Santa Barbara Scrumptious
By Richard Carroll
Photos: Halina Kubalski
Santa Barbara. Cyclist's enjoying the city
anta Barbara, just an hour or two north of Los Angeles, is an island
unto itself. Attracting both the beach bum crowd suntanned surfers,
the witty homeless with street-wise talent, folks in search of a fresh
beginning and long-time residents with deep-pocket affluence,
this coastal city encourages easy intermingling of the two since both
are clinging to dreams of good times ahead. Santa Barbara is the setting
where they blend together in an elegant and earthy style of California
The popular Santa Barbara Pier.
Anchoring the city is the prestigious University of
California, Santa Barbara, a noted party school with its own beach,
which provides a continual infusion of high energy and passion, and
a perfect counter-point to the port wine, candle-lit dinner crowd driving
pampered show-room cars that would be a nice down payment on a starter
Smiling hard-working students labor in the restaurants
and boutiques, and are seen jogging or cycling along the attractive
ocean path. They energetically thrust the city up a hefty notch with
their optimistic demeanor that always seems to proclaim that life is
splendid and Santa Barbara is the place to be.
Santa Barbara coast
The city is an intriguing showcase of gorgeous Old World
Mission architecture where red tile roofs rule and California history
lives. Montecito, partially within Santa Barbara's city limits, was
once a home base for President Reagan and Michael Jackson, and is where
president to be, John Kennedy and Jackie spent part of their honeymoon.
A host of other international celebrities have found
their way to Santa Barbara, including Oprah. Perceptive to the joys
of the city, she is enjoying a lavish 42-acre estate, and a city noted
for fine dining, exclusive shopping, an organic-style Farmer's Market,
elite art galleries, a large cluster of busy resident artists, and a
booming wine scene with a bevy of local wine aficionados with refined
The Santa Barbara Farmers's Market is among the
best along this part
of California offering organic vegetables and fruit.
The county's wine regions embody everything that is
wonderful about the area, like putting on a comfy pair of slippers and
a favorite robe, and enjoying the bouquet of a fruity Zinfandel. Cleverly,
Santa Barbara in accord with the county wineries have designed a noted
downtown Urban Wine Trail, which is the essence of convenience for wine
enthusiasts and for those who wish to taste and learn about the county's
offerings. The Wine Trail, located within blocks of downtown and the
beach, connects a whopping 23 tasting rooms.
The spirit of America can be felt in the vital Santa
Barbara County wine country, in the fabled tradition of winemaking,
the enduring energy of zealous winemakers, and the spiritual quest of
tasting room sommeliers to enhance the pleasure of visitors by increasing
their appreciation of the significant choices to be made before a cork
is pulled at the dinner table.
With appellations, wineries, and vineyards reaching
from the Santa Maria, Los Alamos, and Santa Ynez Valleys, to the Santa
Rita Hills, Happy and Ballard Canyons, and Los Olivos, there are more
than 200 wineries, and 50 different wine grape varietals in Santa Barbara
county, the top three being Chardonnay, Pinot Noir, and Syrah.
The celebrated family-owned Fess Parker Winery &
Vineyard on Foxen Canyon Road in Los Olivos, dating to 1988, is noted
for their 2012 Ashley's, Chardonnay; 2012, Pinot Nior, Bien
Nacido Vineyard, and the 2012, Viognier, Rodney's Vineyard,
amongst other vintages. Their wines show a strong sense of place with
the maritime influence from the Pacific Ocean combined with determined
The award-winning family-owned Fess Parker Winery
in Los Olivios.
Parker wines have been served in the White House and
were poured exclusively at the opening of Ronald Regan's Presidential
Library. Following in his father's footsteps, son, Eli Parker, who overlooks
the winery as its Chief executive Officer, was honored with Winemaker
of the Year in 1996 and 2006.
The late Fess Parker, who was tall and lean and handsome,
with a long list of film and television credits, was best known for
his portrayal of Davy Crockett in the Disney television series, and
Daniel Boone in a television mini-series, and is listed as a Disney
Legend. Married 50-years, Fess had an enduring vision of family unity,
and a top priority to leave something for the generations to come.
The interior of the family-owned Fess Parker Hilton
Resort, a half-mile
from downtown, located on one of California's most attractive coastlines.
The family-oriented 24-acre Fess Parker Hilton Resort,
a half-mile from downtown, located on one of California's most attractive
coastlines, reflects Fess Parker's life-long beliefs. Opened in 1987,
the 360-guest room, non-pretentious, non-smoking property, welcomes
guests and pets with the friendliest staff this side of Disneyland.
Three key restaurants and an ocean-view bar, fitness center and spa,
wine tasting, and complimentary airport and Amtrak shuttle service are
For those who wish to explore the county's wine trails,
a Hertz Rental Car Desk is located in the lobby. Guests can also hop
on the Downtown Waterfront Shuttles or ride the red Trolley Car for
a narrated, 90-minute tour of the city. Before departing the hotel lift
a glass to Fess: it's a long-standing, feel-good tradition.
The Santa Barbara Shell Fish Company restaurant
is among the most
popular in Santa Barbara. Located on the pier, the fish is fresh, and
has won a number of awards. Visitors often overlook this casual restaurant.
When You Go
Parker Hilton Resort: 888-370-0998
Parker Winery & Vineyard
Santa Barbara, The American Riviera
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