Bet you didn’t know Santa Maria California is the largest city in Sana Barbara County…this factoid comes as a surprise to many people who automatically assume Santa Barbara to be the largest city in the county that shares its name. But in fact, it is Santa Maria that has emerged over the past decade as the tail that wags the proverbial dog. And besides being the largest city between Ventura and the Bay Area, the Santa Maria/Orcutt area combines with nearby Lompoc, Los Alamos, and Santa Ynez Valley to become one of the top areas in California for wine-tasting in the world.

In the Santa Maria Valley, there are 12 vineyards all of them open to the general public. Each and every one of these 12 properties boasts a uniqueness not only in terms of its aesthetics, but each property’s “vibe”. And needless to say each grape producers hand-crafted wines are quintessentially independently terrific. And Santa Maria isn’t only known for its assortment of fine varietals, but also world-famous for its “Santa Maria Style BBQ,” with some of the best tri-tip served up anywhere. The Old Orcutt area, located roughly 5 miles outside Santa Maria, is home to a variety of family-owned restaurants, wine bars, tasting rooms, spas, and also what is commonly believed to be one of the oldest bars in California. And you all of this with a classic old-town vibe.

Santa Maria is at its core a family-oriented city of 100+ thousand, however it also boasts options for sophistication. For patrons of the arts, for example, the PCPA theater company offers some of the most entertaining theater in California.But let’s not ignore one of the most simple of basic facts, Santa Maria is home to some of the most dynamic agricultural production and operations in the Western United States. From lettuce, broccoli, cauliflower, cilantro, and bell peppers, one crop that gets more than its fair share of attention are the strawberries…where each year thousands from around the state visit Santa Maria to attend its famous annual strawberry festival. Come for the wine, stay for of myriad of other fun and delicious reasons.

Ignite the Fire Dance by Shane Mastriano – Central Coast Artisan Spotlight

Keys 2 the Coast Staff was tasked with finding unique and talented artisans. Meet Shayne Mastriano ‘Ignite Fire Danceʼ was founded in 2013 by Shayne Mastriano after training shortly under the first fire dancer to ever perform for Cirque Du Soleil. Since then, heʼs performed as a half time performer for the San Fransisco 49erʼs…

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The Patch Santa Maria Pumpkins

Fall in Love with Fall on the Central Coast

Autumn on the California Central Coast is a beautiful season. Leaves may not change colors radically, and fall to the ground, but Autumn does mean that all along the central coast, pumpkin patches, as well as other amazing, spooky events sprout up in October. Whether you are in Santa Barbara, San Luis or Monterey County,…

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Oh Maya!

Maya Restaurant in Santa Maria, California is a Keys 2 the Coast favorite for Mexican food.  If you are from the Central Coast, you know that there is no shortage of good Mexican food in Santa Barbara or San Luis Obispo counties.   Maya offers a taste of vacation in the Santa Maria Valley. The family…

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Strawberries with long stema

The Berry Stop is the Berry Best

As you cruise down Highway 101 in Santa Maria, do yourself a big favor. Ripe, big, colorful berries can be bought at a great price, right off of the 101. The best way to get to these delicious berries from the 101 is to take the Stowell Road exit and turn East.  As soon as…

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Green Pozole

Eat, Drink, and Be Healthy

Stacy Mitchell and her boyfriend Brandon Wright have always had a passion for healthy eating. After going to many juice and smoothie bars, they saw how most menu items were laden with sugar and virtually no vegan options.  They recognized an opportunity to be different and started a food truck business, called Pressed Write Juicery. …

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Frida Kahlo

Never Underestimate the Power of the Brow

They speak volumes. They can smirk, question and show delight. Many times, you can tell how a person is feeling by just looking at their eyebrows. Whether they are mad, sad or happy. You can tell that your mother is upset with you by the way she looked at you and how one eyebrow would…

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