Aspire To Inspire

A HIDDEN GEM: COLD SPRINGS TAVERN

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.

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Outside of the shop

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An example of her handmade bags with her beading

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She takes vintage leathers and creates designs on them.

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

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These are just crazy amazing

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

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Enjoying a margarita outside of the bar

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

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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.  

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

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The atmosphere

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

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The Ojai jail building

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The Chinese chain gang’s quarters.

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Signs of the chain gang

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An old building on the property

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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.

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The Sky Ferguson Band  from Santa Barbara

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At the helm

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Quite a collection of harmonicas

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Strummin’ and Pickin’

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Some cool cats

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 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.

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A giant fireplace when you enter

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Our cozy table in the corner

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Hanging on the wall

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The rest of the tavern

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Another dining room

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

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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.

 

1,837 Comments

  1. Poliana

    Overall RatingFoodServiceAtmospherePrice/ValueRomanceSuitable for ChildrenBe Sure to Try: The rolls.General tips: Dinner is a character meal and thgoruhout our meal, we were visited by Pluto, Goofy, Chip and Dale, and Minnie. Some of the characters came by more than once.TheMouseForLess tips: If you have a DDE card use it.Extra Comments: We had a Priority Seating (PS) for 8:35. We were about 40minutes early, but the Cast Member checked us in and handed me a beeper and told us to go inside and wait. We found a place to sit down which was very difficult as the waiting area was very crowded. We waited and waited and waited. We saw several groups that came in after us being called and seated d0 large groups even. I checked and was told 10 more minutes on two separate occasions. We were a party of two and as I later came to find out, there are very few parties of two that come to dine at the Liberty Tree Tavern. Also, it doesnd5t pay to be early for a PS at least it sure didnd5t for us as we were not called to be seated until nearly 8:45. We were seated at a very small table for two against the wall. We were seated for nearly 15 minutes before we were even approached by our server who said he would be right with us. At that point, we probably should have gotten up and walked out. After five more minutes, Raymond came to take our drink orders. He did tell us that he was having problems with the computer which, in my opinion, was not a good enough excuse to let us sit at our table for so long without even coming by to greet us or have someone else greet us. He finally came back with our drinks and then told us he would be back with our salad. The character dinner at LTT is the same for everyone. Why he didnd5t bring the salad with our drinks is really strange because all he did was make more work for himself. I saw the other servers bring salad with the other guests’ beverages. The salad dressing was quite tasty and the rolls with honey butter were very good. Spectromagic was starting at 9:00 and had made its way outside the LTT around 9:15 and I could make out some of the floats through the hand-made’ panes of glass in the windows. Our table was so small that when Raymond brought out our platter of turkey and ham and beef, Bob and I each had nearly one-third of our plates hanging off the edge of the table. It is truly a miracle that we did not end up with them on our laps. I have to say that the Mashed Potatoes was the best part of this meal besides the rolls. The beef was horribly dry and the ham was less than desirable. The turkey was okay, but not what I had imagined. It was more of a turkey roll turkey breast. After having the great green beans at the Tusker House, these were barely edible. I have to say that Raymond was one of the worst servers I have ever encountered at WDW. I could have probably died of thirst before he finally brought me a refill on my Diet Coke. When he finally returned to clear away our main dish plates and bowls, he told us that the cobbler for that night was Cherry. When Raymond finally brought our check to us at 10:00 and not only was I disappointed in our meal, the service we had received and the horrible table we had been seated at, I had to miss the beginning of Wishes and Bob was really upset at that point. If nothing else, I have learned to tell all the servers that we have dealt with that I have a Disney Dining Experience (DDE) card from the very beginning so we dond5t have to deal with a receipt being run twice. We were able to use the DDE card at the LTT and did receive a discount of $10.05 on our meals.After we were seated, there were two other couples seated in our area and neither one of these couples had to deal with being seated at such a small table. I honestly doubt that I will ever be able to get Bob to dine her again. If I were to dine here again, I would have to make a PS for a party of at least 3 and I hate to lie about my party size, but it was truly ridiculous that we were seated at such a small table and had to wait so long for a table for two.

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