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  • Writer's pictureLisa Marie

Tour of Southern California: Day 2

That had to be the longest night of my life. Due to the time difference from Florida to California I woke up so many times expecting it to be the morning. However, the morning never came....until now - It's Day 2!

We were so excited to begin our private tour with the Grape Adventures Wine Tour. Ken, one of the co-owners, picked us at the entrance of our hotel. He usually picks up his guests in a black BMW car or a Mercedes sprinter to provide them with very nice accommodations for their drive to wine country. Ken is such a personable person. He made us feel so comfortable on our drive up North.

Our first stop was a small town called Solvang. It's known for boutique shopping, restaurants, and Danish bakeries. The people of Solvang weren't as welcoming as we imagined they would be; nothing was blatant. However, we didn't get the warm and fuzzies (if you know what I mean). It wasn't only towards us. The people that worked in the stores seemed tired, bothered, and uninterested in their patrons. So, we moved on to our next stop after exploring Solvang for about 30 minutes.

Our next stop was the turning point of the morning. We went to Spear Winery. Spear Winery is a winery in Santa Barbara, California. It was so beautiful in every way possible. The landscape seemed so organic. The hints of brown, green, and lavender though out the field brought me a sense of peace; similar to the peace that I feel at the beach. At this winery we were given a sheet of paper with the wines that would be introduced that day. The paper provided us with the name and history of the wine, and Kelly (I think that was her name) brings out 1-2 wine choices at a time to provide you with more information and answer questions. Grape Wine Adventures provided us with a charcuterie board for our lunch. It was delicious. It was filled with cheese, crackers, nuts, sliced meat, jams, olives, and so much more. I really loved it! You probably don't know this about me, but cheese and nuts are one of my favorite things to eat. Now, that I sound like a mouse or a squirrel, let's get back to the story. The charcuterie board was so good that I started to think...People are doing wine tours all over the world. Where are the charcuterie tastings?! I would go on a charcuterie tour any day! I could try different cheeses and nuts from different regions. I digress. LOL!

After Spear Winery, we drove by Ostrichland and Anthony and I couldn't help but to comment on the location. Ostriches have nothing to do with a wine tour, but Ken was so flexible that he asked, "Do you want to stop there?" Anthony and I hesitated, but Ken made a quick u-turn and before you know it...we were feeding ostriches. I am not sure if this is a blog or becoming my diary, but I have another tidbit about me. I am terrified of birds; normal size birds that fly, have nest in trees, and look adorable. So, you can imagine my terror with an Ostrich. It's so weird because I wrote a children's book about ostriches called, Where Has Polly Gone? (That was not a shameless was completely relevant to the story). We had a great time at Ostichland (See our video on Instagram).

Ken stopped by the Santa Barbara courthouse and asked if we wanted to see inside. Initially, I thought, "What could be so special about a courthouse?" and "If you have seen one courthouse, you have seen them all." However, I always try to have an open mind and I quickly realized why the Santa Barbara courthouse was on our itinerary. The building possessed so much Spanish heritage, from the orange rooftop, to the doors, and the windows. It looked like a castle more than a courthouse. We walked in and marveled at the courtrooms that have been kept in the original form. Then, we tried to find as many elevators as possible to make it to the top of the building. However, as you can hear in the video, we were definitely out of breath. Once we got to the top, it was so beautiful. We were able to see for miles in every directions, but Anthony was most impressed by the palm trees. LOL!

On our way out we ran into a beautiful couple. They were getting married at the courthouse and we were so excited for them!

After leaving the courthouse, Ken took us to another wine location on the Santa Barbara pier. The location was cold in more ways than one; the customer service was poor and the breeze from the pier gave us a chill. So, we didn't stay there long. However, once we walked down to the car, Ken surprised us with fresh seafood and onion rings from one of the restaurants on the pier. My love language must be food because I was elated. I don't usually eat fried food, but we were on vacation and it was free. What can I say (shrugging my shoulders...LOL!)

Anthony and I fell asleep on the way to our last winery. Can you blame us? Wine tasting, charcuterie boards, and onion rings would knock anyone out. However, when I woke up I thought I was still dreaming. The Old Creek Ranch and Winery are what dreams are made of. The winery had cabanas with chairs and a table for you and your party to enjoy wine, snacks, and conversation. Each cabana overlooked a sea of vineyards in perfect columns that extended for acres. I was at peace with nature and falling in love with California by the second. Then, Ken was at it again. He surprised us with cupcakes from -----. He was incredible! Have you every paired cupcakes with wine? It's delicious!

The ranch portion of the property had a cool pick up truck, ranch, and bulb lights that would be perfect for an outdoor party. This winery was absolutely gorgeous! It wasn't better than Spear Winery, it was just so different.

After driving back to Los Angeles, Ken dropped us off at a Maccheroni Republic instead of the hotel because we were ready for dinner. Maccheroni Republic is an Italian restaurant that has high ratings. We thought the food was good, but we've had better Italian food at other restaurants.

Overall, we absolutely loved our wine tour with Grape Adventures and we would definitely recommend it. Email if you would like to ask us any questions about our day or to book your next vacation.

Written by Lisa Service (

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