Help us find the Valley's best scenes

If you're reading this, you already know what a special place the Santa Ynez Valley really is.

People choose to live here for a reason. Maybe it's the slower pace. Perhaps it's the wine. You might even be a drawn to the giant clog in front of the shoe store in downtown Solvang.

Whatever brought you here probably is keeping you here. Call it being in love with the place.

The photograph accompanying this story is the first of a series we'll be publishing, showing our favorite places in the valley.

Valley News staffers will take photos of their most cherished spots as they go about their daily routines. When we find a scene we really like, one that makes us stop for a moment to enjoy the reasons we came to the Valley in the first place, we'll put it in the paper.

Today's photo was taken a few days ago by Lifestyle editor Pamela Dozois. It could be any one of dozens of beautiful locations in the Valley, but it happens to be along Alamo Pintado between Solvang and Los Olivos, a short stretch of road that offers more visual relief and stimulation than you're likely find in many trips across entire states in other areas of America.

OK, maybe so much bragging about how beautiful the Santa Ynez Valley is crossing the line a little. But it's our line, and we'll cross it if and when we want.

You can cross that line, too. We want to share this favorite-scene photo display with our readers. Just send us your favorite shot, either as a finished print or in digital form, and we'll consider it for publication.

Color would be best -- because that's part of what makes local scenes so powerfully compelling -- but extraordinary black-and-white photos will also be considered. You can send your photo in the mail, drop it by the Valley News office, 423 Second St. in Solvang, or send via e-mail to: jlankford@pulitzer.net. We'll return the photos, if possible.

With any luck, this series of Valley Scenes will be so beautiful that we can collect them into a coffee-table book, make millions and move to paradise.

What a minute, we already live in paradise -- and we have the photos to prove it.

November 11, 2004

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