Following our visit to the mission, we headed back to the hotel to pack our gear back into the Terrain. Although we weren't done for the day, our time in the little town of Solvang was at an end. We jumped on the northbound 101, then took Highway 154 towards Los Olivos, making a quick left on Zaca Station Road/Highway 176, also known as the Zaca Station Loop. Zaca Station Road eventually merges into Foxen Canyon Road, but still remains Highway 176. The two-lane road is surrounded by the rolling hills of the vineyards and cow pastures. There are several wineries along this loop. Most are open to the public for sampling and tours. The road leads us to several famous spots like the Fess Parker Winery also seen in the movie :Sideways." We stopped there, at Firestone Vineyard, and lastly at the Tres Hermanas Vineyard & Winery. We picked up a bottle of each winery's most popular wine.
Just after leaving Tres Hermanas, we continued down Foxen Canyon Road and came across a white chapel overlooking the hillside. It sat at the opening gates of the Rancho Sisquoc Winery. Although my nephew was sound asleep in the back seat, we decided to make one last stop just to check it out before we hit the road home.
Whatever roads you choose to follow in the Santa Ynez Valley, you're bound to find more than what you were looking for. That was certainly true on our self-guided journey that led us through Solvang, Los Olivos, Santa Maria, and the Santa Ynez Valley. We discovered the history of its fruitful soil, visited landmarks, and enjoyed the beauty the valley has to offer with entertainment for all ages...and we covered 1070 miles in the new 2010 GMC Terrain averaging an impressive 23 miles per gallon.