my vacation in the american riviera, santa barbara

Santa Barbara, California, also known as the American Riviera, boasts the perfect combination of beachy-casual and chic-upscale. Though I spent four years of my life just up the highway at the University of California, Santa Barbara, I did not spend very much time in the swanky, sleepy town of SB, so last weekend, when my husband and I went on a wine tasting weekend tour with some friends, I got to see an entirely new side of the my alma mater.

Here ares some highlights:

Delicious wine & cheese platter via our hotel, The Canary.

Cheese Tray from Canary Hotel Santa Barbara

The Canary is a darling boutique hotel located just off State street, next to the main shopping mall, Paseo Nuevo, and walking distance from all the fun State Street has to offer. Top selling points of this hotel: The chic decor, the ridiculously comfy bed & pillows, and the rooftop lounge complete with fireplace and a panoramic view of the water and the mountains. It’s a bit pricey so check for discounts before you book.

Dinner at Julienne.

Places to eat Santa Barbara

This place is a gem. Small, quaint, and delicious. TIP: Get the cauliflower soup, it’s divine. Again, pricey (especially if you drink lots of Foxen wine like we did) but well worth it.

The Grassini Winery, aka Disneyland for adults (thanks Hayley, I stole your term!).

Grassini Faily Vineyards Santa Ynez California

On Saturday, our group went wine tasting with Rick of Wine Canyon Tours, and we came across heaven on earth. The Grassini Family Vineyards was a step above all the other wineries we visited and will be on my list of wines to look out for. They are not open to the general public for wine tastings, so I highly recommend utilizing a wine tour service like Wine Canyon Tours so they can make a reservation for your group to take a tour and taste their wines.

Grassini Family Vineyard Santa Ynez California

Wine tasting in Santa Ynez Valley

This contraption is called the wine thief

Wine tasting etiquette

Some of the best wine I've ever had. Thanks Wine Thief!

Wine tasting in Santa Barbara

I'm still wondering why my leg is popped like that

Another stop I loved was at the Bridlewood Winery. Steve took this picture which might just be my favorite of the day.

Wine tasting tours in Santa Barbara The wine was divine and the company was perfection. Thanks Haylz, for turning 40!

If you’re headed to SB anytime soon, let me know and I’ll fill ya in on more dos and some don’ts too.




  1. 1
    Haylz says:

    Fabulous post. Let’s go back soon!

  2. 2
    Jessica says:

    Oh I want a weekend at a winery, or just an hour.

  3. 3

    Swoon!!! Girl you and I would TEAR IT UP in Napa! Come visit!!! xoxo

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