!
This was the shop of a lady who hand paints garments……not just by painting a design on them, but also hand painting every inch of the garment – she starts with a white garment and ends up with one that is painted with a base color and the design on top…..they were AMAZING…..but VERY expensive!!! I wanted to find a t-shirt or something, but the price and the fact that most of them were custom made for clients, killed that hope!
We got back to the ship just in time to relax a little and change for dinner. The show that evening was the Motown review. Such a wonderful day!