Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Over the Hill to the Santa Ynez Valley

Last Sunday the sun came out after six straight days of rain! Very unusual here in Camelot.

Santa Barbarians seem to hibernate when it rains, so I decided to take a day off from Open Houses. My husband and I took take a drive over to one of our favorite spots in our area. The Santa Ynez Valley which is gorgeous this time of year, as is the 30 minute drive to get there.

We decided to take the Old San Marcos Pass (hwy 154) route going, and return along the Ocean and hwy 101.

Amazing dusting of snow on the Santa Ynez Mountain Range
Our Lake Cachuma named after the native Chumash Indians

Lake Cachuma is the water reservoir for the greater Santa Barbara Area
currently at 73% of capacity! Boating and Fishing ok but NO Swimming.

Another peek at the snow dusted SY Mountain Range
framed by the area's beautiful Live Oak Trees
Lake Cachuma is located in the Los Padres National Forest
There is a wonderful camp ground at the Lake, along with terrific fishing.

There are also outstanding lake tours with a guide to introduce visitors to the history of Bradbury Dam and the creation of the Lake as a reservoir, along with information about native wildlife. Information at

Historically the Santa Ynez Valley was known for its cattle ranching, equestrian ranches, alfalfa and wheat farming.

More recently, it's become known internationally as a fabulous wine growing region. The movie 'Sideways' was filmed here. Offering privacy and incredible geographical beauty, the Valley has also become home for many famous residents such as the former Michael Jackson's Neverland Ranch, former resident Jane Fonda's Laurel Springs Ranch, Tennis great Jimmy Conner, Bo Derrick of the movie "Ten"; and of course President Reagan's Western Whitehouse.

The Alisal Guest Ranch and Golf Course is well known to golfers. It's a terrific get-a-way offering tennis, fishing, golf, 1st class accommodations, spa and fine dining. Rancho San Marcos Golf Course is located along Highway 154, and the River Course is located just outside of Solvang
Two must stops are the Cold Spring Tavern a fabulous restaurant and tavern serving lunch and dinner (including wild game); located at the beginning of the San Marcos Pass traveling north from Santa Barbara, just beyond the large suspension bridge. Mattei's Tavern outside of Los Olivos is also an outstanding restaurant for lunch and dinner. Both house fabulous restaurants. Cold Spring Tavern used to have a Jail right next to the Tavern. These were the two stops the Stage Coach made when traveling along the San Marcos Pass many years ago.

These two views are North West of Santa Ynez and Solvang looking back to San Marcos Pass
This is the heart of Wine Country

The rain has sure made the Valley beautiful. In another month or so, when the weather warms this area will be worth another trip to view the Wild Flowers!
Other points of interest are the Danish Town of Solvang. Lots of Danish Bakeries, shops, winetasting rooms and an exquisite Antique Shop. My husband loved his Knackwurst, sour kraut and red cabbage lunch at the Heidelberg Inn. This is also the home of Mission Santa Ynez.
Santa Ynez is actually a small adjacent village offering some wonderful shops and restaurants with more of an Old West flair.
The Chumash Casino 4 diamond Resort, is the spot for those who love to gamble and play cards Las Vegas style or catch a great show. It is a venue for great performers and features a luxurious spa. The Chumash Resort is accessible by bus from Santa Barbara.

Also available for wine country tours is the Purple Bus from the movie "Sideways". Leave the driving to them and enjoy numerous wine tasting stops. I have taken guest both ways, driving myself (as DD) and the bus. Obviously I prefer the bus..and I learned a lot about the history of the wineries from the wonderful tour guide.
Coming soon...our stop in charming Los Olivos!

Friday, January 22, 2010

CALM Antique Show January 29, 30 & 31

CALM's Antique and Vintage Decorative Arts Show & Sale
held at Earl Warren Show Grounds at Las Positas and Via Real

Friday 11-7 pm
Saturday 11- 6 pm
Sunday 11- 5 pm
Adults $6
Seniors (62+) $5
Children under 12 - free
all inlcude return privileges
parking is free

This event, more popular now than ever, brings 80 of the finest Antiques Dealers to Santa Barbara, and is held three times each year, at the Earl Warren Showgrounds.

Here are some photos of the October Show to give you a peek into this gorgeously staged event with Vendors from all over the State of California, and some as far away as France.

This is the elegant display by Antiques Dealer and Designer, Lynn Russell, based in Los Angeles

Lynn features beautifully framed antique drawings of estate landscape plans from Europe including Germany, France and England. In addition to unique and exquisite china, Lynn also carries stunning American 'coin' sterling serveware dating back to Paul Revere. Be sure to stop by Lynn's wonderful booth.

This is the new designer fashion in upholstery and home decor...the use of antique and vintage burlap, beautifully displayed by Kimberly Fraser of 3 Fine Grains. One of a kind designs from antique European grain sacks dating back nearly a century or more.

This display is featuring all things French!

A stunning array of rugs and carpets...

One of my favorites...this designer, Jeana Hurst, incorporates new gems and pearls with vintage clasps, broaches and pendants.

Jeana shares her gorgeously designed space with Rick Bastain & John Aragone of FFB Antiques

This is an event not to be missed, even if you come only to "browse!"

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Who Murdered the Dastardly Duke of Darjeeling?

It was a dark and stormy afternoon....

Twenty ladies were summoned by Lady Shirley Lock-Holmes and Miss Jane Marple (spinster) to present themselves at Miss Marple's Ancestral Home to be interviewed, (over a proper cup of tea), as to which one of them had poisoned the Duke of Darjeeling!

Lady Shirley Locke-Holmes seen closely reviewing the evidence....!

The Co-Hostesses:
Ms. Jane Marple, Spinster and Lady Shirley Locke-Holmes

The table was set...the tea was hot!

It could have been any one of the ladies....they all had reason to despise him....
the devious, but ever so charming Duke who had frought evil and disaster upon each one...

the ladies were arriving one by one...some tearful, some angry and several quite defiant!

who did the murderous deed?

the Tea table was prepared for the Ladies to provide sustenance during this afternoon of investigation and tale telling....

it was to be a long afternoon...a little Sherry might loosen the tongue...

scones, thumbprints, mini-cakes, Devonshire cream
andive bites, chocolates and tea sandwiches to keep the vapors away
cookies, shortbreads, pinwheels...oh my
home made jam, lemon curd, clotted cream, several delightful sweets

The evidence...a broken tea cup, tea leaves, and a glass vial of arsenic poison found near the Duke's body!!!

Lady Shirley Lock-Homes is finding the clues.....

Yes....she admits it! She murdered the evil and dastardly Duke! She said, "He had it coming!"

These ladies are enjoying some social bonding time together.  All are members of the Assistance League of Santa Barbara,  a fabulous non-profit (one of many in SB), whose mission is to serve the needs of children and adults of the SB area. 

Assistance League of SB operates a Thrift Shop at 1259 Veronica Springs Road (off Las Positas). 
Tax deductible donations are accepted Mondays, Wednesdays 10am - 3pm;
 Saturdays 10am - 1pm
The Thrift Store is open for shopping during the same hours. 
find household items, holiday decor.,
gently used  clothing, children's toys, a fabulous book department, videos, cds and dvds and collectibles of all kinds.  The Corner Shop carries designer clothing, shoes, purses, jewelry, and high end household products.

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

What is An American?

Absolutely beautiful and well said...
The following was sent to me by a first generation Danish-American friend.
I am a first generation Dutch-American.
I found it so beautiful that I had to share it with all of you who read my blog!

Written by an Australian Dentist
"To Kill an American"
You probably missed this in the rush of news, but there was actually a report that someone in Pakistan had published in a newspaper, an offer of a reward to anyone who killed an American, any American.
So an Australian dentist wrote an editorial the following day to let everyone know what an American is . So they would know when they found one. (Good one, mate!!!!)
'An American is English, or French, or Italian, Irish, German, Spanish , Polish, Russian or Greek. An American may also be Canadian, Mexican, African, Indian, Chinese, Japanese, Korean, Australian, Iranian, Asian, or Arab, or Pakistani or Afghan.
An American may also be a Comanche, Cherokee, Osage, Blackfoot, Navaho, Apache, Seminole or one of the many other tribes known as native Americans. An American is Christian , or he could be Jewish, or Buddhist, or Muslim.
In fact, there are more Muslims in America than in Afghanistan . The only difference is that in America they are free to worship as each of them chooses. An American is also free to believe in no religion. For that he will answer only to God, not to the government, or to armed thugs claiming to speak for the government and for God.
An American lives in the most prosperous land in the history of the world.
The root of that prosperity can be found in the Declaration of Independence , which recognizes the God given right of each person to the pursuit of happiness.
An American is generous. Americans have helped out just about every other nation in the world in their time of need, never asking a thing in return.
When Afghanistan was over-run by the Soviet army 20 years ago, Americans came with arms and supplies to enable the people to win back their country!
As of the morning of September 11, Americans had given more than any other nation to the poor in Afghanistan
The national symbol of America , The Statue of Liberty , welcomes your tired and your poor, the wretched refuse of your teeming shores, the homeless, tempest tossed. These in fact are the people who built America.
Some of them were working in the Twin Towers the morning of September 11, 2001 earning a better life for their families. It's been told that the World Trade Center victims were from at least 30 different countries, cultures, and first languages, including those that aided and abetted the terrorists.

So you can try to kill an American if you must... Hitler did. So did General Tojo , and Stalin , and Mao Tse-Tung, and other blood-thirsty tyrants in the world. But, in doing so you would just be killing yourself . Because Americans are not a particular people from a particular place. They are the embodiment of the human spirit of freedom. Everyone who holds to that spirit, everywhere, is an American.
Please keep this going! Pass this around the World . Then pass it around again. It says it all, for all of us .
Thank you Australia!

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Blue Moon over the Blue Pacific

This magical photo was taken by local Photographer Bill Heller on Sunday, January 3, 2010. It shows the Blue Moon rising over our gorgeous coastline. What a perfect moment to capture forever by this talented photographer. If you would like to see a year's worth of magical photos of beautiful Santa Barbara scenes, order Bill's calendar: Santa Barbara 2010 by going to For only $11.75. Printed locally in SB, on sustainable materials.

The last full moon of 2009 also happened to be a Blue moon, which by modern definition is the second full moon in the same month. The moon is a beautiful subject, but given a good tripod, the light of a full (blue) moon and a little patience a familiar landscape can take on a magical quality. This photo was primarily lit by the light of the blue moon. The slightest lingering glow of the sunset was behind me, giving the bluff it’s slight light, but the moon was much brighter. - Bill Heller

Sunday, January 3, 2010

A Walk on the Beach!

The Christmas Treasures are put away for another year...
New Year Celebrations have come and gone...
A New Year has begun!
It is 72 degrees, the sun is shining and the sky is clear...
Let's go for a walk at the Beach!

We have a choice of many beaches in the greater Santa Barbara area...and it is hard to choose
because each beach is so different.
Today we chose Goleta Beach! It is a wonderful stretch of beach which goes all the way to the University of California at Santa Barbara, (UCSB).
Goleta Beach offers great parking facilities, a long stretch of grass with BBQ areas for families to gather, terrific sandy beaches, a wonderful restaurant called The Beachside, a Pier for fishing and launching boats, including the UCSB Marine Biology Lab Boats.
I arrived in the greater Santa Barbara area from the deep freeze in Calgary Alberta, a long time ago in January on a day like today. I thought I had died and gone to heaven! I remember body boarding in the surf at every opportunity.

Our son, Jon, learned to surf here at Campus Point, and still loves to return to "his beach" whenever he is in Santa Barbara.

Jon used to be able to see if "surf was up" from our neigbor's home through binoculars!

All of our son's science projects involved the Ocean, and much of his research was done here at UCSB's Marine Biology Lab with the help of the staff. Jon's interest in salt water aquariums began when he was in elementary school. As a youngster he had a difficult time sitting still in class, or reading. However, it was amazing how he managed to dog-ear his books on marine biology and salt water fish. We were sure that he would become a Marine Biologist! He would go to UCSB every week to get salt water to change the water in his tank.

Well...our son is studying Architecture in Bozeman, Montana! However, he has made it clear that he will be incorporating aquariums in all of his designs!

The year Jon spent in Hawaii raised his awareness about not taking coral or fish which are not replaceable out of the ocean for personal acquariums.

UCSB is an amazing Campus and adds so much to our community! This is a picture of the famous UCSB Lagoon, the site of many a graduation ceremony!

These are photographs of the Marine Biology Labs. What a great place to study or teach!

Surf Board Paddling is a newer sport.
For updates on surf swells and water conditions go to
For fabulous surf equipment, boards, suits, etc. try
both based in Ventura...just down the coast 30 minutes

Marine Birds are protected animals!
Here we are on the Goleta Pier..a very popular family fishing spot.

And what a VIEW!
My wonderful husband, taking a break!

Tomorrow is the first work day of the New Year and the New DECADE!
Back to work...helping people make their Santa Barbara Real Estate Dreams Come True!

Friday, January 1, 2010

Happy New Year!

A special Happy New Year wish to all my Friends in Blog Land

The List

I try to read this list (and several others) this time of year, to remind myself of some important things in life...just in case I forget! I'd like to share it with you.

Mend a quarrel. Seek out a forgotten friend.

Write a love letter. Share some treasure.

Gift a soft answer. Encourage youth.

Keep a promise. Find the time.

Forgiven an enemy. Listen.

Apologize if you were wrong.

Think first of someone else.

Be kind and gentle. Laugh a little.

Laugh a little more. Express your gratitude.

Gladden the heart of a child.

Take pleasure in the beauty and wonder of the earth.

Speak your love. Speak it again.

Speak it still once again.

Thank you for your wonderful gift of friendship and for sharing your amazing talents with me.