The Long Way to Los Olivos & Solvang
In January of 2018, mudslides ravaged through the coastal areas of Central California through burn scarred land from California wildfires a few months prior. I flew back into Los Angeles from Mammoth (my previous post) while the wildfires threatened my family's neighborhood and ripped through unprecedented amounts of land in Southern California. While our tiny propeller plane whipped left and right from unforgiving Santa Ana winds, a fiery glow bordered rows of streetlights and roads in Los Angeles. It was one of the worst sights I've ever seen - especially so close to home.
The 101 Freeway remained closed between Los Angeles and Santa Barbara for weeks while crews worked to excavate the roads and search for missing people. It was, and continues to be, a heart wrenching time for communities in and around Santa Barbara, Montecito, and Ventura County.
On Martin Luther King Jr. weekend, Michael and I had plans to drive up to Solvang for a weekend of wine tasting and relaxation in Los Olivos and Santa Maria. We couldn't have anticipated the natural disasters that devastated the region, but we'd heard that local businesses had been hit hard by the lack of tourists. We had to go support - it was important to us. With the road closures, our drive ended up being about 4 hours each way and we spent just three short days learning about not just the terroir, varietals, and cuisine of the local area - but of the people and communities fighting to keep it all going round.
I love the fertility of wine country's soil. Everything seems to grow in bountiful abundance around vineyards, and in California's drought, greenery is such a welcomed sight.
Solvang is a quaint Danish town settled by Danish families who traveled west from the eastern coast of the United States. I'm convinced that they moved with sights set on year-round warmth and beautiful lush seaside hills after bleak winters in Boston - but that's just my opinion.