Photo Creative Commons by Tom Hilton. Link to original here.
Photo selection for the week of May 30 - June 5, 2014
Dappled sunlight, moss covered trees, quiet and solitude - all these things can be found just a few miles outside of Solvang along Alisal Road.
It's a short drive, probably the shortest of the back road and scenic drives we cover here, but it's too nice not to mention.
If you are visiting the wineries of the Santa Ynez Valley or the Santa Rita Hills, you can pick up a lunch somewhere and take this drive. Maybe a butter ring at Mortensen's in Solvang. Stop at Nojoqui Park with your meal. Then a little walk to see the waterfall to work off lunch and get the kinks out.
Location: Santa Barbara County
Translation of "Alisal": Spanish for sycamore grove
Northern end: Intersection of Alisal Road and Highway 246 (Mission Drive) in Solvang
Southern end: Highway 101 south of Buellton (after approx. .5 miles on the Old Coast Road)
Length: Approximately 8 miles
Condition: Paved county road. A bit narrow as most rural roads are
Along the way: Mission Santa Ines; Hotel Corque (one of Solvang's newest luxury hotel); 2 18 hole golf courses; Solvang Vintage Motorcycle Museum; Santa Ynez River, Alisal Ranch and the Nojoqui Falls Park.
Oaks and sycamores are the trees that populate this road. You will also see lots of Spanish moss hanging off them. That gives you a clue that there is a fair amount of moisture here, at least in the form of fog.
The moisture over the ocean just on the other side of the Santa Ynez Mountains builds up at times and then spills over into the valleys as fog.
This happens mostly in the spring and fall in Central California. It's quite a sight to be on the inland side of the mountains and see the fog creep over the summits and then slowly pour down the slopes. It would make a nice time lapse movie.
Alisal Road can also be accessed from Highway 101. Just south of Buellton, it can be found by following the signs to Nojoqui Falls Park. You will first be on the Old Coast Road, past some farmland and then onto Alisal Road heading toward Solvang.