One of the most fascinating works of nature is fast approaching. It’s the yearly migration of thousands upon thousands of monarch butterflies which gather amongst the beautiful blue eucalyptus trees of the magnificent Ellwood Park to find their mates. This is a spectacular event which occurs between November through March and is an easy 20 minute drive from the Cheshire Cat Inn. Located in the Ellwood Preserve, you can see these beautiful creatures hanging in clusters resembling bunches of grapes and dancing about in the late morning hours. It is a feast for the senses to see their fantastic colors and feel their soft fluttering motion – be careful not to touch them though as the oil from your skin can damage their wings.
A very popular pastime with Santa Barbara’s, Christine Dunstan owner of the Cheshire Cat Inn, suggests spending the day enjoying the entire park which not only includes the Butterfly Preserve but also Ellwood Bluffs and Ellwood Beach. After a breakfast of cereals, fresh fruit, tasty homemade scones and the signature hot dish of the day, you embark on your day of discovery. Easy directions are given out by our knowledgeable Innkeepers guiding you to the entrance of the park. From there, meander through the grand forest of trees which house the butterflies to the flora and fauna of the pasture land ahead. Trails abound which entertain dog walkers, families and college students alike and culminate at the rugged bluffs and exquisite beach below; a perfect time to have a picnic lunch. The South Coast Deli, voted the best sandwich shop in Santa Barbara and only 2 blocks from the Cheshire Cat Inn, offers yummy “sammies’ to go such as roast beef with horseradish or a chicken chipotle club. Relax and watch the ocean tide but don’t be too late to miss the wine and hors’ doeuvres hour from 5-6pm back at the Inn. Chilled white Chardonnay alternating with Sauvignon Blanc, both from our local Santa Ynez Valley region is poured by our resident Innkeeper who offers restaurant choices for the evening ahead. Enjoy easy conversation while chatting with other guests who share their day’s adventures and the ones ahead. You might want to keep your day out a secret though so as to preserve Ellwood Park as one of Santa Barbara’s hidden treasures! A perfect ending to a fabulous day.
We look forward to seeing you soon and hope you will be able to delight in the truly magical experience of the Butterfly’s annual pilgrimage.