It was Friday afternoon the 4th of December and I was finishing up at the office so I could get home to regroup with my Family (Amy-Wife, Aiden 12 year Son, Bella 6 year Daughter) before we went up to Los Alamos (a short 18 minute drive from Buellton) for their annual Holiday stroll. It was going to be a busy weekend of Holiday celebrations across the Santa Ynez Valley.
Just a few days earlier on Tuesday the 1st, Santa Ynez had kicked off the season with the lighting of their 75 foot tree, purportedly the tallest Christmas tree in the SYV. There were dancers, Santa, Hot Cider and Popcorn. After the Tree Lighting Ceremony, the adults gathered at The Brother Restaurant at the Red Barn for wine, yummy bites and conversation. Owners, Jeff and Matt Nichols, are always great hosts, and they did not disappoint on Tuesday evening.
So I get home, and we all get into the car for Los Alamos. I expect it to be a quick evening since the Fam is coming along. A short but sincere visit with everyone on Bell Street welcoming the evening visitors.
It was anything but a short evening. We started at Connie Rohde’s C Gallery with Hot Toddy and Carolers. Then we headed across the street to Municipal Wines where we found Vanessa and Bob Oswaks of Bob’s Well Bread. Vanessa poured Amy and me delicious mulled wine, and Bob gave the kids a huge pretzel. We hung out for a bit and a 2nd glass while Aiden and Bella played on the swings and we visited. Next, we went back across Bell to Bell Street Farm, where Jamie Gluck greeted us with Bubbles and the kids with Hot Cocoa. We ran into Tim and Katy Rogers as well as photographer Jeffrey and Carol Bloom, who were dining with local celebrity Jesper Johansen. We then moved further down Bell and visited with Sonja Magdevski at Casa Dumetz, where we enjoyed more caroling, and Santa made a visit. Our final stop would be the 1880 Union Hotel and Saloon where eventually Bella came to me at the Shuffle board table to tell me they said it was time for us to leave. I looked up and everyone was gone. The SimFam had shut the town down! Amy, always the responsible one, got us home safely.
The next morning was Saturday and I had volunteered to help with the Solvang Parade. It was great small town fun and Bella took part with her Gymnastic team, cartwheeling down Mission. Solvang celebrates the entire month of December with Julefest and they had their tree lighting on Friday evening in the park with music and dancing.
Saturday afternoon I went to Los Olivos for their Olde Fashioned Christmas. I was amazed at the crowd and great spirit of the holidays. I stopped in to most of the tasting rooms to say hi, lingering at Barbieri Wine Company, and Dragonette Cellars. Zinke Wine’s light display is beautiful. I threw down some amazing tacos from Valle Fresh outside of Figueroa Mountain Brewing and good friend Giorgi Curti treated me to a Lizard’s Mouth Imperial Double IPA.
Sunday was Buellton’s Winterfest. There was breakfast with Santa and in the afternoon, snow for the kids on Avenue of the Flags. A concert, a light parade, many food and drink options and a tree lighting. A huge full tree on the avenue that must be close to 75’ itself. The whole SimFam attended. Aiden spent his time pelting others and getting pelted by snowballs. I hung out near the Standing Sun Wine booth with John Wright, while Amy took Bella around to see all the sights. It was chilly and there were many fire-pits strategically placed to warm everyone.
All and all a full and enriching weekend celebrating the season in the Santa Ynez Valley.
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