WHERE THE MOUNTAINS MEET THE SEA. We decided to rent a Vespa on the ﬁ rst morning and head east to Carpinteria. From there we worked west to Goleta, passing through ﬁ ve coastal cities that make up The American Riviera®. On this particular day, the weather was stunning. The foothills provided for some amazing cruising with surprises around each switchback. It’s common to pull up to an ocean overlook where one can spot whales breaching far out at sea, while around the next turn, pull into a vast state park or pass a variety of hotels with a down-to-earth, welcoming vibe. EXPERIENCE SANTA BARBARA. In the heart of this region lies Santa Barbara – a culture and cuisine-conscious city with a unique architectural theme of gleaming white stucco and red tile roofs. Literally, as far as the eye can see. 5-STAR VACATION ON TWO WHEELS. As a journalist from Los Angeles, researching Santa Barbara is one of the best weekend assignments in the business. So, I accepted my task with a wide smile and a new idea. On this particular trip, I brought my signiﬁ cant other, but I left my car keys at home – vowing to avoid transportation of more than two wheels. Skateboards were exempt from this rule. And after arriving from a quick glide from L.A. to Santa Barbara via Amtrak, the adventure was on. Many travelers from overseas – and locals as well – ﬁ nd Santa Barbara to be one of America’s most “European” cities. The reasons are obvious. The sidewalks – not the streets – act as main thoroughfares, as do the bike lanes. The community is tightly knit and smartly designed with paseos and cafés tucked away along downtown’s State Street. And of course, there’s the architecture. But there’s one more very European characteristic about Santa Barbara: that’s the food and drink. SANTA BARBARA LIBATIONS & CUISINE. From noshing newbies to culinary connoisseurs, the ﬂ avors of The American Riviera® are bold and fresh for everyone. That’s because most of what you’ll eat and drink here was harvested here. The region beneﬁ ts from a Mediterranean climate and provides the area’s restaurants with an abundance of ﬁ rst-class produce, including lemons, avocados, ﬁ gs, fennel, melons, squashes, pears, persimmons, ﬁ nger limes, dragon fruit and more. As for me, the Santa Barbara Farmers Market was an authentic display of color, character and farming talent. Also of note was its eight-location weekly schedule with stops in neighboring Carpinteria, Goleta and Montecito. Finally, wine drinkers (like myself) won’t want to miss downtown’s Urban Wine Trail featuring more than 18 local wine purveyors. No wheels needed for that at all. HARD TO LEAVE. EASY TO COME BACK. Considering all there is to see and do in Santa Barbara, it’s surprising that everything about the destination can be summed up in one word – enchanting. Whether it’s families, couples or outdoor adventure seekers, the activities available here are both beautiful and bountiful. My two-wheeled theme led us to race on mountain bikes down dusty hillsides overlooking a Paciﬁ c expanse. We then shopped for hours, scouting Victoria Court for antiques, La Arcada for art and El Paseo for jewelry. And what we didn’t do, we’ll do next time. In fact, on my next visit, the plan is to dive deep into the art and music scene with a host of famous museums, theaters, galleries and live music venues. From every perspective, the Santa Barbara South Coast offers an experience unlike anywhere else. It’s ﬁ ve-star, yet stylishly casual and genuine. It’ll capture your heart and ﬁ ll your days with stories neither expected nor forgotten. Win a trip to Santa Barbara! Turn this article into a real-life experience for you and a guest. One lucky reader will receive a prize package valued at $4,000.00 that includes a stay at El Encanto and transportation by Uber. Enjoy the Ensemble Theatre Company and a stop at Lotusland, followed by a relaxing spa treatment at Salt Santa Barbara and leisurely shopping at La Cumbre Plaza. Dining, wine and special tour experiences provided by Wine Cask Restaurant, Grassini Family Vineyards, and Savor Santa Barbara Food Tours. Visit santabarbara.modernluxury.com to enter .