Monday, February 18, 2008

The Land of the Curly Oak

Vinnie and the Big Guy are now camped in the beautiful Santa Ynez Valley. Our lakeside campground is located between Solvang and Santa Barbara, on San Marcos Pass is a little piece of winter heaven.

There’s lots of colorful history in the area. Nearby is the town of Buellton, home of Pea Soup Andersons. Stopping at Pea Soup Andersons has been a family tradition since I was five years old. Next is Solvang, a village settled by Danes many years ago. Everyday we see visitors with license plates from all over North America. Up the road is Mission Santa Ines, built in 1802. The tiny town of Santa Ynez is next. It looks like a turn of the 19th century community. In between the small towns is open land, horse ranches, wineries, and even a casino. The road tees, to the right is San Marcos Pass which will eventually meander to Santa Barbara. To the left is Los Olivos, more wineries, and then Highway 101, The King’s Highway, El Camino Real.

We enjoy the solitude of the lake as well as the charm of the quaint villages. We travel back in time and visit Spanish-era Missions or we'll sip liquid sunshine from one of the many nearby wineries. What I like to do best is walk around the magnificent oak trees that dot the hillsides. Many of the trees have crooked limbs, that is why I call them “curly oaks.” To me, they are a visual reminder of “ancient Califia” before anyone discovered this area. I will never see what that California looked like, but I do imagine how it might have looked when I walk among the Curly Oaks.

No comments: