The smallest village in the Santa Ynez Valley,
Naturally, that is where we find ourselves after a day of wine tasting by limo. (What urbanites!) After our final tasting at Bedford Thompson in downtown
Somewhere along the way, we walk two blocks to American Flatbread and devour the best pizza I’ve ever had. You may have seen this organic brand in the freezer section at Whole Foods. They bake their amazing flatbread pizzas (made from all locally sourced ingredients) in
Just as we’re finishing our to-die-for pizzas, Ron, the owner of The Steelhorse, pops in to let us know that a second band has shown up just for us. Aren’t we coming back? Dutifully, we return to party some more with cronies like Maxine, a white-haired hoot of an older lady (she's the one clapping in the right corner of the photo above), and Kate, a pretty twentysomething who moved back home to "hear the crickets."Does this kind of experience happen in LA? No. Does it happen often in “Little LA,” as some jokingly call
The other thing that gave me goose bumps was that I got an idea for a novel. After bonding with Kimberly, the caretaker of the Union Hotel, who lives in Room 23 full-time with her husband, I suddenly wanted to write a story set there. It would be full of vignettes about all the kooky characters (like, ahem, us) that pass through. Plus, the hotel (built 1880) itself is a character – think moving bookcases, hidden passageways and an eccentric former owner. No, I'm not making this up. Here's a shot of Dana, the current owner, showing us a sliding bookcase.
So the questions I'm now facing are: Is it about the history? Clearly, historic small towns are an aphrodisiac for me. Or is it the warmth of small town denizens – and the ability to connect with them so easily? Perhaps most importantly, could I get inspired creatively in a small town in a way that I simply can’t in the big city? That final question may be the most arousing of all.