Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Local wine & spa

Sometimes a quick day or two away is enough to feel like you've been on vacation, especially if you can go wine tasting and have a spa treatment on the same trip. Just about an hour and a half away from Los Angeles is Los Olivos, where you can stay in a nice suite with a working fireplace and huge bathtub at Fess Parker's Wine Country Inn. There is a pool and small restaurant on the premises if you don't want to walk around to the cafes in this six block town. The town has NO big chain stores or restaurants so it feels like time has stood still for the last few decades. It's a pleasure to get all your meals made on the premises and buy things that are not available in every mall in the U.S.. There is even a small art gallery on the "edge" of town (that means one block behind the main street). There are wine tasting rooms on the main street, and the Divine Day Spa set in a cottage at the entrance to town. All this is already a nice getaway, but then add in the wineries just minutes away and you have a true vacation. The Fess Parker Inn has packages with the Divine Day Spa and /or various wineries that give better discounts than booking it all yourself, just go to their website to pick the package that you prefer. My favorite winery in the area is the Firestone which has a little gift shop with all things wine related from chocolates to go with that nice bottle of red, to earrings with different colored "wine" in the glass.

Nearby in the town of Santa Ynez, is the Artiste art gallery and tasting room, with art by one of my favorite artists Aldo Luongo. They have several artists showing their work here and you can buy it here and then have them ship it home for you. Their bottles are blends named after the paintings that grace the labels; great collector's items if you have the discipline not to drink the wine (or buy two bottles, one to drink, one to keep). The Artiste is in the middle of the town of Santa Ynez, so you can stroll the few blocks that make up this quaint town and have dinner at the Vineyard restaurant. The Vineyard has live music and special wine & dinner menus that feature local vintners; the best time to go is when it's warm enough to enjoy sitting outdoors on their patio.

It's not as big or varied as Sonoma, but it's less than two hours from Los Angeles, and a few minutes from Santa Barbara (the big city in this area). Sometimes smaller is better.

No comments:

Post a Comment