This vast farm community, known for magnificent pumpkin patches in autumn, brings to mind wildlife, water and wilderness. It is home to the Return to Freedom Horse Sanctuary with the emotive slogan of, “Run wild, run free, return to freedom”.


Ganna Walska Lotusland is paradise! I’ve stepped through the enchanted gardens on three different occasions and each visit was unique and memorable. As much fun as I have at the Los Angeles Arboretum and the Huntington Library, the guided tours at Lotusland are educational and inspiring. Lotusland presents the magnificence of mother nature and the intensity of its life and death. Organically maintained, the gardens are impressive.


Santa Barbara was home to movie production companies and remained a haven for actors and actresses for decades. In 1928, Charlie Chaplin and a group of investors built the Montecito Inn and it became the “Cream of the Coast”. Located on Coast Village Road, Montecito Inn still captivates travelers like me with its proximity to the beautiful pleasures of Ventura and Santa Barbara Counties inclusive of, but not limited to, Lake Casitas, Ojai, Lake Cachuma, Solvang, Lompoc, Surf and Lotusland.


With the charm of an artisan’s village, Ojai is situated in the Topatopa Mountains where residents and visitors can enjoy the Los Padres National Forest crisscrossed with meandering trails, nearby Lake Casitas, along with, the Ojai Music Festival, wineries and inviting shops and eateries. And, yes, it is horseback riding heaven!


From the night life on State Street to the botanic gardens, Santa Barbara offers days of pleasure and nights of excitement. Be sure to hire a driver so you can enjoy your vacation without the hassle of looking for a parking space. I missed out on the musical rapture of the Red Piano Bar because walking in high heels for blocks is not fun.


Lake Cachuma is the perfect restorative after a long drive and the scenic stroll will ensure the appetite needed for the tantalizing edibles in Solvang. Three men dreamed of a west-coast oais for Danish immigrants and Solvang, translated as sunny field, was established in 1911 when a Danish-American Colony corporation purchased almost 10,000 acres of prime land in the Santa Ynez Valley, California.