Found in the rolling hills and the many horse ranches in the Santa Ynez Valley you will find one of the great California "Wine Trails" North and a bit east of Bullton or Santa Ynez. Foxen Canyon is the home of some very fine winneries - Fess Parker, Firestone, Zaca Mesa, Costa De Oro about fourteen in all. You can also find Foxen Canyon from southern Santa Maria. In southern Santa Maria exit Highway 101 at Betteravia Road and wind your way to the beginning of the Foxen Canyon Trail. For motorcycles it is a great run with some fun high speed sweepers; but caution, it can be hazardous, I have seen more then one accident. If coming from Santa Barbara, I would suggest exiting Highway 101 at San Marcos Pass, Highway 33. As you climb up the road you will leave the views of the Pacific Ocean and when cresting the top will desend through the Los Padres National Forest. On the other hand continue up 101 and enjoy the beauty of the coast line. Oh, as a side line, it is here, just south of Gaviota, that a Japanese submarine shelled the Richfield Oil field in 1942. About twenty 5 inch shells were fired causing little damage and no casualties. Interesting to note it was the first time the U.S. Mainland had been attacked since the War of 1812.
Santa Ynez Valley offers a lot to do. The art galleries, cafes and dont miss the Santa YInes Mission.. For the adventurous, take a sailplane out of the airport. At an altitude of around 3,000 feet you can enjoy the sights from Lake Cachuma to the many vineyards and ranches - even Reagan Ranch.
For a side trip just minutes from the "Trail" is the town of Solvang. Founded by Danish immagrants in 1911 and well worth the time especially if you are looking for a cup of coffee and a "danish". Many fine bakeries and shops to be found. Additionally motor up 101 to the town of Los Alamos and visit THE UNION HOTEL. Established in 1880 and a wonderful example of "old" California. Not only will you find a great meal, be it a lunch or a relaxing dinner; but you my recognize it in one of many productions shot here. among the notables have been Michael Jackson and Jon Bon Jovi's music videos.
But it is the history for me. The town of Los Alamos was established in 1876. Originally it was a stagecoach station. In 1880 the Union Hotel was built. Unfortunately it burnt down in 1893; but was rebuilt in 1915.
As a kid, my Dad and I would drive up to San Luis Obispo and the Central Coast from Sherman Oaks (L.A.) always stopping at ANDERSON'S - "Home of the Split Pea Soup." When I was first there it was a far cry from todays reasturant, large counter and just a couple of small tables. The soup however, has been the same. A great place for a meal. And don't forget the gift shop. Find a danish or other delectables for the road.
While living in San Luis Obispo, FOXEN CANYON WINE TRAIL has always been on of my favorite runs on the motorcycle. Whether you ride or drive it; take your time, with so many wineries and so much to see in the area. it is easy to spend two days or more,
Should you be coming up from Santa Barbara and exit highway 101 at Highway 154. Then turn onto Zaca Station Road. First stop is the FIRESTONE WINERY.
This iconic winery is the home of many fine wines - Cabernet Sauvignon, Syrah, Malbec all grown here in Santa Ynez.
For many years my other favorte is FESS PARKER WINERY. Located just up the road from Firestone and the second on the tour if heading north east. Established in 1994 by - "Davy Crockett and Daniel Boone"; well perhaps more accurate to say by Fess Parker who of course stared in those great TV series many of us grow up watching.
Yes, that is indeed a "Coonskin" hat for your bottle of wine! Just like ol' Davy's just a bit smaller.
So saddle up and go for a ride on the FOXEN CANYON WINE TRAIL!
See You DownThe Road
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