Our Trip to Santa Ynez Valley. Wine, Food and Quilt Stores!!

My lovely Mother-In-Law has been in town visiting us from Thibodaux, Louisiana for about a week and a half now.  (Let me tell you I'm really one of the lucky ones - my In-Laws are all amazing.  I really am blessed!) 
She'll be flying home on Monday, so we thought we'd do a quick road trip and get her outta the city and take her to one of our favorite vacation destinations, the Santa Ynez Valley in California.  For us it's a 2 1/2 hour drive.
If you live in the area, or are planing a trip to California, and like great wine, amazing food and fun little stops in between, take a read.  Here are our favorites!

Our first MUST stop is Bob's Well Bread in Los Alamos. It's worth mentioning that Bob is always there to ring us up and is a super nice guy.  It's well worth chatting him up.  

I always get the Avocado Toast for my first breakfast. It's basically toasted fresh bread with avocado smeared over it, drizzled with olive oil, and sprinkled with pumpkin seeds.  It's amazing!  They side the toast with a seasonal salad and poached egg.  It all works so well together.  (we'll write a post of our version of the Avocado Toast that we make at home, just in case we've piqued your interest and you can't make the drive.)

My second breakfast take away was the almond croissant.   I'm telling you it's just too good to not prepare yourself for a mid morning snack! 

Our next stop is the Antique Mall which happens to be across the street from Bob's.  This is 3 large buildings of antiques. There seems to be something for everyone.  Look what I found!  I was very excited with my find!

All that shopping makes us thirsty so we head over to the Union Saloon for a little pick me up. 

Another must stop.  The attached Hotel is still under renovations but the saloon is as cute as ever!

They use an old refurbished door as a table, and tractor seats at the bar. The reclaimed wood work is so well done it's worth just going in even  for a lemonade to get a look at this beauty.  Plus the LSU game was on so you know we had to watch the tail of that!  Don't ask how the game ended...we quickly needed some libations!

We then headed straight to Casa Dumez, one of our favorite stops.  Sonja, the owner, was in and we had a great time chatting with her while my husband and Mother-in-law enjoyed all the wines.  Even if you aren't a wine person, it's worth checking out.  This is not a snobby, or stuffy uncomfortable shop - quite the opposite!  The staff is super friendly.  You belly up to the bar and let them know if you're new to wine or if you prefer Reds or Whites.  It's such a great way to learn about your tastebuds and to have a conversations about what you're tasting.  It really is a great time.  

We normally take notes, and I'll score the wines secretly, and then after all the tastings we reveal our top picks.  What's great is we normally agree 95% of the time and that's always nice because then we always have someone to share a bottle with!   Also, I would always say I'm a Red girl, that's why my hair is red from drinking deliciouse Red wine.  White wines never "did anything for me", but that's because I never had the right one!  This experience has really opened our eyes to all the different nuances of wine.  Each wine varietal has it's own unique characteristics.  Give it a try, be open to the experience.  You'll probably learn a lot!

There is a great chance you'll be feeling the delicious wine after the tasting, so we do a little dance over to Bell Street Farm where Jamie greets us like we are old friends and now I feel like we are!  The food here knocks our socks off!  Our favorite is the Pork Salad and Procuto and Gouda Sandwich mid-meal we swap plates.  We almost lick the plate.  Literally.  Need I say more?

So all this in about a city block!  It's the most perfect afternoon until...I realize the Quilt store in Orcutt closes in 30 mins and we're miles away!  We race to the car!  Let me be honest with you, I can barely keep myself from racing to the Quilt stores first and then dilly dally around town.  I'm really exercising my self control!!  I mean, I better be exercising something with all these pastries I'm eating!  

Back to the race: we race over to The Old Town Quilt Shop in Orcutt.  I apologize to the first employee I see for walking in as they're trying to close.  She's sweet and says not to even worry about it, for me to take my time!! Whew!  She obviously doesn't know me!  I could spend all day! :)
The employee, I want to say her name is Diana (forgive me if I'm wrong), and I had a nice chat.  She shares with me that they hold retreats there and showed me the space....YES PLEASE!  I am totally interested!   I must say my only complaint is they aren't open on Sunday. I totally understand them needing time off, but a girl really needs her Quilt shop time!  :)

We are now officially pooped and head to our AirBnB which happens to be less than a mile away from the Quilt shop. Thank you, Quilting Gods!  AirBnB is a site where you can book lodging in peoples extra space in their homes or sometimes the entire house. Have you every used Air BnB?  We've had great luck.

Sunday morning we are off and running!  We weren't quite ready for the 47 degree temp but, we didn't let that hold us back from returning to  Bob's again!  We took the very scenic route with lots of photo stops.  These are the views!  Pretty amazing right?


My favorite view!  :)

As I mentioned, I'm a Quilt store fanatic, and if there's a quilt store near us I want to check it out!  I find that part of the excitement in traveling or a reason to travel!  :)  We are going to Big Bear next weekend and you better believe I've already "googled" that!  

Back to this trip, I strategically put us in the town of Buellton right at 10am.  I'm no amateur!  The last quilt store stop on our list, The Creation Station, is open for business!  I hope most of you have heard of this shop.   They've been around forever!  This is a wife and husband team, Dawn and Patrick.  You'll know Dawn when you see her, she'll be the one with the hot pink hair! The shop is pretty adorable, with a lot to see.  They have a lot of precut fabric along with a modest about of bolts.  They have lots of quilts and sample projects if you find yourself in a rut.  Creativity really runs wild in this store.   
P.S. Dawn's parents "shop-sit" from time to time, and are the warmest people you can run across!  Pops can really talk you're ear off and I'm more than happy to listen! 

Our next stop via the scenic back roads....


Lastly we arrive in the city of Los Olivos.  This is a little vineyard mecca!  Driving up, you know you've hit the jackpot or at least that's how I felt. The streets are lined with little shops and tasting rooms.  Yes please!!!

Our most beloved stop is J. Woeste.  This home and garden shop is mind blowing!  Seriously.  They have pottery, rod iron work, plants, goodies to hang from trees, flying pigs...no really. 

 Inside the business  they have unique gifts, home decor, now Christmas goodies...it's just paradise!
You could probably do all your Christmas shopping in this one shop! It's not cheap but neither is the workmanship!  
On this main strip of town you'll find lots of tasting rooms, some olive oil tasting rooms, one bar serving beer, one restaurant a coffee shop along with some misc shops tossed in like Avec Moi Decor (ladies, you gotta save some time and money for this shop!).  Oh, and the General Store is worth a stop in as well.  Our favorite wine stops in Los Olivios are: Stolpman & Carhartt.  We haven't made it to Foxen, but we've put it on the list for next time!  And honestly there are so many different wineries you'll need to come experience them for yourselves.  Tell us your favorites!

So that's our Santa Ynez weekend recap.  I hope you enjoyed a glimpse into our lives and this encourages you to come on out to California for a little off the beaten path adventure!



  1. nice blog about our Santa Ynez Valley, please do check out The Bakers Table next time you are in Santa Ynez- great pastries, solid breakfast and lunch!

  2. thanks for the tip! We will be sure to swing by. We love the area!