As you guys may know, I’ve lived in LA for 8 years now. Though it’s become home, I’ve always wanted to explore the state of California more. It’s like its own small country, with such beautiful and varied places to visit – ski, surf, desert, wine country and more. When I recently had the opportunity to plan a road trip and partner with Visit California, Mackenzie and I jumped at the chance, and we were even lucky enough to borrow a convertible Bentley Continental GT for the ride!
Our first stop was La Quinta Resort & Club in Palm Springs, a sprawling oasis of mid-century casitas, 41 pools and golf courses. The weekend was a heatwave, so the minute we arrived, Mackenzie and I jumped in the nearest pool. My parents were still in town visiting, so we played tennis together, and then Mackenzie played a round of golf with Dad, while Mum and I hit the spa…heaven! The landscaping here is truly breath-taking: the flowers are so plentiful it looks like rainbow meadows everywhere. We spent plenty of time strolling the beautiful gardens, and escaped the heat with some spicy margaritas at sunset, while a live band played salsa. For dinner, we headed to Morgan’s in the Desert for seafood and wine.
The next leg of our journey was a 5 hour drive North-West, to Santa Ynez Valley, where we checked in to Fess Parker Wine Country Inn & Spa by dusk. It’s the most charming hotel right on the high street of Los Olivos, a which is a wine-tasting village reminiscent of a Western movie set. Such cowboy vibes! The next morning we went wine tasting at the Fess Parker vineyard. I’ve always loved wine and wanted to learn more about it, so sipping away and hearing about the effect of different grapes, climates and vines, was fascinating. I also learned that I love Viognier and Cabernet Sauvignon best! Then we got silly and tried on cowboy boots and cowboy hats in the saddlery (subscribe to my Youtube channel here, and watch it all on my latest Vlog!), and even visited an ostrich farm. It was actually a bit terrifying feeding them…lol. We ended the night with the yummiest five course tasting menu at First & Oak, at the Mirabelle Inn in Solvang. Solvang is a Danish-themed village, full of flags, giant wooden clogs, Tudor-inspired architecture, right in the middle of California… you honestly have to see it to believe it.
The next morning, Mackenzie and I got up early to drive down the coast to Santa Barbara, one of my favorite coastal towns. We stayed at the Belmond El Encanto Hotel, an elegant property dotted with chic Spanish bungalows on the hillside, and a huge pool overlooking the ocean. We swam as the sunset, floated in the hammock and then headed to dinner on the deck at the Dining Room and Terrace. I seriously need to reign it in now after such indulgent dinners – but the oysters, charcuterie board, grilled octopus and floating island ice cream dessert, were all well worth it!
I’d been dreaming of taking a California roadtrip forever, and loved experiencing all the different pockets of this amazing state. I can’t wait to plan our next trip. Where is your dream destination? Tell me below in the comments where you’d love to go…
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