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Alaska Airlines adds flights between Santa Barbara and San Diego

Santa Barbara Airport is offering direct flights to San Diego this summer. The service starts June 17, with twice-daily departures and arrivals through Alaska Airlines. The airline’s Embraer 175 jets will hold up to 74 passengers, with four classes of seating options. The flights are in the afternoon and evening, with the first flight leaving Read More →

First Southwest Airlines flight lands in Santa Barbara

Santa Barbara rolled out the red, yellow and blue balloons as Southwest Airlines made its Central Coast debut on April 12. The Dallas, Texas-based airline’s brightly painted Boeing 737 aircraft arrived on time or even a few minutes early from Oakland and Denver to start what is expected to be a busy season for Santa Read More →

Obituary: Lynn Hogan, Pleasant Holidays co-founder and Ventura County philanthropist

The Hogan family has announced the death of Pleasant Holidays co-founder Lynn Hogan at age 92. According to a post from the magazine Travel Weekly, she died Nov. 24 in Thousand Oaks, and her death was announced in mid-December. With her husband, Ed Hogan, she founded a small travel agency in Point Pleasant, New Jersey Read More →

Southwest’s next destination: Santa Barbara Airport

Southwest Airlines announced Dec. 16 that it plans to start flying out of Santa Barbara Airport in the spring, something airport officials and frequent fliers have wanted for decades. The airline has not said yet which cities it would serve from Santa Barbara, or how often, but airport officials anticipate “several departures a day,” Deanna Read More →

SLO County names interim airports chief

San Luis Obispo County has found a new airports director in its own deputy director. Courtney Johnson, who has been the county’s airports deputy director since January 2019, will serve in an interim role leading the agency after current director Kevin Bumen steps down on Oct. 10 to take a job at San Francisco International Read More →

Tourism begins long, slow road to recovery

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Delta Airlines halts service to Santa Barbara airport

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Tri-county tourism, hospitality hurting but region suited for recovery

Keeping the economy closed has saved lives, but it has hurt and will continue to hurt tri-county residents in the pocketbook. A webinar put on by UC Santa Barbara on April 16 probed the different ways the community’s businesses were hurting and panelists talked about solutions to help ease the pain. “I think we can Read More →

Alaska Airlines changes flights to keep serving SLO and SB airports

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Auberge Resorts to manage The Inn at Mattei’s Tavern

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Checking in with wine at the Hotel Californian

Santa Barbara’s downtown shopping district is struggling, but there’s plenty of vitality at the Hotel Californian, where the owners of three wineries have located tasting rooms. Wes Hagen, winemaker and spokesman for the hotel’s newest wine tenant, J. Wilkes Wines, said the location is one of the most beautiful spots he’s ever seen for a Read More →

United flying friendly skies at Santa Maria airport again

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Taste ‘Wines of the World’ in Atascadero

A rare array of international wines is set to be uncorked at the “Wines of the World” grand tasting on Jan. 14, featuring the flavors of Germany, Portugal, Italy, Spain, Argentina, France and Paso Robles. Admission to the event at Atascadero’s Pavilion on The Lake includes tastings from more than 40 wineries as well as Read More →

Exhibit highlights 400th anniversary of Mayflower landing

The year 2020 marks the 400th anniversary of the Mayflower landing at Plymouth Rock and the Channel Islands Maritime Museum in Oxnard will feature an exhibit from Jan. 11 until March 23. There will be an opening reception from 4-6 p.m. Jan. 11. The Channel Islands Maritime Museum is located in Channel Islands Harbor at Read More →

Celebrate New Year’s Eve at the Rosewood Miramar Beach

Celebrate a spectacular New Year’s Eve at Caruso’s and The Manor Bar at the Rosewood Miramar Beach in Montecito. With seatings at 5:30 and 8:30 p.m., a special prix-fixe menu created by Chef Massimo Falsini will include Stephanie’s Sea Urchin Cromesquis, Striped Bass Tartare, Santa Barbara Spiny Lobster and Snake Wagyu New York Strip. Those Read More →

Hope Family cabernet is No. 10 on list of world’s top 100 wines

For the first time in Wine Enthusiast magazine’s 30 years of ranking the World’s Top 100 wines, a wine from Paso Robles made the Top 10. Austin Hope 2017 Cabernet Sauvignon is No. 10 in the magazine’s 2019 ratings. Hope Family Wines president and winemaker Austin Hope said when I met him at the winery’s Read More →

Tri-county Rhones make Wine Spectator’s Top 100 list

Five wines from tri-county vintners have been ranked among the world’s Top 100 by Wine Spectator magazine. Tensley Wines’ 2017 Colson Canyon Vineyard syrah from Santa Barbara County is the highest rated from the area at No. 14 in the 2019 list. Three other wines, also Rhones, are in the top 22. They are Denner Read More →

Vodka and latkes on menu at Bettina

Husband and wife team Brendan Smith and Rachel Greenspan, owners of restaurant Bettina in Santa Barbara’s Montecito Country Mart, will offer a Vodka & Latke Night on Dec. 22 and Dec. 23 to celebrate Hanukkah. Vodka & Latke Night includes a trio of latkes with toppings of persimmon and apple compote; crème fraiche and caviar; Read More →

Hotel Cerro will open in SLO in January

The Hotel Cerro will open in the heart of downtown San Luis Obispo in January. The luxury hotel, at 1125 Garden St., will offer 65 rooms and suites ranging from 350 to 920 square feet. All accommodations feature goose-down duvets and fine linens over luxurious platform beds, and extra-large bathrooms with glass walk-in showers, plush Read More →

215-room Hyatt House hotel coming to Channel Islands Harbor

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Santa arrives early at Rosewood Miramar Beach

Rosewood Miramar Beach in Montecito marked the official start of the festive season Nov. 27 with the inaugural Miramar tree lighting celebration on the resort’s Great Lawn. More than 1,800 people gathered together to enjoy a dynamic show that included memorable musical performances, the season’s first “snowfall,” the arrival of Santa, a spectacular light show Read More →

Distiller bets on enthusiasm for Central Coast craft liquor

Central Coast flavors in all stages of distillation deliver a powerful aroma of sugar, wine and spices just one step inside the door of Calwise Spirits. In the back room, founder Aaron Bergh tweaked the flow of the still, cooling down the “tail” cut of a batch of rum — what’s left after he’s extracted Read More →

Paradise Cafe in Santa Barbara has new owner

Acme Hospitality is taking over operations at the Paradise Café in downtown Santa Barbara in January. The restaurant group currently owns Helena Avenue Bakery, The Lark, Loquita, Lucky Penny, Monkeyshine, Tyger Tyger and Santa Barbara Wine Collective. “As a longtime Santa Barbara resident and a frequent guest of the Paradise over the last 20 years, Read More →

Johansson and Driver to be honored at Santa Barbara film festival

Scarlett Johansson and Adam Driver will receive the “Outstanding Performers of the Year Award” at the 35th Santa Barbara International Film Festival for their critically acclaimed work in Noah Baumbach’s “Marriage Story,” which will be released in theaters and on Netflix on Dec. 6. Johansson and Driver will be honored Jan. 17 at the Arlington Read More →

Paso Robles named ‘Top 30 Emerging Destination’

Paso Robles has been named a Top 30 Emerging Destination in the world by the independent travel blog Travel Lemming.   “Move over, Napa!” the award description says. “With hundreds of wineries to explore (most of them family owned and operated) and far fewer crowds, Paso Robles is the perfect place for a relaxing weekend Read More →

Herzog Wine Cellars finds value in owning its own vineyards

Herzog Wine Cellars, based in Oxnard, has spent its nearly 35 years in California changing the perception of kosher wines from something sweet and syrupy to offerings comparable in style and quality to the varied wines crafted in the Golden State. While 70 percent of its production goes to the kosher market, the winery has Read More →

Santa Barbara visitor center opens

On Nov. 7, Visit Santa Barbara and The Chamber of the Santa Barbara Region opened the new State Street Visitor Center at 120 State St., Ste. F, in the Hotel Californian property. The design of the new facility is intended to represent the beauty of the South Coast (deep indigo tones and wood elements evoke Read More →

Santa Barbara film festival to honor Martin Scorsese

The 35th Santa Barbara International Film Festival will honor Martin Scorsese with the 14th annual Kirk Douglas Award for Excellence in Film on Nov. 14. Past honorees include Hugh Jackman, Judi Dench, Warren Beatty, Jane Fonda, Jessica Lange, Forest Whitaker, Robert DeNiro, Michael Douglas, Harrison Ford, Quentin Tarantino, Ed Harris and John Travolta. The red Read More →

United Airlines to offer Santa Barbara to Chicago flights

United Airlines will offer non-stop “red-eye” service to Chicago O’Hare International Airport from the Santa Barbara Airport starting on June 4, the airport announced Oct. 28. The daily service will depart from SBA at 11:20 p.m. and arrive at ORD at 5:20 a.m. local time. The route will be served by an Airbus 319, with Read More →

Paso Market Walk adds 5 new merchants

Paso Market Walk, a shopping, dining and gathering destination slated to open in February, announced the addition of five new merchants to the Central Coast’s new public market. Joebella Coffee began as an at-home project 18 years ago in Santa Barbara. Since then, owners Joseph and Isabel Gerardis have searched the world over before selecting Read More →

Fleischmann Auditorium in Santa Barbara renovated

The newly restored Fleischmann Auditorium at the Santa Barbara Museum of Natural History will officially open to the public for the museum’s annual Folk & Tribal Arts Marketplace on Dec. 6–8. Since opening in 1938, Fleischmann Auditorium has become one of the most used spaces at the museum, hosting a dozen lectures a year (seating Read More →

Eat, drink and be merry at Taste of Conejo!

More than 1,000 food and wine lovers are expected to attend the 10th annual Taste of Conejo! from 6-9 p.m. Oct. 11 at the Four Seasons Hotel Westlake Village. Guests will be able to taste more than 60 of the area’s food and beverage establishments, all under one roof. Flair bartenders from The Flair Project Read More →

AirFest in Santa Maria exposes public to aviation industry

Santa Maria is rekindling its history in aviation and connecting people with an industry that is often not experienced up-close. The second annual Central Coast AirFest, a two-day airshow on Oct. 12-13, will be held this year at the Santa Maria Public Airport in partnership with Central Coast Jet Center. “This is a way to Read More →

Paso Robles hotel opens on site of former almond processing plant

Oxford Suites Paso Robles, a five-story hotel with 101 rooms, had a soft opening in Paso Robles at beginning of August and will officially open within the next month or two. Parent company Oxford Corporate, a family-owned portfolio of 16 hotels throughout Oregon, California, Washington and Idaho, is planning a grand opening and ribbon cutting Read More →

3 Central Coast wineries ranked among top 100 in world

Three Central Coast wineries have made the Wine & Spirits list of the 100 best wineries in the world based on a blind-tasting: Chanin Wine Co. in Lompoc, Deovlet Wines in San Luis Obispo and Tablas Creek Vineyard in Paso Robles. They’ll be showcased at the 16th annual Top 100 event on Oct. 10 at Read More →

Sponsors make admission free to Invesco QQQ Championship

The fourth annual PGA Tour Champions event in Westlake Village is ramping up its day sponsors and hoping to boost attendance by throwing open its doors to the community. Free general admission is a new move for the Invesco QQQ Championship, which features 54 golfers in the second of three events in the Charles Schwab Read More →

Santa Maria agribusinesses to give Farm Day tours to public

Santa Maria farmers and agriculture industry specialists plan to open their fields and facilities to the public Sept. 28 when a Ventura County tradition expands into Santa Barbara County for the first time. Created by Ventura nonprofit Students for Eco-Education and Agriculture, the Farm Day event brought an estimated 5,000 people on a roaming tour Read More →

Celebrate citrus at the Goleta Lemon Festival

Get your lemon fix at the 28th annual Goleta Lemon Festival on Sept. 28-29 at Girsh Park. One of Goleta’s biggest celebrations has outgrown the Stow House where it began because of the thousands of people who attend annual events celebrating the citrus. Goleta’s history with lemons traces back to the Stow family, which started Read More →

Support Humane Society at ‘SPAYghetti — No Balls’ fundraiser

The Humane Society of Ventura County’s “SPAYghetti — NO BALLS” fundraiser will be held from noon to 3 p.m. Sept. 15 at Four Brix Winery in Ventura. The event will feature Italian food from LC Imports Pizza of Ventura, dessert from Danny’s Deli and Grill, Four Brix wine and hard cider, live music by Fish Fry, Read More →

Wine makers, weed farmers ponder joint tourism effort

Wine makers and weed farmers are getting together in an effort to float everyone’s boats when it comes to Santa Barbara North County’s tourism industry. Good Farmers Great Neighbors, a collective of North County cultivators and advocates, and North County Farmers Guild hosted a panel to discuss the potential for industry partnerships at a packed Read More →

SB County museums free on Sept. 21

On Sept. 21, five Santa Barbara County museums will open their doors free of charge along with hundreds of other participating national venues for the 15th annual Museum Day. The participating local venues are Elverhoj Museum of History & Art, Guadalupe Dunes Center, Santa Barbara Maritime Museum, Santa Barbara Museum of Art, and Wildling Museum Read More →

SLO airport adding flights to San Diego and Portland

The San Luis Obispo County Regional Airport will add direct flights to San Diego and Portland, Ore., with Alaska Airlines. It announced the two daily, non-stop flights in partnership with Visit SLO Cal on Sept. 4. Both services are slated to begin in 2020—San Diego on Jan. 7, and Portland on June 18. The flights Read More →

Summerwood Inn ranked fourth best wine country hotel in U.S.

Summerwood Inn in Paso Robles has been named one of the best wine country hotels in America by USA Today’s “10 Best Readers’ Choice Awards.” The contemporary farmhouse style inn and winery — which features nine suites and is located on its own estate vineyard — was ranked No. 4 on the list. The reader’s Read More →

Summer tourism numbers are up across the Central Coast

The Tri-Counties fought off June gloom and signaled disaster recovery resilience with a strong pulse for the tourism industry as summer travel winds down. Although overcast skies in June and July may have dampened tourism, especially from Los Angeles driving markets, destination marketing officials in Ventura, Santa Barbara and San Luis Obispo counties all reported Read More →

Presqu’ile winery has one of top 10 tasting rooms in U.S.

Presqu’ile, a winery in the hills of Santa Maria, announced Aug. 23 that for the second year in a row it was honored by USA Today’s 2019 National Readers Poll of the top 10 Best Tasting Rooms in the U.S. Presqu’ile is the only winery on the list from Santa Barbara County, a region with more than 200 wineries and tasting rooms. “It’s always Read More →

Stonehouse wine collection recovery remarkable

The mudslides that devastated Montecito in January of 2018 ruined one of the top 100 restaurant wine collections in the world at the Stonehouse, San Ysidro Ranch. The  restaurant lost its inventory of  nearly 12,500 bottles of fine wine when mud and rocks from nearby San Ysidro Creek crashed through the back door of the Read More →

Julia Child’s legacy lives on in Santa Barbara

The late Julia Child is getting some overdue love from her adopted hometown of Santa Barbara. City officials designated Aug. 15, her birthday, as Julia Child Day to go along with celebrations across the nation. She would be 107 if still alive. Along with the festivities came an announcement of the Julia Child Foundation for Read More →

Tommy Tutone to headline Stone Soup Music Festival

Tommy Tutone will headline the 29th Annual Stone Soup Music Festival, Food, & Street Fair on Aug. 24-25 in Grover Beach in Ramona Garden Park and the surrounding streets. This festival draws thousands of people each year and admission to the festival and all concerts is free. Two stages will provide continual live music during Read More →

Santa Barbara County vineyards celebrate anniversaries

Sunstone Vineyards & Winery is celebrating 25 years since the 1994 opening of its tasting room. It is one of the first organic vineyard estates in Santa Barbara County and will host a “Wine & Swine” reception at the Sunstone Estate from 4-6 p.m. Aug. 17. The reception will feature a pig roast, live ’90s Read More →

Rosewood Miramar Beach hosts celebrity wedding

Nobody likes a shiny new object more than a luxury wedding planner. The Sunday New York Times on July 28 devoted a half page to recent nuptials at the newly opened Rosewood Miramar Beach Resort. The couple was YouTube sensation Giselle Lazzarato aka Gigi Gorgeous and Nats Getty, the daughter of Getty heiress Ariadne Getty. Read More →

Celebrate National Farmers Market Week in Lompoc

Route One Farmers Market, a new addition to the Lompoc Valley, will celebrate National Farmers Market Week from 10 a.m.- 2 p.m. Aug. 4 at 3745 Constellation Road in Vandenberg Village in Lompoc. The market will offer fresh local produce, artisanal breads, cold-pressed juices, handmade crafts, African shopping baskets and food truck lunch options. Kids Read More →

Entrepreneurs choose Los Alamos venue for hospitality venture

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Rebranding spotlights ‘best-kept secret’ tri-county wine region

A wine region in the Tri-Counties has been profiled in publications as “Wine Country’s Best-Kept Secret,” (LAWeekly), and sub-areas of it as “California’s Best Unsung Wine Regions” (Wine Enthusiast). It was among “10 Under-the-Radar North American Wine Regions You Need to Visit” (Fodor’s Travel). The “secret” in our own backyard is an area recently rebranded Read More →

Morro Bay plans $100 million makeover to attract more visitors

The coastal city of Morro Bay is charting a new future with hospitality and public-serving projects totaling some $100 million either in negotiations or in the planning pipeline. “There’s not always development options in Morro Bay, but that makes the ones we have that much more lucrative,” said City Manager Scott Collins. For a city Read More →

‘Wine Spectator’ honors Paso Robles restaurants

The publication “Wine Spectator” lauded Paso Robles restaurants Il Cortile Ristorante and La Cosecha Bar + Restaurant with 2019 Awards of Excellence. The awards are featured in the Aug. 31 issue of Wine Spectator, which hit newsstands on July 16. Both restaurants were praised for their outstanding food quality, dining and cocktail menus, service and Read More →

Dallas Cowboys coming to Oxnard for training

The Dallas Cowboys will train for their upcoming season from July 27 through Aug. 15 at the River Ridge Playing Fields at 2101 W. Vineyard Ave. in Oxnard.  Many of the practices are open to the public, giving residents and visitors an opportunity to connect with players and coaches. The family-friendly camp experience will feature Read More →

SLO airport travelers can enroll in TSA PreCheck

Travelers at the San Luis Obispo County Regional Airport will be able to enroll in the TSA PreCheck program during two days in July. TSA partner IdentoGO will be on site July 22 through July 26 to help travelers register for the expedited security screening program, according to an airport press release. IdentoGO’s mobile enrollment Read More →

Martin Resorts opening boutique hotel in Paso Robles

Boutique hotel The Piccolo will open soon in Paso Robles at 600 12th St. The 17,000-square-foot property will feature 23 rooms and a 738-square-foot suite, The Piper Wine Lounge, a courtyard and rooftop bar Tetto. Reservations are available beginning in September, and room prices are in the $400-$500 range. The Piccolo is the newest product Read More →

Henry Dubroff

Dubroff: Contour Airlines taking off on the Central Coast

Smyrna, Tenn. is not exactly the airline capital of the world. But a privately-held aviation company based in this small city is beginning to move up the ranks of carriers serving the Central Coast. With flights daily from Santa Barbara and, this fall, San Luis Obispo, it is nipping at the heels of major carriers Read More →

Passenger travel up 20 percent at Santa Barbara airport

The Santa Barbara Municipal Airport has had a 20 percent increase in passenger travel for the Fourth of July holiday, the airport announced on July 3, encouraging passengers to plan ahead. As of  May 22, the airport re-opened its long-term parking lot on Hollister Avenue and Lopez Road (just west of the intersection of Fairview Avenue Read More →

Stomp grapes in Solvang to celebrate wine harvest

The Solvang Stomp, a wine harvest street festival, will be held Oct. 19 in downtown Solvang. Solvang Stomp guests will have the opportunity to stomp grapes in vats barefoot, sip tastes from dozens of area wineries, dance to a live band, drink pink in the “I Love Rosé Lounge” and be able to purchase food Read More →

Roadrunner grounds shuttle service to LAX

About 9,000 monthly riders in Ventura County will be looking elsewhere for airport transit after Camarillo-based Roadrunner Management Services ends its shuttle service to Los Angeles International Airport on July 31. The closure also means layoffs for 60 employees at the former family-owned business, one of the largest private transit operators in the region. In Read More →

Contour announces flights from San Luis Obispo to Las Vegas

Contour Airlines will begin flights to Las Vegas four times a week out of the San Luis Obispo County Regional Airport on Oct. 17. This is the airline’s first time in SLO, according to a June 26 news release, which announced the new nonstop flight. It already offers a nonstop Las Vegas flight out of Read More →

Broken Earth has big vision for relocated tasting room

Location, location, location was a big draw that prompted Broken Earth Winery to move its tasting room from Highway 46 East in Paso Robles to a large industrial space just steps down the road from Firestone Walker’s brewery and tap room. “We obviously know what Firestone does and how busy they stay,” General Manager Justin Read More →

Mixologists create ‘Official Drink of Santa Barbara’

Visit Santa Barbara will host its third annual “Official Drink of Santa Barbara” Cocktail Contest from 5 to 8 p.m. June 20 at El Paseo Mexican Restaurant, 813 Anacapa St. Last year’s craft cocktail contest winner was “Biltmore Fuerte” (“Biltmore Strong” in Spanish) by Ty Lounge at Four Seasons Resort The Biltmore Santa Barbara, which Read More →

Tri-county buildings are gems of mid-century modernism

On an impromptu visit to the former library that currently hosts KidSTREAM, a planned science museum for children in Camarillo, something clicked. As I stood in the main hall of the empty reading room, the vaulted ceiling, streaming natural lighting and built-in alcoves all worked as a unitary design. The fanciful pattern on the iron Read More →

FlixBus launches Santa Barbara, Ventura service to LA, Las Vegas

FlixBus, the European mobility startup that launched in the United States a year ago, added Santa Barbara and Ventura to its rapidly-expanding network on June 6. Residents will be able to travel directly to Las Vegas and Los Angeles as well as connect with other cities in the Flix network. To introduce the new cities Read More →

Passenger counts taking off at airports in SLO, Santa Barbara

Tri-county travel is trending upward as the region’s top two airports reported strong passenger counts for the first quarter of the calendar year. Passenger traffic grew nearly 20 percent for the Santa Barbara Municipal Airport, which anticipates a return to pre-recession levels by the end of year, and 15 percent for the San Luis Obispo Read More →

Island Packers launches dinner cruises with music

Visitors to Ventura Harbor Village can now enjoy the warmer days ahead with a two-hour Island Packers boat dinner cruise, where they will experience delicious cuisine paired to live entertainment from June through September. Operating on selected Saturdays, singles, couples and families can cruise the protected waters of Ventura Harbor and enjoy a savory meal, Read More →

Fespar teams up with Robert Green to develop hotel

A legendary family firm will team up with a relative newcomer to the region to create final opportunities for hotel development along the Santa Barbara waterfront. Fess Parker Enterprises, LLC, the family firm founded by the late actor and entrepreneur Fess Parker, announced on May 15 that it will team up with The Robert Green Read More →

Santa Barbara Airport kicks off summer services

Memorial Day weekend will herald the beginning of the summer travel season at the Santa Barbara Airport. Minneapolis-based Sun Country Airlines resumed its seasonal direct service from Minneapolis to Santa Barbara on May 22. Because of the route’s popularity in 2018, the airline is doubling the number of weekly direct flights to four mid-day arrivals and Read More →

Virgin Galactic will soon launch first tourists into space

Almost 15 years ago, Virgin Group founder Richard Branson made a bet on launching tourists into space from the scrublands of southern New Mexico. Now, he’s about to move the headquarters of his space venture to the so-called “Land of Enchantment.” Virgin Galactic’s move into its permanent headquarters at Spaceport America, north of Las Cruces, signifies Read More →

Peake Ranch opens winery at landmark site in Buellton

Visitors who recall tasting at the rustic Sanford Winery shack that appeared in the movie “Sideways” or at Alma Rosa when it was located there are likely to be especially interested in the opening of the new Peake Ranch Winery and tasting room at the landmark site. Peake Ranch began welcoming the public in a Read More →

Boutique hotels opening across the Central Coast

Four new hotels have opened recently or will open soon in the Tri-Counties. • Kirkwood Collection will introduce its newest property, Hideaway Santa Barbara, with a grand opening on June 15. The boutique nine-room hotel is at 420 W. Montecito St. Kirkwood owns a collection of boutique properties, including other hotels in Santa Barbara, Palm Read More →

COAST Big Sur gallery reopens to the public

COAST Big Sur gallery has reopened to the public with a a new gourmet café and a menu by renowned San Francisco chef Nick Balla. Since opening as Coast Gallery in 1958, COAST Big Sur has been a fixture on California’s Central Coast and a destination for tourists and artists looking to experience Big Sur’s Read More →

It’s survival of the fittest for luxury yachts

By Fran Golden It used to be that if you wanted to see blue-footed boobies and giant colonies of sea lions sunning in the Galapagos Islands, you had to travel a bit as Charles Darwin did, on a research-style vessel whose creature comforts came second to up-close nature encounters. That’s changed. The new wildlife-seeking crowd wants to see endangered species Read More →

Follow these tips to get the most out of traveling by train

By Mark Ellwood First time planning a train trip? Start here. Seat is a fantastic resource if you’re starting from scratch. The site compares the routes, with everything from pricing data to the different amenities offered on each train. It’s Google for train lovers. America’s much-maligned rail system is hiding a few gems. One of my favorite trains Read More →

SLO airport had record first quarter passenger count

A total of 113,320 passengers flew in and out of San Luis Obispo County Regional Airport during the first quarter of 2019, a 15 percent increase over 98,516 passengers in the same timeframe last year. Airport officials said it was the busiest first quarter in its history. Last year was the airport’s busiest year on Read More →

Mending broken hearts with destination divorce parties in Vegas

By Sarah Firshein In October 2015, Ariel Khawaja traveled to Cozumel, Mexico, to say “I do” before a group of 55 wedding guests. Three years later she corralled her two best friends to stand beside her in Las Vegas as she said two other magic words: “I don’t.” Anchoring the trip around a Drake concert, Read More →

Angels Wine, Food & Brew benefit good for business networking

One of a handful of true business networking must-go events, the Angels Wine, Food & Brew benefit for nonprofit Casa Pacifica is rolling out its 26th annual program in June. The festival will be held June 2 at the CSU Channel Islands campus and all proceeds benefit Casa Pacifica, which provides services to families in Read More →

World’s tallest modular hotel to rise in Manhattan

By Patrick Clark The world’s biggest hotel company is betting that factory-built guest rooms are a key to juicing revenue — and helping guests get a better night’s sleep. Marriott International is laying plans for what it says will be the tallest modular hotel in the world, in Manhattan’s NoMad neighborhood. Its 168 guest rooms Read More →

Backers hope Lompoc space center project launches

With space launches at Vandenberg Air Force Base becoming more frequent, bringing in some 200,000 visitors to witness launches in 2018, a proposal for an educational space center is once again in the works. “The public interest in space is extraordinary,” said project lead Steven Franck as he and business partner Bob Allen pitched the Read More →

Silver Air title sponsor for Pacific Coast Open polo tournament

Silver Air, the private jet management and charter company with operations in Santa Barbara, is returning as title sponsor of the 2019 Silver Air Pacific Coast Open at the Santa Barbara Polo & Racquet Club. The polo tournament will be played Aug. 15 to Sept. 1, culminating with the final match on the Sunday of Read More →

Best golf courses to play if you’re not playing at the Masters

For golf fans, few weeks of the year are as anticipated as Masters Week. The energy on the course transmits itself through the television, in part because for many of us in northern climates, we can finally begin to dream about the end of winter. And for the lucky few that are able to win the ticket lottery — Read More →

5 fun places to hold a corporate gathering in the Tri-Counties

Building a great team starts with building morale and camaraderie. From activities that push you outside the office to tasks that engage your critical thinking skills at full throttle, team retreats are a way to have productive fun. Across the Tri-Counties, both indoor and outdoor spaces for corporate retreats and team-building exercises abound. Here are Read More →

New conference centers planned to meet growing tri-county demand

Already a world class tourist destination, the Tri-Counties are poised to ramp up business travel capacity with new spaces for corporate events and conferences. Camarillo and Paso Robles are each slated for large new conference centers that will cater to business functions. This is in addition to more than half a dozen hotels cropping up Read More →

American Airlines launches nonstop service from SLO to Dallas

The San Luis Obispo County Regional Airport welcomed its first daily nonstop flight from Dallas Fort Worth International Airport on April 2. American Airlines first announced the flight from SLO to the busy national and international travel hub in December, which will enable an additional 89 connections, expanding Central Coast access to the South, the Read More →

Michelin Guide to include Santa Barbara restaurants

Updated at 4 p.m. March 7: International dining authority Michelin will be writing “Michelin Guide California 2019,” a guidebook to California dining, according to a March 5 news release from Michelin. Santa Barbara County restaurants will be included in the guide, along with restaurants in the greater Los Angeles area and Monterey, Orange, Sacramento and Read More →

Ways to celebrate Valentine’s Day in the Tri-Counties

With consumers poised to spend an average of $161.96 on Valentine’s Day in the U.S., according to the National Retail Foundation, tri-county destinations are getting in on the action. The National Retail Foundation survey found that 34 percent of consumers anticipate spending a total of $3.5 billion on an evening out. Experiential gifts, such as Read More →

New hotels opening across the Tri-Counties

A slew of new hotels, including some that have been in the works for more than a decade, have opened or will open in 2019. Ranging from first-class hotel chains to privately-owned concepts, the new lodging spaces cater to a blend of luxury, tourism and business-oriented markets. SANTA BARBARA COUNTY The Rosewood Miramar Beach Resort Read More →

Santa Barbara Airport adding daily flight to Sacramento

The Santa Barbara Airport will add a daily nonstop flight to Sacramento International Airport beginning April 16, the airport announced on Jan. 31. Contour Airlines will begin accepting bookings for the flight on Feb. 1. The premium, low-fare airline also announced it will increase the number of daily flights from Santa Barbara to Oakland and Read More →

Popular tri-county film festivals attracting big audiences

The Santa Barbara International Film Festival will increase its presence in downtown Santa Barbara, with plans to move its year-round educational program into its current rental space at 1330 State St. In what looks to be a top grossing year for the 34th annual festival, it will also honor regional roots, kicking off and closing Read More →

LVMH buying El Encanto owner Belmond for $2.6 billion

How about a high end room to go with your high end luggage? LVMH, the French company that owns the Luis Vuitton, Moet and Hennessy brands, is buying Belmond, the upscale hotel company whose holdings include El Encanto in Santa Barbara. LVMH will pay $25 per share or $2.6 billion for the hotel and luxury Read More →

San Luis Obispo airport adding daily flight to Dallas

The San Luis Obispo County Regional Airport got an early Christmas present this year. On Dec. 13, it announced a new daily flight destination to Dallas Fort Worth International Airport. American Airlines will begin the flights from San Luis Obispo to the busy national and international travel hub on April 2. A spokeswoman for the Read More →

Landmark equine brick barn now wine venue

What once was Santa Barbara County’s most elegant barn, built of red bricks and a Spanish tile roof to house Arabian horses, is now an ultramodern tasting room and events center just outside Buellton’s western residential district. Buellton resident Norman Williams hired an Italian stonemason to build the barn in the early 1970s after purchasing Read More →

Solvang gets grant to market itself for television and film shoots

Amid many popular Central Coast destinations sits the town of Solvang, nestled between two mountain ranges in the Santa Ynez Valley and nicknamed “California’s Denmark” because of its strong Danish heritage. The downtown consists of about five to six blocks of primarily one or two-story buildings that were designed similar to traditional Danish structures. “Our Read More →

Santa Barbara County tourism industry outlook good

With tourism largely rebounding in the aftermath of the winter’s disasters, Visit Santa Barbara unveiled a new branding campaign on Oct 30, along with optimistic lodging forecasts. Data from CBRE Hotels showed an increase in demand for lodging, even as Santa Barbara County absorbed a 6 percent increase in available rooms as new venues like Read More →

Camarillo Airport users can soon be on Cloud 9

Camarillo will jump on the luxury-storage trend with Cloud 9, a 120,000-square-foot project that will bring luxury hangers and office space for private jet owners, companies and high-net-worth individuals to the Camarillo Airport. The four 25,000-square-foot hangers will be constructed in the northeast quadrant of the airport and, according to airport officials, accommodate at least Read More →

Attractive venues power tri-county wedding industry

With a large variety of venues, incredible beaches and an infusion of cultural experiences, the Tri-Counties are in demand as a wedding destination for couples from around the nation and the world. “I went to school in San Luis Obispo and fell in love with the area then. When planning our wedding, we looked at Read More →

Top tri-county tourist attractions at a glance

San Luis Obispo, Santa Barbara and Ventura counties are hot spots for tourism with an array of attractions and activities enjoyed by visitors and locals alike. Here’s a look at the top three attractions in each of the Tri-Counties, ranked by number of annual visitors, according to the Pacific Coast Business Times 2018 Book of Read More →

Travelers name Santa Barbara as one of the best small cities in U.S.

Santa Barbara is named as one of the “Best Small Cities in the U.S.” as part of the Condé Nast Traveler 2018 Readers’ Choice Awards. Santa Barbara, which first appeared on the list in 2015, gets more than 7.2 million visitors per year. More than 400,000 readers took part in the annual survey. Several Santa Read More →

PGA Tour Champions event will boost Conejo Valley economy

  A PGA Tour Champions event returns to Thousand Oaks in October under its new moniker, the Invesco QQQ Championship, hoping to engage new audiences, drive philanthropy and encourage visitors to explore the Conejo Valley. To be held at the Sherwood Country Club in Thousand Oaks on Oct. 25-28, the Invesco QQQ Championship is the Read More →

SLO County scenery makes great backdrop for shooting movies

“Destination Wedding” — a newly released film starring Keanu Reeves and Winona Ryder — is more about the destination than the wedding. Filmed primarily in Paso Robles and San Luis Obispo, the movie highlights the scenery that draws many to the county. “I think (the producer) found in Paso Robles a backdrop that would fully Read More →

Hitching Post Wines in Buellton opens tasting room

The Hitching Post II restaurant in Buellton enjoyed some high-profile exposure in the 2004 movie “Sideways.” A scene early in the film shows aspiring author Miles and his pal Jack walking along Highway 246 and up to the restaurant, where the roadside Hitching Post sign glows brightly in the twilight. They sit down at the Read More →

Western art show SLOPOKE popular with tri-county collectors

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Santa Barbara Airport adding flights, industrial buildings

Santa Barbara Airport is launching into an era of change, adding a new carrier and destinations, putting airport-owned industrial buildings up for lease and recruiting a new director. Daily flights to Oakland and Las Vegas will begin on Oct.16, airport officials announced Aug. 27. Contour Airlines will operate the 30-passenger jets to and from the Read More →

Santa Barbara Airport adds flights to Oakland, Las Vegas

The Santa Barbara Airport is adding daily flights to Oakland and Las Vegas, airport officials announced Aug. 27. Contour Airlines will operate the 30-passenger jets to and from Oakland and Las Vegas starting on Oct. 16. Fares for the destinations have not been announced. The new service will bring the airport’s direct flight destinations total Read More →

Highway 1 open for business and tourism rebounds

Shops and stops along Highway 1 have experienced a late summer surge in the few weeks following the historic coastal route’s mid-July reopening. Now merchants are wondering how long the good times will roll. The famed highway along the Central Coast was closed from just north of Ragged Point in San Luis Obispo County into Read More →

Sculpture garden draws visitors to Paso Robles winery

If they didn’t serve wine at Sculpterra Winery’s estate tasting room, it still would be an interesting place to visit. The venue on Paso Robles’ east side is nestled in a verdant garden where meandering paved walkways, hedges and plantings frame dramatically large, museum-quality sculptures. There are stylized renderings of animals — horses, alley cats, Read More →

Henry Dubroff

Dubroff: Low-cost airlines position Santa Barbara Airport to take off

Santa Barbara Airport, by far the region’s busiest facility, is about to embark on a new era, relying more heavily on low-cost airlines to boost traffic. Beginning on Aug. 16, Sun Country, a Minneapolis-based carrier owned by Apollo Global Management, will begin flights to its home hub in Minnesota on a seasonal, two-day-a-week schedule with Read More →

Marriott Fairfield Inn will be first hotel in Moorpark since 1920

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Survey will help plan future of tourism in San Luis Obispo County

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Our view: Highway 1 opening will boost tourism

While much media attention in the Tri-Counties has been focused on the Thomas fire and mudslides that shut Highway 101 over the winter, San Luis Obispo County’s tourism economy has been hard hit by a slide-related closure that cut off access to Big Sur and lasted 18 months. A year and a half after a Read More →

Solvang Chamber of Commerce gets contract to brand and market city

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Highway 1 reopens closed stretch near Big Sur

Some 18 months after a vast mud flow covered a quarter-mile long stretch of Highway 1 near Big Sur, the road has reopened, handily beating a September opening target date. The reopening for vehicles took place the morning of July 18, several days after bicycles were allowed to use the road. The opening had been Read More →

Roving science museum kidSTREAM finds a home

Ventura County is set to welcome a long-awaited recreational destination for kids, and nonprofit science museum kidSTREAM will get a physical address after receiving the nod from the Camarillo City Council. Until now, the nomadic children’s museum has hosted pop-up events and workshops throughout the county as it conducted fundraising feasibility and market studies to Read More →

Santa Barbara hotel staffs vie for bragging rights at Hotel Olympics

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Henry Dubroff

Dubroff: Tri-county tourism slow to bounce back but wait ’til next year

When it comes to the 2018 tourism season, evidence suggests a lingering impact from the Thomas fire and mudslides, with many people I talk to thinking that a full rebound may not take place until 2019. If my sources are correct, the region will get a big jolt next season with the anticipated late-December soft Read More →

Tri-county tourism shrugs off natural disasters

New figures show that even in the face of natural disasters that shook the travel and retail industries, tourism continues to be a top economic driver for the Central Coast. Visitor spending topped $5 billion in the Tri-Counties in 2017, supporting nearly 50,000 jobs, according to data provided by state and county nonprofit marketing associations. Read More →

Paso Robles downtown wineries host wine walk on the wild side

Normally when you walk into a wine tasting room, you don’t expect to see a 6-foot-long, 100-plus pound alligator perched motionless on a stand, his gaze steely-eyed and his teeth protruding from closed jaws that form what looks like a faint smile. This was no normal day. Spike the alligator, under the watchful care of Read More →

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