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A HIDDEN GEM: COLD SPRINGS TAVERN

April 18, 2013

Last weekend I took a quick weekend trip up to Ojai with one of my girls and it was a super fun weekend of relaxation, music and scenery.  My friend had a special surprise treat for me on Sunday and took me into the Santa Barbara hills for a fun afternoon at Cold Springs Tavern. I have a serious love for “off the beaten path” places and this one did not disappoint.  Located off of Hwy 154, the tavern was set up over 125 years ago as a stagecoach stop allowing long distance travelers to rest and enjoy a delicious meal.  In 1941, the tavern and its property were bought and Cold Springs Tavern still remains a great “rest stop” for travelers and locals in the area.  A bar with live blues, an outside area to eat and drink, and a quaint and delicious restaurant was all I needed to seal my love for this new discovery.  The historical moments that are on the grounds to explore include an old “Road Gang House” built by a Chinese road gang to stay in while building a toll road through the San Marcos pass in 1868.  Another point of interest is the Ojai jail that was built in 1873 placed to keep the other building company. Top it off with a tiny little shop of hand made things and a blog post was in order.

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A view from the tavern

The cute little shop was hosted by master beadworker Julia Pfeifer and her collection of amazing work. She has been designing in the field of micro-beading for over 25 years which is a craft that has been almost forgotten since the 1920’s.  Her work proves that history can remain in tact with each of her one of a kind collector’s pieces.  I was completely mesmerized by her work and she was such a lovely lady.

Outside of the shop

Outside of the shop

An example of her handmade bags with her beading

An example of her handmade bags with her beading

She takes vintage leathers and creates designs on them.

She takes vintage leathers and creates designs on them.

All of these squares connect to create a very special concho belt

All of these squares connect to create a very special concho belt

These are just crazy amazing

These are just crazy amazing

The scene of this historical enclave was special and felt like nothing had been touched in over 100 years.

Enjoying a margarita outside of the bar

Enjoying a margarita outside of the bar

The scene included cowboys, motorcycle riders, locals and musicians.

The scene included cowboys, motorcycle riders, locals and musicians.

A little denim fashion in the mix

A little denim inspiration in the mix;  I’m obsessed with these Discharge Bali flare leg jeans from Free People and I had to immediately buy a pair when I got home.  

Big Tom is set up every sunday outside selling his delicious tri tip sandwiches

Big Tom is set up every sunday outside selling his delicious tri tip sandwiches

The atmosphere

The atmosphere

My gal Lindsay Lohden who brought me to this special spot.

My gal Lindsay Lohden who brought me to this special spot.

The Ojai jail building

The Ojai jail building

The Chinese chain gang's quarters.

The Chinese chain gang’s quarters.

Signs of the chain gang.

Signs of the chain gang

An old building on the property

An old building on the property

Another moment outside of the bar

Another moment outside of the bar

The music was perfect for the environment and was part of what made the place so special.  A great blues band and a dance floor is all we need to let the good times roll and for the dancing to begin.

The Sky Ferguson Band a local band from Santa Barbara

The Sky Ferguson Band  from Santa Barbara

At the helm

At the helm

Quite a collection of harmonicas

Quite a collection of harmonicas

Strummin and Pickin

Strummin’ and Pickin’

Some cool cats

Some cool cats

I love some two stepping and twirling

 Two- stepping and twirling

After all the music and dancing was over, we headed to the tavern and had a delicious rustic dinner in the coziest environment.  Truly, I’m not sure if one thing has changed in this restaurant since it was built.  It completely reminded me of my family’s log cabin in Texas and I felt right at home.  The decor is so classic and every little piece hanging on the wall tells a story of the history of the place.

A giant fireplace when you enter

A giant fireplace when you enter

Our cozy table in the corner

Our cozy table in the corner

Hanging on the wall

Hanging on the wall

The rest of the tavern

The rest of the tavern

Another dining room

Another dining room

Native Americans are a big part of the history of Santa Barbara

Native Americans are a integral  part of the history of Santa Barbara

Cute and cozy and very country!

Cute and cozy and very country!

 

The day at Cold Springs Tavern was blissful and I didn’t want it to end.  We met some super fun ladies and all celebrated the day together with dancing and tequila.  What more could you want on a Sunday?  Play on, play on….

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Thanks to my girl Lindsay Lohden for the photography help.

Be sure and follow her @Lohdy on Instagram.

 

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