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City Spotlight on Santa Ynez

– Photo by Donna Polizzi / Beacon Media News

Keys 2 the Coast recently discovered a fantastic hideaway that is the perfect place to stay in the heart of the Santa Ynez Valley. The tiny town of Santa Ynez, population 4,418, the is in the midst of wine country, 51 miles north of Santa Barbara and 65 miles south of San Luis Obispo.

The town has a western feel, and if you take a walk, you’ll find friendly locals and interesting touches, like horseshoe’s adorning the pavement at the Sagunto and Edison street crossings.

If you feel like exploring, wine tasting, great restaurants, a handful of specialty shops and antique stores are all fun ways to spend a day. A trip back in time to a simpler place and time can do a lot of good for the soul.

My husband and I stayed at the Santa Ynez Inn, which is located at 3627 Sagunto St. It is the epitome of wine country luxury and elegance.

– Photo by Donna Polizzi / Beacon Media News

Walking through the lobby of the Santa Ynez Inn is like a trip back in time.

Walking into the lobby has that wow factor. The Santa Ynez Inn has a big beautiful fountain, a brick entryway and looming dark wood and stained-glass doors that beckon you inside. A white marble staircase and high ceilings with crystal chandeliers, are a few of the touches that makes this place memorable

Our suite was located on the second floor. When you first enter the room, there is a spacious entryway. As you walk into the foyer with a wall of closets, you will see in the distance, a magnificent white marble and mosaic bathroom. The jacuzzi tub is huge, with the head of a golden swan as the faucet. Our spacious bathroom had a pleasant surprise. If you like stream showers this one is awesome. Its large enough for two and it was wonderful to enjoy it in the privacy of our room.

Crystal and other ornate fixtures create an old-world vibe, fit for royalty. To top it off, a chilled bottle of sparkling wine and a box of Ingeborg’s World-Famous Danish Chocolates were waiting for us.

– Photo by Donna Polizzi / Beacon Media News

The king size bed was inviting and comfortable.

The room was inviting with a king size bed and a small seating area with white roses, where you can cozy up to the large marble fireplace. The fireplace starts with a simple push of a button. As you walk through the hotel and into the room, light jazz music from the 1920s to the 1940s fills the air.

The upstairs balcony overlooks a peaceful garden and several seating areas with outdoor firepits, where you can sit by the fire, read your favorite book, and sip on a glass of wine. This garden has been the backdrop for many weddings and special occasions.  

The Santa Ynez Valley Inn is walking distance from many wineries and small shops. Another unexpected pleasure for being a guest, was receiving a tasting passport to some of the best, world-class wineries. You are provided with a list of 11 wineries and eight tasting rooms, where you can enjoy complimentary tastings by showing your room key.

– Photo by Donna Polizzi / Beacon Media News

The view from our room overlooked the peaceful garden.

At every turn there are more delights. A full gourmet, complimentary, breakfast is served from 7 a.m. -10 a.m. From 5 p.m. to 6 p.m., wine and hors d’oeuvres are served in the parlor. If an evening snack sounds good, you can get a seasonal dessert that is offered in the lobby from 8:30 to 9:30 p.m. You can even enjoy a night cap in the library, featuring a fine selection of Scotch and American whiskey. The elegance of the food and atmosphere is luxurious in every way. It’s no wonder that the Santa Ynez Inn is rated a four-diamond hotel.

If you venture out to do some wine tasting, try a couple Keys 2 the Coast favorite wineries. Sunstone Vineyards and Winery, at 125 N. Refugio, is a unique family-owned winery, because they name their wines after family members. The architecture is castle-eque and the tasting room is expansive, with several private tasting areas.  

Rusack Vineyard is at 1819 Ballard Canyon Road and it is nestled into the hillside, with an outdoor patio that overlooks the green mountain, oak trees and deer, if you’re lucky. The wine is fantastic, and the setting is romantic.

Established in 1995, it was started by Geoff Rusack and Alison Wrigley, of the famous Wrigley gum empire.

If you’re a history buff, the Santa Ynez Historical Museum is also on Sagunto, boasting 36 carriages.  When’s the last time you saw an old stagecoach or carriage, from the horse-drawn transportation era?

– Photo by Donna Polizzi / Beacon Media News

Trattoria Grappalo has excellent Italian food.

For dinner, there are several restaurants that are walking distant from the Santa Ynez Inn. If you would like a great steak, the Brothers Restaurant at the Red Barn is always good.  For excellent Italian food, Trattoria Grappalo, at 3687 Sagunto St., has been a Keys 2 the Coast favorite for years. Start with the insalada caprese salad. For the main event, try the tortelloni burro e salvia, seabass or gnocchi.  It just might be the best Italian food you’ve had in a long while.

Life is short. Grab your favorite someone and get out there.  On Keys2theCoast.com, we share honest recommendations on the best places to wine, dine and explore!

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