Cold Spring Tavern

Departing Solvang via Hwy 154, and driving past Lake Cachuma, I then turned onto Stagecoach Road, en route to the Cold Spring Tavern. They currently have limited hours due to the Coronavirus situation, so I arrived just before their 11:30am opening time on a Thursday. I’m glad I got there early as I could wander around by myself, and was the first person seated. I chose a very remote table on an upper patio. I’ve not eaten out at a restaurant since February, and was therefore a bit anxious until I saw how alone I would be! My waiter, and all the other staff, wore face masks. I relaxed, placed my order, sat back and enjoyed the serene setting.

My lunch was delicious, but turns out I had lunch guests! A group of birds that I thought were Blue Jays, joined me. When I chatted with my waiter about the very curious birds, he told me they’re actually not Blue Jays. I think he said they’re Steller Jays and in doing a bit of research, that seems correct due to the tuft of feathers on top of their heads. Very cute, but very bold. Once I left my table, a dozen or more swooped in, trying to grab what they could before the waiter returned! My pictures are mostly lousy, with the sharpest one being taken by my iPhone rather than the Nikon. Go figure!

I always chuckle a bit when thinking about being in a historic spot such as this. For those in Europe or other parts of the world with buildings hundreds, or thousands of years old, this building may seem like nothing… but to think a wooden building is still standing, with our climate, is truly amazing! I highly recommend a visit to Cold Spring Tavern if you’re ever in the Santa Barbara or Solvang area. I’ll certainly be returning! ~SueBee


From the Cold Spring Tavern website:


What is now the Cold Spring Tavern began operating as a stagecoach stop in 1868.   The original structure is believed to have been built in 1860 and included the Long Room, RV Room and Kitchen.  Ownership of the Tavern during the early years is not well documented.  Records indicate the Doulton family purchased 160 acres, including the Tavern, for $10 in 1900.  The Doulton’s  transferred  ownership in 1907 to the Miramar Corporation, which went bankrupt and lost the mortgage in 1934. Caretakers, Mr. and Mrs. Green, oversaw the property until early 1941.

Adelaide Ovington, a former actress and writer, purchased 40 acres surrounding the Tavern in 1941 for $2,000.  She said “I want to buy that door and whatever comes with it!”   She was also the wife of Earle Ovington, a Santa Barbara aviation pioneer and the first United States airmail pilot.  Adelaide ran the Tavern alongside her daughter, Audrey Ovington, until her death in 1972.  Audrey, a legendary personality and writer, was the sole proprietor until her death in 2005.  Wayne and Joy Ovington Wilson, third generation and current owners, take pride in maintaining the Tavern in its historical state.

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Categories: Historic Sites, Photography


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2 Comments on “Cold Spring Tavern”

  1. Sep 19, 2020 at 3:06 pm #

    It looks quite old to me. Very picturesque.

    • Sep 20, 2020 at 9:23 am #

      The one building looks like it’s sliding down the hill… I’m not sure how they’re going to keep that from happening! It was a beautiful setting; nice getaway.

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