Monday, April 18, 2011

Loving Lemons...And Life In The Lemon Groves

Emily over at Splendid Market gave me the perfect hit of much needed sunshine with her post on citrus trees last week. I could almost smell the blossoms of a lemon grove.

My illustration

I love lemon trees. They bring to mind sunshine, sipping limoncello in Italy, John Singer Sargent's glorious watercolors of the Mediterranean and warm-weather vacations.

 John Singer Sargent, Villa de Marlia; A Fountain

One of my favorite getaways, Santa Barbara's San Ysidro Ranch, was once the San Ysidro Citrus Ranch, producing 100,000 lemons a year. The lemon trees still dot the property, perched just above Montecito in the foothills of the Santa Ynez mountains. When we visited last year, their blossom-scented fragrance filled the air. 

While it was still a citrus farm, the ranch welcomed it's first guests in 1893, but it wasn't until the 1930s when an actor and a former senator turned hotelier bought the place that it was transformed into the private haven and hideaway it is today.

It only takes a few steps around the property to understand why Vivien Leigh and Sir Laurence Olivier chose it to say their vows in 1940, as did Chris Martin and Gwyneth Paltrow decades later. Its hidden setting made it the perfect spot for John and Jacqueline Kennedy to spend their honeymoon in 1953.


The gardens couldn't be more lovely. 

The terrace of the Stonehouse Restaurant--once a citrus packing house--is the perfect spot to dine by candle and starlight and sip a Pinot Noir from the nearby Santa Ynez Valley. 

Care to relax away the afternoon by the pool? Or would you prefer a hike in the mountains? There are 17 miles of trails nearby...

You might find it tempting, though, not leave your vine-covered cottage. 


Hotel Images from San Ysidro Ranch 

One of the highlights from our stay was breakfast on the front porch, hidden away behind honeysuckle vines, the scent of citrus filling the air. I can't think of a better way to start the day.

Stella McCartney (Image from

Wish I was throwing this into a suitcase today to fly south for a few days of lemon-scented sunshine. But instead, I'll make do with dreams of warm days and citrus groves. (And perhaps a twist of lemon in my cocktail this evening!)

Happy Monday, all! Is there any place that you're dreaming of being this week?


  1. This gets me excited for summer. I love that picture with the pond. So lovely! I want to visit this place!

    - Sarah

  2. so pretty... anywhere with sunshine... have a great day friend...xo

  3. great post...I can almost smell the orange blossoms! Funny I have a post coming up, continuing on your yellow theme...

    Thank you for the nice mention!! ebh

  4. So many gorgeous images...the ranch looks amazing!!

  5. love my notes you sent...and love lemons. I recently read how a squeeze of lemon can aid in longevity. I love it on fish, on a salad or in a drink!
    cheers....looks like a dreamy spot to travel to.

  6. What a beautiful post! I'd love to spend a night (or more) in that heavenly suite...!! As a fellow northwester (Oregonian living in Munich right now) I thought I'd say hello - love your blog!



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