Santa Barbara Receives Travel Awards and Accolades

Wine Tasting by Bike in Santa Barbara

It appears to be the unofficial travel editorial awards season and Santa Barbara is the proud recipient of a variety of notable mentions and magazine highlights. The callouts are exciting testaments to both travel writers’ and readers’ love of this favorite coastal destination.

The Los Angeles Times audience voted Santa Barbara the Best Getaway in the 2012 Travel and Entertainment Readers’ Choice Awards! This was followed by two more editorial accolades, including:

  • Departures Magazine: World’s Most Bikeable Wine Regions – This mention talks about Santa Barbara’s Funk Zone—the section of city located between the Pacific and Highway 101 that has given rise to a variety of artisan winemakers, galleries and boutique hotels—which is home to the Urban Wine Trail. Made up of 17 Santa Barbara County tasting rooms all within blocks of each other and the beach, the Urban Wine Trail provides the perfect path to enjoy some quality pours mixed with easy pedaling or a ride in a pedicab!
  • Travel + Leisure Magazine: Best Hotels in California – Two of Santa Barbara’s esteemed hotel properties proudly made this list. The San Ysidro Ranch, which is a 500-acre property offering 27 rooms and 14 vine-covered cottages in a secluded setting near downtown Santa Barbara, was JFK and Jackie Kennedy’s choice as a honeymoon spot. Additionally, the Four Seasons Resort The Biltmore Santa Barbara was chosen for its Spanish Colonial style and dream-like coastal expanse along Montecito’s waterfront.

Santa Barbara and other Central California gems continued their time in the spotlight with this month’s issue of the Wine Enthusiast, which ran the article, California’s Highway 1, The Wine-Lover’s Route. From the Urban Wine Trail to the Sideways highlights of the Santa Ynez and Solvang valleys, the article takes the reader on a virtual tour of some of the Central Coast’s best tasting rooms.

Pick up your copies today or read the articles online! For updated information on Santa Barbara happenings, news and events and special offers, make sure to follow Santa Barbara on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Google+ or check in with us on FourSquare!

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Santa Barbara Blooming with Events and Festivals this Spring!

It’s spring in Santa Barbara, which means the event and festival scene begins to ramp up as the days get longer and warmer! If you’re cruising through California’s Central Coast, plan your trip to coincide with one, or a few, of these classic Santa Barbara happenings:

The 24th Annual Santa Maria Strawberry Festival: April 29 – May 1, 2012
Nothing says summer like strawberry shortcake and no place produces strawberries quite as sweet as Santa Maria Valley. Head to Santa Maria Fairpark April 29th, 30th and May 1st from 11:00am – 11:00pm for some wholesome family fun, including the biggest, juiciest, freshest strawberries Santa Barbara County has to offer. A variety of culinary delights and cooking demonstrations will complement.

1st Thursday: May 3rd and June 7th, 2012
Join Santa Barbarans for an evening of art and culture, free to the public! Wander galleries and art-related venues to take in the best of the Santa Barbara arts and culture scene. 5:00pm – 8:00pm. Continue reading

Santa Clara Valley Spring Passport Weekend

Get your fill of Santa Clara Valley wines March 24th–25th at the Santa Clara Valley Passport Weekend hosted by Wineries of Santa Clara Valley! There will be over 20 participating wineries offering wine and food pairings, plus additional entertainment including music, art, winery tours, and barrel tastings.

With your purchase of the event’s wine passport, you’ll receive a souvenir wine glass and wine trail map. For more information on the event and how to purchase your wine passport click here. Cheers!

Santa Barbara Celebrates Its Earth-friendly Side with Ecotopia in March and April

Year-round climate perfect for producing savor fruits and veggies? Check. The ocean on one side and beckoning mountain trails on the other? Check. A community that’s long been committed to sustainability and is the proud founder of the first Earth Day celebration? Check!  It’s no secret that Santa Barbara’s South Coast is an Earth-lovers paradise. As a local with a bent for sustainability and all things eco, I’m looking forward to celebrating Santa Barbara’s green scene in March and April during Ecotopia—two months of recognizing the area’s unique sustainable aspects—because, when you live in a place as beautifully bountiful as SB, celebrating the Earth takes more than a day.

Follow Ecotopia on Facebook, Twitter, Google+ and FourSquare for weekly updates or use my quick guide to making the most of Santa Barbara’s inviting Earth-friendly activities while lowering your carbon footprint at the same time.

  1. As a seafood lover, an occasional trip to the weekly Santa Barbara Fish Market (Saturdays in the Harbor from 7:00am – 11:00am) is a must. Fishermen are encouraged to harvest sustainably and the local catch means less oil and gas to transport. If you’d rather dine out, look for Ty Warner Sea Center’s Sustainable Food Program Member stickers on storefront windows. Continue reading

Clam Chowder Festival – Santa Cruz

If you’re looking for some delicious plans this weekend, look no further. Head on over to Santa Cruz and join in on the public chowder tastings at the 31st Annual Santa Cruz Clam Chowder Cook-Off & Festival.

Contestants in the Individual and Professional categories will be whipping up their unique takes on the creamy stew, so be sure to vote for your favorite. Get your fill of Boston and Manhattan chowders along with entertainment on the Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk.

Cayucos Sea Glass Festival

Sea glass can be a beautiful and fascinating thing. Pieces of glass, worn and weathered by the sea, are transformed from man-made material to organic-like items sparkling like gems along the coast.

If you’re often captivated by these drops of color in the sand or want to see the creativity others use with their found sea glass, check out the Cayucos Sea Glass Festival. On March 10 and 11, sea glass enthusiasts and artists will have all their unique creations on display and for sale.

Oh, and did we mention, the Taste of Cayucos is going on at exactly the same time? Listen to music, grab a bite to eat, then head over to see myriad of sea glass creations.

Ventura Music Week, February 15-19, 2012

If you’re in the mood for some great tunes, head over to Ventura and choose from a wide variety of venues participating in Ventura’s local music scene. There are many genres of music to choose from and most venues are offering food and beverage specials.

To get your music fix, check out more information here, and don’t be afraid to hum along with your favorite local musicians.