This secluded burg may be the smallest of the towns in the region with only 467 residents, but is home to some of the greatest gems of the Santa Ynez Valley. Visit in the springtime to see a beautiful array of wildflowers and vineyards. Then come again in autumn to see where we’ve been hiding the county’s gorgeous fall colors.

Walk the streets of Ballard to see well-preserved historic homes and the town’s Old Country Chapel. Then wander down the road to find the picturesque Little Red Schoolhouse that has served local children since 1883, and is set against the Santa Ynez mountains. Or take a drive down Alamo Pintado toward the town of Solvang where you’ll find miniature horses begging to be photographed, lazily grazing in the fields.