And we’re back!!! I will do a little life update post on Friday, but let’s just jump on back into it today with a post that has been in the works since before blogging was on pause!
Back in June, my entire immediate family took a vacation ‘down south’ in California. We hadn’t been on a whole family vacation since I graduated high school (as our family keeps getting bigger and bigger) so this was a sweet gift of a trip from my parents for us all to gather together in one spot for a few days. The trip also happened to fall just a week after my Grandmother passed away, so I truly believe it was The Lord’s perfect timing for us to all be together and just enjoy sweet family time.
Where we stayed
We stayed at a dude ranch! It truly felt like the Nickelodeon show Hey, Dude! Do you remember Hey, Dude?! It was the perfect spot for a big family. We ate meals in a dining hall family style, went horseback riding, and played in the pool. The ranch, Circle Bar B, is just inland from the beach and about 30 minutes from Santa Barbara. My parents chose this spot so we all could go do our own things here and there. So we enjoyed time at the beach, made day trips to Santa Barbara, and Sam and I drove inland 30 minutes to the Santa Ynez wine country!
Now, there are SO many fun things to do in the Santa Barbara area… like so many. And I can’t recommend making the trip enough! But we only had so little time this round! I love the SB area (I went to college just an hour north above) so I fully plan on brining Sam back someday to really soak it all up… so when that day comes I’ll do a more detailed travel guide here 😉 But for now, here’s a little recap of what we saw/did!
Sam loves wine, and I like wine, but love taking photos of beautiful properties. So wine tasting is really a win-win activity for us! Neither of us had ever explored the Santa Ynez wine country, though it’s certainly a prominent region in the California wine world. We researched a few winery options to visit, and even went to another before Sunstone… but I don’t even remember the name of it because neither of us were all that impressed. But we did hear that Sunstone was a hit and we were not disappointed!
Oh my goodness, can I just say if any brides-to-be in Southern California are reading or if you’re looking to have a destination wedding… please check out Sunstone as a wedding venue! It is gorgeous. The property is stunning (you truly feel like you’re in France!) and the wine is Sam-approved which I believe means it’s really good 😉
We absolutely loved our time there and it’s absolutely worth the day-trip drive if you’re visiting Santa Barbara!
An afternoon in Santa Barbara
After wine tasting in late morning, we drove to downtown Santa Barbara to meet up with another chunk of my family. Leave it to my brother – he rented a sail boat for my parents and his family to go out for an hour! My brother attended college at UC Santa Barbara and worked at a marina in Tahoe in his summers in college so this came naturally to him… but I had to giggle when I called to say we had arrived and my mom said, “we’re actually out on a sailboat!”. Haha! They rented through Santa Barbara Sailing Center which is a wonderful resource for any kind of water rentals and it’s close to down town! If you’re in Santa Barbara… take a peek at them! You could also have someone else be captain… and it’s such a lovely way to see SB!
How cute are they?!
State street is the main ‘spot’ in Santa Barbara. This is where all the shopping is, where they have a farmer’s market (which we happened to be there for!), yummy ice cream (y’all HAVE to get McConnell’s!), and great people watching. It’s the spot to stroll when you’re briefly in town!
It was such a lovely trip and a combination of all of my favorite things: cowboy boots and horseback riding, time at the beach, and time by the water! I’m so grateful we had such a special time together as a family and it’s been fun sharing the sites along the way with y’all here today!
If you’re planning a trip to the Central Coast of California… email me! I’d love to give any recommendations! It’s such a special (and my favorite) spot of California and one that I could visit time and time again!
Have a happy, happy Wednesday! Thanks for reuniting with me here today! 🙂