Autumn—harvest time—is the showiest season in California’s Santa Ynez Valley. Iconic gnarled oak trees glow amber, their crunchy leaves blanketing rural roads. Scarecrows beckon from farm posts. At the area’s 120-plus wineries, grapes are plucked from vines and pressed into juice.
Spend a fall weekend in the Santa Ynez Valley exploring its six friendly towns—Solvang, Buellton, Los Olivos, Ballard, Santa Ynez, and Los Alamos. In just a few country-paced days you can savor crisp-chilly nights and spectacular eats where farm-to-table cuisine is a way of life.