California – it’s the home of gorgeous beaches, Silicon Valley, and of course, Hollywood. Still, the state’s wine industry is also notable, often held at the same prestige as French and Italian winemakers. But on one of my trips here, I skipped the well-known region of Napa Valley, and opted for a retreat down south, on the foothills of Montecito, in Santa Barbara County.
Upon arriving, I marveled at what travellers here were all buzzing about – its romantic Spanish architecture and pristine Mediterranean climate.
The cream of the crop however was San Ysidro Ranch, located right within the town’s lush boundaries. Though accommodations are often full, I was thankfully able to reserve a room early, and revel in the view Oprah, John F. Kennedy, and Sir Laurence Olivier enjoyed.
The resort has guests spoilt for choice, with its sheer variety of rooms. After (finally) picking a hideaway, the bed had me calling for some much-needed rest. At least until breakfast that is.
How excellent is the landscaping isn’t it? There’s greenery intertwining with the colorful flora and the wood, along with the manicured gardens and trees, making for one botanical treat that’s one for the books.
Food-wise, I had an excellent time savouring the California flavours too, with most of the ingredients sourced locally. Now that’s what you call farm to table living. Truly, I can say that Montecito has a visual and gastronomic charm that can’t compare to anywhere else. However, more sights are afoot, particularly at San Ysidro Trails.
In the glimmering sun, I set forth for a little bit of exercise too – similar to how many Californians love their outdoor time. Walking my dogs down the San Ysidro Trail, I saw rows and rows of gigantic shrubs and green terrain. Wineries were in seemingly endless sight too, as if I were stuck in a Tuscan fantasy stateside. It definitely helped burn off those glorious breakfast calories as well!
And so, my California retreat comes to an abrupt end. While time was unfortunately cut short, I will surely come back for my piece of Montecito nirvana. San Ysidro Ranch will always be waiting, anyway.
#JuanderWithUs and see other sides of the Golden State beyond what you see on TV and in the movies.