Friday, September 7, 2012

Santa Barbara County Marigold Fields and Vineyards

Along Highway 101 Heading North

August 8, 2012

Here's my route home. Again, taking the I-5 would have saved me hours, but taking the 101 let me stop at the Sanford winery on the way home. Sanford makes terrific Chardonnay and Pinot Noir and it was featured in the movie, "Sideways."
A = The Westin Bonaventure in LA
B = Sanford Winery
C = Santa Maria
D = Paso Robles
E = King City, where I took that photo of the Queen Motel that I used in the Universal Studios story.

 B = Sanford Winery
 C = Santa Maria

From the Westin, looking across the street, a triple redundancy in signage: EXIT ONLY, arrows pointing out. Not wasted when personal safety and collateral damage are at risk.

This hillside is common along the way. This is near Paso Robles, which translates as Oak Tree Pass. Many hills had oak trees growing on the north sides of the folds only, with the south folds left barren. Likely to do with a preference for cooler temperatures.

Vineyard on the Santa Rosa Road on the way to Sanford.

Near Santa Maria...


These marigold fields are common along the Santa Rosa Road on the way to Sanford. I understand that they have a practical purpose for pest control and bee management. I didn't see any signs offering marigolds for sale. The entire field was for sale, but not the flowers.

It is really easy to zoom along the freeways in California or anywhere that has freeways and ignore the surroundings and pass on the opportunity to pull off onto a side road for an hour or two to see some of these landscapes that I've offered here. In the area between Santa Maria and Santa Ynez and Lumpoc there are many, many such roads, views and wineries. The corner gas stations and motels in Santa Maria have wine country guides. I encourage everyone to stop and smell the marigolds and taste some wine.

Quick note: part of the charm of visiting the wineries is that they always have small lot blends and varietals that are only available directly from them. Their prices are fully marked up, meaning if you want their mainstream products, you'll get a much better price at a Safeway or Bev'Mo. I bought 6 bottles of rare chardonnays from Sanford: 4 for us and 2 to take up to our family visit in Vancouver.

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