Kerri, one of our Americas specialists, recently came back from sunny California and had her (already great) expectations exceeded with fun-filled tours, world-class wine and delicious sweet treats. Here are her three favourite experiences from her time on the popular West Coast.
The thought of spending a week sampling the delights of the California coast conjures up images of sun, surf and shopping but there is so much more to be had in one of America’s most visited states…
Eat This Shoot That
Most wine lovers might think of Napa as the mother location for all good wines, but Santa Barbara certainly doesn’t fall short of its wine offering either. With several vineyards gaining notable recognition, ‘Eat This Shoot That’ have taken full advantage and created fun wine tours with a unique selling point in downtown Santa Barbara. The concept – a tour taking in the gems and history of the area, packaged together with tasty food and delicious wine and an informative guide giving you top tips on how to take a great photograph of those devine morsels.
We met at Hoffmann Brat Haus where I was given the opportunity to fill my stomach with their famous signature recipe for the Hoffmann brat. You’ll want to hang around for more! After, we walked around the city taking in the sights and learnt more about the Presidio (a former military installation) and historic neighbourhoods before stopping for yes, wine and cheese. Small characterful tasting rooms like Margerum weave their way around the neighbourhood giving you plenty of choice and on this tour you’ll have the opportunity to sample 3-4 wines in each place you stop. Whether you prefer a pairing with cheese or chocolate, there’ll be something to suit your palate.
Sweet Santa Monica
Next stop – LA! Now I’ve been to Santa Monica before but never got to experience something quite like this. You’ll be right in thinking that “healthy living” in California is a rite of passage, but everyone needs to stop for a treat now and then and the guys down at the Santa Monica Bike Center have taken full advantage of this. On this amusing tour, which is perfect for families, I got to cycle around Santa Monica to learn about the local history, take in some celebrity hotspots and snack in some of the best patisseries and ice-cream parlours this side of LA. Your journey will begin with your guide finding out about your favourite sweets and treats before you depart for a laid-back cycle in the sun, keeping a casual eye out for any celebrities. If you don’t see one fear not; you’ll easily forget about the stars as you tuck in to Oprah’s favourite salted caramel chocolate brownie or my favourite olive oil ice-cream from Sweet Rose Creamery. If sweet things aren’t for you, let them know and they’ll tailor the experience around the savoury delights of the area instead.
Heading further down the coast I was excited for my last stop – to sail a 1992 America’s Cup yacht. I boarded at Kona Kai Hotel and was met with an extremely knowledgeable and fun loving captain. Certainly not an activity you can take a back seat on, he had us pulling ropes and taking the steering to zip around San Diego Bay, feeling the welcome breeze of a rather hot day. Stories of the Navy, who were out in force on their new toys, really added to the maritime experience, and in true Californian style you’ll be offered wine to help the day along. For the best time to sail, head out in the morning and keep your eyes peeled for dolphins, seals and even whales.
For more information give one of our Americas Consultants a call on 0203 603 3555 or visit scottdunn.com