Mentally and physically exhausted after touring Lotusland, we drove to our hotel in Solvang. Shoulda taken Highway 154, but we told the GPS to give us the shortest route, and that sent us via Hwy 101. It's not like 101 north to Solvang was ugly, but I guess the 154 is spectacular. Next time...
Did you see the movie Sideways? It was filmed in the Santa Ynez Valley, which is, like, four towns--Buelleton, Solvang, Los Olivos, and Santa Ynez. We drove right by AJ Spurs, the restaurant where the boys met Cami "Tons of Fun", and just a few doors down we passed The Hitching Post 2 where the radiant Virginia Madsen worked.
I didn't take many pictures in this leg of the trip--we weren't there long, and I can't beat or supplement Sideways' gorgeous cinematography. Solvang was too kitschy for me to photograph, or even to walk around in. This was hanging outside our room at the inn. Do you need me to tell you anything more about Solvang?
When we asked the innkeeper where to have dinner she sent us to Mattei's Tavern in Los Olivos, saying it was her absolute favorite restaurant in all of Santa Barbara County. We had a few drinks and heavy appetizers in the bar and then had dinner in the restaurant. This was the view from our dinner table.
Los Olivos is where Michael Jackson's Neverland Ranch is (was?). Ronald Reagan's retirement ranch was near here too. I snapped a couple pictures from the car on the way back to Solvang after dinner.
More California action in Part 9.