In the vintage township of Santa Ynez (population 4,418), it’s sometimes hard to tell if it’s 2014 or 1884 with its period-style false-front building facades housing shops, saloons, feed stores and random horses hitched to posts. However, this rather sophisticated cowboy town also boasts plenty of conveniences for modern-day trail riders. A variety of restaurants serve up delicious options from casual burgers, pancakes, and waffles (beloved by locals), to steaks, seafood, regional Italian fare, Latin fusion and locavore cuisine. Modern shops and galleries line streets with horse-shoe embedded crosswalks. Don’t miss the Santa Ynez Valley Historical Society Museum and Parks-Janeway Carriage House for a fascinating does of Old West heritage and myriad events year-round such as the Vaquero Show & Sale in November. The Chumash Casino Resort is adjacent to the township with 24/7 gaming, live entertainment, dining and a luxurious hotel. Old Santa Ynez Day every June is just one fun time to visit, when the town celebrates with a street fair, parade and country-western entertainment. Cyclists gravitate to Santa Ynez as well for a world-class training center, tours or just the chance to ride a bike along serene country roads – there’s plenty to see and do in the town that gave the Valley its name.
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