Update Regarding Schedule

Guests can arrive at the Crossroads Estate as early as 4:00 p.m.

We have arranged for a shuttle bus to pick up and drop off our wedding guests. The shuttle bus will leave the Marriott promptly at 3:40 p.m. and 4:15 p.m. You don't have to be staying at the Marriott to take the shuttle, so if you're staying at the Motel 6 or Quality Inn (or elsewhere) just head over to the Marriott for the shuttle. If you are going to be drinking, we strongly encourage you to use the shuttle bus (or arrange for a designated driver).

The ceremony will start precisely at 5:00 p.m., so try and be at the Crossroads Estate no later than 4:30 p.m.

The shuttle will be making trips back to the hotel at 9:30 p.m. and 10:00 p.m.

We're looking forward to seeing everyone!!!

Friday Night Barbecue - 4:30 to Sunset

To welcome everybody into town and kick off the wedding weekend, we'll be hosting a beach barbecue on Friday, September 12. The barbecue will start around 4:30 and will go on until sunset. It will be at the Meadows Area of El Capitan State Beach, which is about 30 miles north of Santa Barbara and is a 20 minute drive south of the hotels in Buellton, right off of the 101 freeway. If you're headed to El Capitan State Beach from the hotels, head south on the 101 freeway for 20 minutes and take the exit clearly marked El Capitan State Beach. Head towards the beach and down the hill. There is a guard gate and there is an $8 charge per car to get into the Beach (so carpool!). Head straight and then veer left once you come to the first parking lot. Once parked, walked south (away from the lifeguard tower and sandy beach) down the path towards the party. The barbecue will be very casual, right near the beach, and we'll be eating carne asada, grilled shrimp, and fish tacos, with beer, wine and soda. Everyone is welcome, so if you're in town on Friday strap on some sandals and swing by. If you are interested in making a day at the beach out of it, there is a nice little sandy beach with a lifeguard tower where people swim and sunbathe.

The Important Details

Our wedding will take place on September 13, 2008, at the Firestone Winery's Crossroads Estate. The Firestone Winery is located in Los Olivos, California, with the tasting room located at 5000 Zaca Station Road, Los Olivos, California 93441. The Crossroads Estate is a private home located across the way from Firestone's main tasting room. Directions will be provided with the invitations.

Guests are asked to be there by 4:30 p.m., with the ceremony to begin promptly at 5:00 p.m. beneath the "two oaks" area. A cocktail reception will follow in the "three oaks" area, with drinks, appetizers and games for the kids and the young at heart. Dinner will begin around 6:00 p.m. in the pole barn, with dancing and drinks to follow.

Regarding transportation to the ceremony, we have arranged for a shuttle bus to make two trips to the Crossroads Estate from the Marriott in Buellton. If you are staying at the Motel 6 or Quality Inn just walk right next door to the Marriott to hop the bus. The bus will leave promptly at 3:40 p.m. and 4:15 p.m. We encourage everyone to try and take the early bus so they can spend more time enjoying the Crossroads Estate. The bus will also shuttle guests back home, with the first trip at 9:30 p.m. and the second trip at 10:00 p.m., which is when we need to clear out of the venue.

Regarding hotels, we booked a block of rooms at the Buellton Marriott. Many guests are aso staying at the Motel 6 and Quality Inn, both of which are next door to the Marriott in Buellton. See the post below for more details about the hotels. Regarding a registery, we are registered at Crate & Barrel and The Pottery Barn.

The evening before the wedding we'll be hosting a welcome reception for out-of-town guests and the wedding party. Check the post above for more information regarding the Friday night barbecue. Also, we'll be having a Sunday brunch the morning after the wedding at the Marriott in Buellton from 9 until 12 noon. Just show up at the Marriott (if you're not already staying there) and ask them where the Kelly/Joe wedding brunch is and they'll show you the way. We think it will be held at the Starting Gate Patio.

The Firestone Crossroads Estate

The Firestone Crossroads Estate is the private home of the Firestone Family.  Harvey Firestone was the founder of the Firestone Tire and Rubber Company, and his success enabled his heirs to expand well beyond the tire business.  In 1972 Harvey's son Leonard, a former ambassador to Belgium, established a family ranch in the Santa Ynez Valley, and along with his son Brooks established the region as one of the preeminent wine regions of California.  

Vineyards in the Santa Ynez Valley benefit from the east-to-west orientation of the surrounding mountain ranges, which serves to extend the growing season and encourage the development of balanced and flavorful grapes.  The Crossroads Estate has an alternating climate of warm afternoons followed by cooler coastal evenings.  Temperatures will be hot in the afternoon, but will quickly cool down as the evening approaches.

Today Firestone Vineyards is in its third-generation of wine growers and is regarded as one of the finest estate wineries in California.  The Crossroads Estate is still maintained as a private residence, but finds itself host to many private events on the property, with the centerpiece of those events revolving around the oak trees in the meadow and a rustic pole barn located adjacent to the main house.  

After visiting the home we were blown away by the possibilities of the location, and we can't wait to exchange vows beneath the oak trees with our family and friends present.  We hope everyone enjoys the Crossroads Estate as much as we do.  

For more information on the location, please visit www.firestonewine.com

How to Get There and Where to Stay When You Arrive

In considering what airport to arrive at, the Santa Barbara Airport (SBA) is the most convenient and is a short thirty to forty minute drive away. A second and perhaps more affordable option is the Los Angeles International (LAX) airport. Los Angeles is two and one half hours by car from Los Olivos. Additional airport options include the Burbank and Ontario airports, which are also about two and one half hours from Santa Barbara.

Regarding hotels, we recently booked a block of rooms at the the Santa Ynez Valley Marriott in Buellton. Room rates are $179 per night, with a two-night stay requirement. The website is http://www.santaynezhotels.com/. Unfortunately the Marriott has a limited number of rooms available. When booking a room at the Marriott, please mention the Tran/Kaufman Wedding, and that should get you the group rate.

Several hotels nearby offer more affordable room rates. The Motel 6 in Buellton is right next door to the Marriot and offers rooms for as low as $91.19. They do not allow blocks of rooms, but their rates are some of the least expensive in town and they currently have in excess of 40 rooms available. And, we've been told there is no two-night stay requirement. Quite a few guests have already made reservations at the Motel 6. Another option is the Quality Inn in Buellton, which offers room rates as low as $116.95 with an AARP or AAA membership.

Finally, if you've got some extra cash on hand and want to go all out, there's always the Bacara Resort and Spa down the road towards Santa Barbara. See the post below for more details.

We encourage everyone to make your hotel reservations early, as the wedding is taking place during the high season for the Santa Ynez Valley wineries.

What to Do In The Area

Los Olivos is approximately two and one half hours by car north of Los Angeles, and approximately four and one half hours by car south of San Francisco.  While the drives might be far, if you have time both cities have tons to offer.

The closest city to Los Olivos is Santa Barbara, which is approximately thirty minutes south by car on the 101 freeway.  Santa Barbara is a year-round tourist destination known for its "Mediterranean" climate, downtown beaches, and Spanish architecture.   The Santa Barbara Mission is regarded as one of the finest examples of the Spanish Franciscan missions in California.  For more information, check out www.sbmission.org.  Another popular destination in Santa Barbara is State Street.  With stores and restaurants lining State Street, it is a popular place to walk and shop.  Other Santa Barbara destinations of note are the Santa Barbara Botanic Garden (www.sbbg.org) and the Santa Barbara Zoo (www.santabarbarazoo.org).  

If you're looking to spend some time playing in the surf, www.santabarbara.com/activities/beaches/ is a great resource on the local beaches.  The water might be cold, but the beaches are amazing.

If you're looking to be pampered and don't mind shelling out some money, one of the most beautiful spa resorts in California is located just north of Santa Barbara.  Bacara Resort is located on seventy-eight acres of oceanfront property and is worth checking out if only for the views.  For more information, Bacara's website is www.bacararesort.com.

Smaller towns near Los Olivos include Solvang and Buellton.  Solvang is unique in that it is a Danish village oddly transplanted to the middle of California.  Check out www.solvangusa.com for more information.  For those who are fond of the California tradition of gambling on Indian reservations, the Santa Ynez Band of Chumash Indians has a casino located just east of Solvang.  Their website, www.chumashcasino.com, has all the details.  Buellton is a tiny town nearby, and if you are a fan of Quentin Tarentino's movie Deathproof, the final chase scene where Kurt Russell was finally taken down was filmed in Buellton.   (www.wikipedia.org/wiki/Buellton,_California)

Regarding fine dining in the area, if you've seen the movie Sideways you're no doubt familiar with the Hitching Post.  The Hitching Post is the best example around of California BBQ, and in Joe's opinion, is the best steakhouse in California.  It's incredible food in an informal setting.  Due to the popularity caused by Sideways, reservations are required.  For more information, check out www.hitchingpost2.com.

The most popular activity in the Santa Ynez Valley is of course wine tasting.  The Santa Ynez Valley Visitors Association has a thorough listing of wineries at www.syvva.com.  One of our favorite wineries, apart from Firestone of course, is Rusack Vineyards on Ballard Canyon Road.  More information about Rusack can be found at www.rusack.com.

If you've got some time to spare, the area is amazing and presents countless opportunities for sightseeing.  We hope during the busy weekend you'll find time to enjoy to area, but if you don't, you can always come back for a second visit and we can be your tour guides!