The Snowbirds Visit — Part I


Gourmet Girl Gail here reporting from Santa Barbara. I’m happy to say that we’re getting buckets of much needed rain along the California coast. Our lakes are filling up, creeks are flowing, and thankfully there has been only minor flooding and debris flow so far. I’m hoping things will dry up a bit later this month before heading to Live Oak to join 100+ Sisters on the Fly. Live Oak lies in the wilderness between the San Raphael and Santa Ynez Mountains, and comprises forty acres that were once a campsite for cowboys. Perfect for a rendezvous of 100+ women with vintage trailers! Reportedly, wildflowers bloom year-round, and the only sounds are the rippling river, the rustle of black-tailed deer, the call of osprey and hawk. How delicious!

Now to the snowbirds. My sister Sandra and her husband Fred who live in the Northeast Kingdom of Vermont escaped the tundra-like weather last month when they came to Santa Barbara for a visit.

The Green Mountain state turns icy and white in winter. And although I grew up there and have fond memories of skiing, building snowmen, and making angels in the freshly fallen snow, I’m happy to live in a more Mediterranean climate now. Maybe you can relate?!

Our original plan was to camp in Joshua Tree National Park, but with the government shutdown we changed our itinerary. Instead, we booked a couple of nights camping at Flying Flags in Buellton over the MLK holiday. I took the Roadtrek and they booked a zaca tent.

Sadly, Flying Flags has no more regular tent sites. They’ve gone completely into glamping with accommodations ranging from three-bedroom cottages to vintage trailers to the zaca tent shown in the photo above. Before we checked in at registration we hit the jackpot and got to see the liftoff of a rocket (the Delta IV Heavy) at Vandenberg AFB. What a treat!

Of course, no visit to the Buellton area can go without chowing down at Industrial Eats, a must-go-to foodie destination. We tried to get in on Sunday, but the line was out the door, so we went elsewhere and revisited the eatery on Monday when the line was minimal. This is the place to share plates, and that we did: the lemony and garlicky Caesar salad was to die for as was the fennel sausage pizza. Our taste buds relished the pheasant salad and autumn squash with cashews as well. Yes, we are all foodies in my family!

Also, no visit to the Santa Ynez Valley can be complete without trekking to a local winery. I decided that Presqu’ile was a good venue not only for the wine but also for the architecture and view. It was where the Gourmet Girls celebrated Jen Shively’s and my birthday a few years ago.

GGs at Presqu'ile

Back in Santa Barbara, I took Fred and Sandra to the Funk Zone, and then we walked to the pier. It was a fitting end to our Santa Barbara escapade.

Stay tuned for our Desert Hot Springs adventure in a future post. Until next time, keep on exploring and caring for this wonderful planet of ours!


Gail, Denise, and Lindsey


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