Friday, May 25, 2012

La Purisima Mission

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La Purisima Mission State Historic Park is a hidden gem and a must see for anyone interested in the history of early California. It's a delightful day trip, easy to combine with wine tasting or a round of golf in the Santa Ynez valley later in the day. No longer a working Catholic parish church (unlike Missions Santa Barbara and Santa Ynez) La Purisima is the most complete mission restoration project in California. You can feel the ghostly presence of the hundreds who lived at the Mission as you linger in the cool adobe of the padres' quarters and the refectory, 

sense the workers in the blacksmith's shop, the pottery shop and saddlery, the weaving room and mission office. Imagine how a guest might have felt riding in from the coast or other missions. You can almost smell the bread baking in the beehive ovens behind the main structure, or hear the children laughing in the Chumash Indian village or singing in the chapel. The gardens of the mission were designed to be historically accurate (to the 1820s) and have been featured on Huell Howser's California Gold. Over one hundred volunteers and docents (Prelado de los Tesoros) create Living History Days, special events and lead daily guided tours.

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La Purisma Mission is in Lompoc, a pretty 50 minute drive from Santa Barbara, making it an ideal day trip and worth including in your Santa Barbara vacation. If we can help you with accommodation in a Santa Barbara Bed and Breakfast, please give us a call, we'd love to hear from you.

Deborah Gentry, Innkeeper Bath Street Inn

Monday, April 23, 2012

Shoestring Winery Solvang

A cool Spring morning in Santa Barbara encouraged us to go exploring and try a new-to-us winery in nearby Solvang where the temperature was a warm 90 degrees. We had long heard of Shoestring Winery and discovered that if you are a red wine lover, this family-owned boutique winery definitely deserves your attention. The Craigs own 60 acres, planted their first vines in 1999 and sold their first wine, a 2002 Sangiovese in 2004. Their reds are aged a minimum of 20 months in oak and they've been medalling in various competitions for years now. We tasted their new releases; the 2010 Pinot Grigio, their only white, crisp and thoroughly chilled, will be a lovely summer wine, and the 2007 Sangiovese, aged in oak for 28 months. We bought a bottle of that; very complex and smooth, we preferred it to the 2007 Merlot which was great in its own right (gold medal winner in San Diego 2011).
The winery is on Highway 246, down a little driveway and physically located in a big, well chilled, insulated barn. As you taste, you're looking at the barrels that will be wonderful wine next year and years to come. Thumbs up!

Deborah Gentry, Innkeeper Bath Street Inn

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Santa Barbara Orchid Show 2012

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The International Orchid Show of Santa Barbara has a long and happy history partly because Santa Barbara has such an ideal climate for growing orchids. Not surprisingly, we typically have 3 orchid events each year in various locations around town, Spring, Summer and Fall. This year, our Spring event, the 67th annual International Orchid Show takes place March 16th, 17th and 18th at the Earl Warren Showgrounds. There will be plenty of orchids to admire including hybrids, rare species and juried exhibits of orchid related art work for purchase. Free workshops on orchid care.

Our Summer Orchid event is the 32nd Annual International Orchid Fair, sponsored by the Santa Barbara Orchid Estate.  A great place for gardeners to visit almost any time of year.) Also held at the Earl Warren Showgrounds, the dates for 2012 are July 13, 14 and 15.

If you're traveling to the Fair or have family and friends visiting and need accommodation, we'd love to have you at our Santa Barbara Bed and Breakfast.