PRESS RELEASE / ANNOUNCEMENTS Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Santa Maria Valley’s Update for the Travel, Food & Lifestyle Media

The Grapevine

Santa Maria Valley’s Update for the Travel, Food & Lifestyle Media


Contact: Malei Weir – (805) 239-0020

Welcome to the Santa Maria Valley, where fine wine, famous barbecue, breathtaking beach dunes, abundant strawberries and small-town hospitality have earned us the title of “California’s Sweet Spot.” Nestled in the rolling hills of northern Santa Barbara County, the Santa Maria Valley is ideally located halfway between Los Angeles and San Francisco.

Where else but in California’s BBQ Capital would you find a barbecue exhibit inside a children’s museum? Indeed, that’s exactly what you’ll find at the Santa Maria Valley Discovery Museum, where interactive educational fun meets local flavor, particularly in the museum’s Bunkhouse and BBQ Hall of Fame exhibits. On August 21, the museum offers free admission, complimentary cake and presentations in honor of the birthday of R.H. Tesene, a rancher, Santa Maria style barbecue enthusiast and major donor to the museum. In the words of the Discovery Museum, “The Rancho Pasquini barn and bunkhouse is home to the R.H. Tesene BBQ Hall of Fame, with displays of dozens of family brands and the history of Santa Maria-style barbecue. Kids can put on a pair of cowboy boots and a hat and wander through our working barn filled with saddle parts, bits, belt buckles and ranching tools. Cowboys and cowgirls can take a ‘ride’ on a rocking horse and a real John Deere tractor, and then sit around the campfire to brew some coffee or cook up stone soup at the chuck wagon. And, of course, after working up an appetite at the Discovery Museum, you might as well take the entire family out for a meal at one of our local barbecue restaurants!

Enthusiasts for little British cars are making a big splash on September 25 – 27 as more than 150 Triumph cars and other British Marques flock to Santa Maria Valley for three days of auto rallies, driving events and autocross competition. Sponsored by The Southern California Triumph Owners Association (SCTOA), “Triumphest” involves five auto clubs from California and attracts other guests from far and wide. Stock cars, show cars, “barn finds” and modified marvels of all models and years will be represented. The event originated in 1986 in Pismo Beach, CA when a few Triumph sports car enthusiasts planned a get-together. Since then the event expanded into an annual extravaganza that attracts Truimph clubs from across the country. Other host cities in years past have included San Rafael, CA; Big Bear, CA; and Flagstaff, AZ. Also enthusiastic about Santa Maria’s famed Santa Maria Style Barbecue and wine country, Triumphest is organizing group dining outings, winery tours and shopping excursions.

Excitement seems to abound of late at the Santa Maria Valley Historical Society Museum. Last year it was the discovery of a cache of old letters written to and from President Abraham Lincoln, Ulysses S. Grant, General George Armstrong Custer and Henry Wadsworth Longfellow that was buried in the museum’s archives. This year it’s the premiere of “Antiques, Art & Americana,” a celebration of history, arts and unusual antiques taking place on November 1 from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. at the Historic Santa Maria Inn and at the nearby Santa Maria Valley Historical Society Museum. Tickets are $7 per person, and all profits will benefit the museum. The day will also include antiques appraisals by a professional appraiser; antique glass repair; sales of the museum’s duplicate vintage photographs; and a stuffed bear artisan who crafted bears for Annette Funicello’s personal collection. Vintage automobiles will be on hand to shuttle attendees the short distance between the Historic Santa Maria Inn and the Santa Maria Valley Historical Society Museum. The inn, which was frequented in the 1930s by Hollywood celebrities who were enroute to Hearst Castle, will also offer talks by a local historian known as the “Cemetery Queen,” as well as wine tasting and gourmet baked goods. Meanwhile the museum will feature free apple pie; a display of 19th-Century wedding gowns; a raffle; and Santa Maria Valley’s first fire engine.

“Heads up” has a whole different meaning in the sand dunes of Santa Maria Valley. Indeed, the region’s Guadalupe-Nipomo Dunes Center is intent on unearthing more sphinx heads (and bodies) that are 1920s Hollywood artifacts left in the nearby beach dunes. This educational visitor center already displays artifacts buried nearby after movie director Cecil B. DeMille finished filming his 1923 silent film, “The Ten Commandments,” there more than 90 years ago. The Dunes Center hopes to raise $15,000 by the end of 2014 in order to excavate more. The funds will supplement a recent $80,000 grant from the County of Santa Barbara. A speedy excavation is necessary to maintain the integrity of the artifacts before they fall victim to the elements. After spending so much time underground, any exposed plaster-of-Paris sphinxes are sensitive to the region’s salty air and turn to mush upon air exposure. Other exhibits at the Dunes Center include displays on the extraordinary biodiversity of the dunes; and a short film on the history of the “Dunites”—an “eclectic group of freethinkers, artists, poets and mystics” who inhabited the dunes from the early 1900s to 1973.


Santa Maria now has more high-end meats and cheeses are within reach thanks to the opening of Woody’s Butcher Block, a neighborhood meat market and deli providing premium products. Proprietor Tim Woodbury brings with him 28 years of experience in the food service industry and a love for top quality. He says he would rather be out of stock than provide an inferior product. Woody’s carries only meats selected from the top 20 percent best of the product. In addition to endless cuts of meat (including tri-tip of course!), artisan cheeses and specialty deli sandwiches, Woody’s offers a range of yummy provisions, including locally made spices and sauces by Cowboy Flavor and Monkey Spit. “Life happens around the kitchen table,” says Woody, and he wants patrons to make the most of it. Woody’s is located at 700 E. Main Street, Suite 104 in Santa Maria.

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