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Tuesday, April 4, 2023

California Central Coast - Earth Day Festivities & Updates

Earth Day Festivities in Central Coast California: Discover the Latest Updates and Sustainable Specials

Earth Day

Celebrate Earth Day in Carmel-by-the-Sea on April 22, presented by the City Chamber of Commerce, and Central Coast Community Energy. Discover local green programs, products, and incentives while participating in a tree-planting ceremony, volunteering, and enjoying activities with the Carmel Youth Center.

 One of the west coast's largest and longest-running Earth Day events is the Santa Barbara Earth Day Festival, which takes place on April 29-30. Santa Barbara is known for its strong commitment to the environment, and this festival offers a variety of ways to show gratitude for the planet. Attendees can meet climate leaders, enjoy live performances, view local art installations, and connect with eco-conscious exhibitors while learning how to combat climate change.

New Experiences

In March 2023, the Grace Fisher Foundation's Inclusive Arts Clubhouse was unveiled at La Cumbre Plaza in Santa Barbara. This is a place where children of all abilities can participate in a range of creative activities such as making art and music. The Clubhouse is operated by the Grace Fisher Foundation and serves as a community hub for inclusion-based organizations. The Clubhouse also has a store where artwork created by the children is available for purchase.

 The Santa Cruz Museum of Art & History is showcasing the Bay of Life exhibition until April 30, 2023. The exhibition highlights the beauty of Monterey Bay through works from renowned National Geographic photographer-writer team, Frans Lanting and Chris Eckstrom, featuring extraordinary images alongside maps, archival photos, and interpretive text. Bay of Life showcases the wonders of the Monterey Bay landscape, from mountain lions and peregrine falcons to salmon, whales, and elephant seals, and celebrates the remarkable recovery of damaged ecosystems. The project is supported in part by The Humanities Institute at UC Santa Cruz.

 Island Packers has been awarded a 10-year concession contract by the National Park Service to provide year-round boat transportation service from Ventura to five islands in the Channel Islands National Park. The new contract focuses on sustainability improvements, including converting the fleet to diesel/electric hybrid transmissions with solar charged batteries, and offering a greater variety of convenience items for sale onboard the vessels, including pre-packaged food items and boxed lunches.

 Starting May 27, 2023, Vista Lago Adventure Park and Mustang Water Park at Arroyo Grande's Lopez Lake will reopen for the season, offering over 50 adventure experiences including a ropes challenge course, zipline, and family-friendly water slides.

Food & Beverage

King Frederik Inn in Solvang is offering a unique opportunity for their guests with their Solvang Passport program. This passport provides guests with 2-1 tastings at 14 local wineries and discounts at 14 shops and activities, as well as food discounts. Upon check-in, guests will receive a passport which local businesses can scan for the discounts. It's a great way to explore Solvang and its local businesses while also saving some money.

 Mad Yolks is a new breakfast spot on Pacific Avenue in downtown Santa Cruz, founded by twin brothers Peter and Henry Wong. The menu is centered around creative egg sandwiches on homemade brioche rolls, complemented by Eastern-inspired tea selections. The menu also offers exciting dishes such as "dirty" tots, a curry moco, and the Mad Yolk, which features coddled eggs and whipped potatoes in a jar topped with bacon, chives, and toasted crostini.

 MOHI Farm is a new farm-to-table restaurant located in downtown Morgan Hill. They offer a fresh and healthy dining option at an affordable price by sourcing ingredients from their own farm, the nearby Morgan Hill Farmers Market, and their own patio planters. The restaurant is committed to sustainability and operates with practices like composting, solar power, and minimizing single-use bottles and cans. They even use recycled wine bottles from MOHI Wine to make cocktail glasses. MOHI Farm is a great choice for those who want to enjoy delicious food while also supporting eco-friendly practices.

 Vega Vineyard is now open as a farm-to-table destination, offering visitors the chance to taste delicious food and wine in a beautiful setting. The vineyard raises animals and grows vegetables on-site, providing fresh and locally-sourced ingredients for their daily lunch service. In addition to lunch, visitors can enjoy wine tastings and experience the full range of flavors that Vega Vineyard has to offer.

New Hotels

After twenty years of collaboration, the restoration of the 175-year old Castro Adobe State Historic Park in Santa Cruz County's Pajaro Valley is now complete. The adobe, one of only four adobe buildings remaining in the region and the only two-story adobe, was constructed between 1849 and 1850, and is an exceptional example of Monterey Colonial architecture. Restoration efforts included earthquake repairs, seismic stabilization, a new roof, a lift to guarantee universal access, and fire suppression systems, among others. The Castro Adobe is famous for having a Fandango room on the second floor and a balcony that offers a scenic view of the Pajaro Valley.

 Drift Santa Barbara is a new modern industrial chic hotel by TMC Hospitality that opened in Feb 2023 in downtown. The hotel has a Baja vibe with natural materials and a third-wave coffee shop called Dawn, and a craft bar called Dusk with small-batch tequila cocktails, beer, wine and small bites.

Coming Soon:
  • The Steward, a Tribute Portfolio Hotel, is set to open in May 2023 as Santa Barbara's newest all-suite boutique hotel after extensive renovations. The property will emphasize natural elements, spaciousness, and lush gardens spanning nearly 5 acres, with a focus on stewardship of the land and sustainability, including a no single-use plastics policy and a composting program with the farm across the street. The hotel will also introduce Terra, a new restaurant featuring locally sourced, seasonal California cuisine, botanical blooming tea service, and organic mocktails in partnership with Tilden Cocktails.

Upcoming Events

The Sea Otter Classic, taking place from April 20-23, 2023, is a four-day "Celebration of Cycling" that has gained a reputation as the world's biggest cycling festival. This event offers a perfect blend of recreational biking, competitive cycling events, a festival atmosphere, an expo, and plenty of fun. The extravaganza caters to all ages with family activities and draws in 71,000 cycling enthusiasts from various parts of the globe, making it a must-attend event.

 The first-ever Natural Coast Wine Fest will showcase Central Coast wine producers in Santa Barbara on April 22, 2023. Held at Satellite, a natural wine bar and vegetarian restaurant owned by organizer Drew Cuddy, the fair will feature up to 60 producers. This event is unique as it is the first of its kind to highlight natural wine producers in California.

 The 7th annual Atascadero Tamale Festival on May 6, 2023, features various tamale vendors from California with entertainment, music, merchandise, and contests like "Best Tamale" and "Chihuahua and Pet Costume." The event is located in downtown Atascadero and the Sunken Gardens.

 Taste of Santa Barbara is a multi-day celebration of local food and drink presented by the Santa Barbara Culinary Experience in partnership with the Julia Child Foundation. The event takes place on May 15-21, 2023, and highlights the culinary, hospitality, tourism, artisan, and small business communities in the area. Featured events include Lights, Camera, Julia, showcasing iconic television shows by Montecito resident Julia Child, and Cherry Bombe x Taste of Santa Barbara, a gathering of inspiring discussions with female winemakers, chefs, and producers, along with the annual Taste of Santa Barbara Wines at El Presidio de Santa Bárbara State Historic Park.

 The Carmel Art Festival is celebrating its 30th anniversary this year, taking place in Devendorf Park from May 19-21, 2023. Sixty accomplished plein air artists, including past winners, will arrive in Carmel on May 17 to paint throughout the Monterey Peninsula for two days. Their artwork will be on display and available for purchase on Friday, May 19, at Devendorf Park. Collectors from across the country come to buy these new paintings.

 The California Strawberry Festival is set to take place on May 20-21, 2023 at a new location, the Ventura County Fairgrounds. Attendees can expect the same fun experience as in previous years, with the added bonus of beachside views and ocean breezes. The festival features a variety of strawberry-inspired treats, including build-your-own strawberry shortcake and chocolate-covered strawberries, as well as over 40 food vendors, a Ninja Nation Obstacle Course, live music, and more than 100 arts and crafts booths. With so much to enjoy, the California Strawberry Festival is not to be missed.

The 37th annual I Madonnari Italian Street Painting Festival will take place on May 27-29, 2023, at the Santa Barbara Mission's plaza. Local artists will create large-scale images on the pavement using pastel chalk, while attendees can enjoy an Italian market, live music, and various food options for purchase. All proceeds from the event will benefit the Children's Creative Project, a nonprofit arts education program by the Santa Barbara County Office of Education.

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