December 2009 Short Cuts: Santa Barbara Travel News & Story Ideas


The classic holiday atmosphere still rings true in the towns, villages and wine trails of Santa Barbara Wine Country. With only three weekends between Thanksgiving and Christmas to get holiday shopping done this year, why go to the mall and stand in long lines hoping to find the right gift when you could take a weekend trip to wine country and get your holiday shopping done while enjoying a mini-vacation! Avoid the mall traffic and take advantage of all of the events and discounts available in Santa Barbara Wine Country. Although the holiday season is celebrated here throughout the month, the first weekend of December is particularly full of festivals, open houses, tree lightings, music and art openings. Join the festivities December 4-6, designated “Holiday Weekend in Wine Country”.

CELEBRATE A CENTURY OF CINEMA ON THE AMERICAN RIVIERA — Santa Barbara offers film lovers, star-gazers and history buffs a cinematic feast this winter. 2010 marks the 100th year of filmmaking in Santa Barbara—where California’s film industry originally planted roots before migrating south to Hollywood. Kicking off the milestone, It’s Complicated, a new film by writer/director Nancy Meyers, opens Christmas Day and showcases the destination’s enduring aesthetic appeal beautifully. The celebration continues with the 25th annual Santa Barbara International Film Festival February 4-14, when Oscar-contenders and the industry’s best will gather on The American Riviera for ten days of screenings, tribute events, panel discussions and parties. Visit the microsite for Santa Barbara film trivia, suggested movie tour itineraries, a guide to It’s Complicated locations, Film Festival information and a list of hotels with star-studded histories—including Charlie Chaplin’s Montecito Inn. NOTE: Full release on this story to follow.

WE WANT 24 MORE! — The winter season recently upgraded to “extra fabulous” status for savvy travelers and weekenders. Santa Barbara jumped on the 3rd night free bandwagon! Consumers want value, so we’re giving them an extra 24 hours to enjoy Santa Barbara when they book two nights at one of 22 participating properties. From beachside inns, B&B’s and boutique-style accommodations to luxury resorts, wine country hideaways and family-run hotels, the third night free offer is available at a diverse range of properties. Whether budget-minded (think rates starting at $89/night) or in the mood to splurge on a deluxe suite, “24 More” presents substantial savings only available now through March 31, 2010. Visit for full details and to obtain the promotional booking code. In addition to extending a stay with a complimentary night of accommodation, travelers are encouraged to make the most of every minute they spend in Santa Barbara with the help of exclusive “Explore 24” coupons. The added-value program features special deals at numerous restaurants, wineries, museums, retailers and other partner attractions. Every week, a new series of offers (such as 2-for-1 museum admissions and wine tastings) will be posted on

WINE & ROSES AT THE ALISAL GUEST RANCH & RESORT —  The perfect recipe for a romantic winter getaway, the “Wine & Roses” package invites guests to snuggle next to the crackling fire, sip Champagne and lay in a bed of roses during a romantic retreat at the Alisal Guest Ranch & Resort. The 10,000-acre working cattle ranch and resort in the Santa Ynez Valley offers quiet luxury and classic outdoor adventures, a perfect blend of rugged and refined. The Wine & Roses package includes studio accommodation for two nights; sparkling wine and roses on arrival; welcome basket with fresh fruit, cheese and chocolate truffles; breakfast and dinner daily, including wine with dinner; picnic basket for two with wine; horseback riding; golf green fees, tennis and fishing; a one-hour couples massage. $1,850 per couple including all taxes and service charges; some restrictions may apply.

VIP WINE TASTING UPGRADE — Santa Barbara’s oldest winery, Santa Barbara Winery now offers Private Wine Tasting in the Barrel Room. A senior staff member guides tasters through a flight of six wines, including a library or estate vineyard designated wine, and describes the winery’s history and current focus. Pierre Lafond Wine Bistro provides an artisan cheese plate to accompany the tasting. Private tastings are $25 a person and are available daily with 24 hours advance notice. 

NEW TOUR COMBINES CUISINE & ART — Captain Jacks Tours introduces a new tour in their line-up of Santa Barbara experiences. TheTaste of Santa Barbara Tour” begins with a lunchtime cooking demonstration by a local chef. After lunch, visit Chocolats du CaliBressan to witness chocolate transform into “art” as chocolatier Jean-Michel Carre conducts a demonstration and shares samples. The last stop is the studio of local artist Saul Alcaraz, who demonstrates the ancient art of glass blowing and guides participants as they create their own work of art—a souvenir of a day of fine food and art. $99 per person.

NEW JAQUA SPA SANTA BARBARA LINE —  Jaqua Beauty launched its new product line Jaqua SPA Santa Barbara, capturing the ingredients, colors and fragrances that surround local Santa Barbarans everyday; from fresh grapefruit and blooming tropical flowers at the Farmer’s Market to Spanish red-tiled roofs and avocado orchards. The line was created to impart a piece of Santa Barbara’s sun-kissed lifestyle onto the user with the refreshing citrus blend of Pacific Pomelo, rich and spicy Montecito Chai and the exotic bouquet or Blooming Bergamot. “I wanted to bring a piece of the Santa Barbara lifestyle to this product line,” comments Jennifer Jaqua, founder of the Santa Barbara-based company. “It is something that people the world over travel to experience, and that is a true inspiration for the brand.”


  • December 3-27:  Ensemble Theatre presents Trying.
  • December 4:  57th Annual Downtown Holiday Parade lights up State Street with holiday cheer.
  • December 4-6: Santa Barbara Museum of Natural History’s 23rd annual Folk & Tribal Arts Marketplace.
  • December 5:  Third annual Pomegranate Festival at Global Gardens, featuring Pomegranate Glazé, Pomegranate Agrodolce Olive Oil Pound Cake and Pomegranate Golden Balsamic Vinegar. Special recipes available and select pomegranate tastings all day.
  • December 5:  More snow, more sledding and more fun this year at the Santa Barbara Zoo’s Sledding at the Zoo & Snow Leopard Festival.
  • December 6:  The first annual Santa Barbara International Marathon starts 1 mile west of Camino Real Marketplace in Goleta and ends at Leadbetter Beach.
  • December 11-13:  Santa Barbara Revels presents “The Christmas Revels: In Celebration of Winter Solstice” at Marjorie Luke Theatre.
  • December 12-19:  Lit Moon Theatre presents Humbug at Center Stage Theater.
  • December 12-13:  State Street Ballet presents The Nutcracker at The Granada.
  • December 13:  24th annual Harbor Parade of Lights including festive touches like carolers, Santa Claus and kids’ activities in Santa’s Village.
  • December 13:  Experience first-hand the way Santa Barbara’s earliest Spanish and Mexican residents celebrated Christmas with song and food at Una Noche de Las Posadas at El Presidio de Santa Barbara State Historic Park.
  • December 16:  The Granada presents Tomàseen Foley’s A Celtic Christmas, a heart-warming evening of traditional Irish storytelling, music and step dancing.
  • December 20-January 3:  Santa Barbara Theatre presents Leonard Bernstein’s Peter Pan at The Lobero.
  • December 22:  The world’s greatest jazz troupe journeys from the French Quarter to the American Riviera for Preservation Hall Jazz Band’s Creole Christmas, a brassy spin on all the holiday’s greatest hits.
  • December 31:  Santa Barbara Symphony annual New Year’s Eve Pops Concert at The Granada.
  • January 26:  Accomplished musician and actor Harry Connick Jr. and Orchestra perform Your Songs at The Arlington Theatre.
  • January 30-May 2:  Delacroix to Monet: Masterpieces of 19th-Century Painting from the Walters Art Museum at the Santa Barbara Museum of Art.
  • February 4-14:  The Santa Barbara International Film Festival rolls out the red carpet for its 25th year.
  • March 12-14:  As seen in the film Adaptation, commercial and amateur orchid growers from the US and around the world will display thousands of their most perfect orchids at the 65th annual Santa Barbara International Orchid Show.
  • March 19-21:  Savor the “Danish Capital of North America” during Taste of Solvang.
  • April 17:  Annual Santa Barbara County Vintners’ Festival at River Park in the Sta. Rita Hills.
  • April 22:  Celebrate Earth Day in its hometown at the annual South Coast Earth Day Festival at Alameda Park.
May 9 & 10:  Speaking of Stories presents “Celebration of Stories” featuring the Speaking of Stories debut of film and stage veteran David Selby, the return of Pamela and Bradford Dillman as well as a special appearance by T.C. Boyle (a local resident) reading from his newest book to be released in spring of 2010.
Source = Santa Barbara Conference & Visitors Bureau
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