Travel: Los Olivos

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Sometimes you have to escape the urban for a little of the shmurban. Los Olivos is a two-hour drive outside of LA and is home to some fine Central California wineries and, as their name suggests, olive groves. We may or may not have plans to move here some day. As much as I love the rural surrounds, the bright night sky, roosters crowing, goats frolicking, fresh air, I’d miss…actually, not that much now that I think of it. Y’all can come visit.

Wine and olives aside, Los Olivos — and Santa Ynez and Solvang and Los Alamos — are a literal breath of fresh air and full of some of California’s most interesting historical tidbits. Many of the original land grant families still farm or ranch hundreds of acres of rolling hills and at Rancho Sisquoc, you can visit the gravesite of one of our California firsts, Benjamin Foxen, a sea captain born in Norwich England in 1796 and became a naturalized Mexican (known as Don Julian or Guillermo Domingo) in the mid-1800s. The Foxen family (who run a winery of same name) tells one story of his local importance while a local historian writes another that debunks it. Only Ben knows for sure.

We had a lovely time. Forecasted rain waited. Holiday crowds were going or gone. Time was slowed. We didn’t cram in a mess of stops on this visit (we’ll be back). We followed some advice, ate exceptionally well, drank some wine, tasted some oil, took pictures and communed with the locals. It’s a fun day trip though the drive back is always a little more tedious than the drive up. But you come back with lingering terroir. Sometimes on your shoes. Purple mud. Go figure.

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