The serene Santa Ynez Valley is in northern Santa Barbara County, a two hour drive from Los Angeles and only 30 minutes northwest of Santa Barbara. The rare east-west California valley is bordered by the Santa Ynez Mountain Range to the south and the San Rafael Mountain Range to the north. Either of two fascinating routes from Santa Barbara take you to the valley. A priceless coastal trip on Highway 101 through the historical Gaviota Pass or the chronicled San Marcos Pass and Cachuma Lake on scenic Highway 154. Five distinctive communities encompass the 100 square mile valley of less than 25,000 residents: the highly noted Danish heritage tourist city of Solvang and home to Old Mission Santa Ines and the Alisal Guest Ranch, western township of Santa Ynez, turn of the century Victorian influenced communities of Los Olivos and Ballard and the famed Pea Soup Andersen’s road stop city of Buellton.
An area of majestic beauty and unexplainable tranquility with rolling hills profoundly populated with ancient oaks. Once primarily recognized as the Arabian horse capital of the United States the valley now houses a myriad of equine breeds, sprawling horse ranches, cattle ranches, Alpaca farms, numerous vineyards and wineries, row crop farming, Lavender farms, olive orchards and other agriculture activities.
The mild winters and warm summers with cool evenings are affected by coastal air currents. Typical winter days the temperature is in the 50’s and about 30 degrees at night with summer days in the 90’s and 60’s at night. Sunshine is abundant as noted by the appropriately named Solvang meaning “sunny fields”. The area is considered semi-arid with 16″ to 18″ normal rainfall.
Chambers of Commerce boast year around activities with many civic events, parades, equine competitions, several golf courses, outdoor summer theater, a variety of museums, wine festivals, award winning wine tasting opportunities, five star hotels, an assortment of highly rated restaurants and an airport with a lighted 2,800 foot runway.
The area’s natural beauty is a backdrop for many movies and advertisements. It is also well known to bicyclists and has been a training place for Lance Armstrong and the Olympic US Postal Team. To many the Valley is a marriage of excellence and congeniality.
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