My wife Misa and I love to travel the world together. It’s not only a relief from the daily anxieties life presents but allows us to capture the beauty and nature of Earth while discovering foreign foods, luxury lifestyle amenities for couples on the go, and diverse individuals along the path. Since it was our 10-year anniversary this past June 12th, we felt like a quick exploration to Santa Barbara, CA would suit us just fine. For us, quick and easy is always the best route since we have two kids to come back to. So a 3-day escape to the Sunkist State was justifiably relieving and authentically romantic.
We began the long journey from Washington Dulles airport on a direct, first class United Airlines (UA) flight to LAX. I’ve always felt spiritual when traveling high in the sky. This is a time of peace and serenity without the worries of incoming emails or ringing phones. As a Global Services member and million mile flyer for UA they ascertain all needs are honored effectively and respectively. Misa studied the Belmond El Encanto resort where we would be laying our heads for the next two nights while I focused my attention on the 2015 Lincoln MKC luxury crossover vehicle which would be utilized as our land transport. At LAX we connected on a short 20-minute shuttle flight to Santa Barbara.
Upon landing, our Silver chariot was awaiting for a spirited 30-minute escort to the Forbes Five-Star El Encanto which sits atop the Santa Barbara hills overlooking the Pacific Ocean. The ride was not only comfortable, but enjoyable for the overall anniversary lifestyle experience. Tucked away from the general population, the resort is a safe haven for those looking for privacy, serenity and impeccable hospitality. The design ethos of our quarters was reminiscent of a luxury condo for two featuring a fireplace to keep us warm during chilly California evenings. Raw veggies, hummus, organic fruits, a couples massage and herbal tea was the recipe for pure relaxation before dinner at the Santa Barbara Art Foundry and Frogman Signature Gallery in the “Funk Zone” neighborhood of Santa Barbara.
While walking up to the MKC we discovered Approach Detection which displays illuminated Lincoln logos onto the ground when an individual with a key fob is within eight feet of the vehicle. Concurrently, accent lighting shines from the door handles and the interior. This enlightening technology certainly put a warm smile on our faces. At the Art Foundry, where skilled artisans transform molten bronze into beautiful sculptures, Lincoln MKC Exterior Designer Dillon Blanski presented the dinner audience with his vision for the manifestation of their small premium utility. The MKC’s curvilinear shape is attractive and commingled with a prominent, split-winged grille that flows into HID headlamps, striking 20” polished aluminum rims (18 and 19 inchers available), LED rear lights, a wraparound tailgate, dual exhaust tips and a panoramic Vista Roof.
The next morning I arose at 5 am and hit the hills for an intense 4-mile run. Of course my metabolism was burning incessantly so driving all day in a new luxury vehicle was accomplished without a qualm. Wifey and I packed the itinerary with sightseeing and touristy activities along the 100-mile drive route. First up was Clairmont Lavender Farm in the Santa Ynez Valley in Los Olivos. Getting there was accomplished effortlessly with the MKC’s turbocharged 2.3-liter EcoBoost I4 engine that churns out 285-horsepower and 305 lb-ft of torque. I was able to control the power through the paddle shifters on the all-new multifunction steering wheel covered in Wollsdorf leather. The other power option is a 2.0-liter EcoBoost I4 with 240-horsepower which is paired with the same six-speed SelectShift automatic transmission as the 2.3-liter.
Our lungs inhaled purity once we arrived to the five-acre farm of Grosso Organic Lavender which is known for its healing properties. At Clairmont, the family-owned operation harvests with the customary technique of cutting by hand, banding and hanging the bunches, and also with a Japanese tea plucking machine. The lavender fields are as picturesque as a postcard and the 300-year-old oak trees are simply majestic. Misa went shopping for oils at their boutique so the hands-free variant of the MKC’s tailgate proved worthy since her hands were full of lavender creations. All she had to do was wave a foot under the bumper and voila, the tailgate opened magically.
Next we inputted the navigation with the address of the Olive Hill Farm Tasting Room also in Los Olivos. Misa tinkered with the technological, but friendly cabin featuring open-pore wood trim, door panel stitching and a 14-speaker THX II Certified Audio System that was divine for my Bob Marley listening session. We popped in the farm for a few minutes before heading out to dine at the remarkable Adama Vegan Comfort Food Restaurant for lunch. Their jackfruit tacos are a must have on every visit. Here is where we tested Active Park Assist with Park Out Assist. The system uses ultrasonic sensors to engage the steering accurately while the driver continues operating the gas and brake pedals. Afterward we hightailed it to the Santa Barbara Polo & Racquet Club since we were behind schedule. The MKC is laden with technologies that assure safety and overall comfort while moving at top speed. AWD, Electric Power Assisted Steering, Continuously Controlled Damping, Lane-Keeping System, Adaptive Cruise Control and Rear View Camera are just a few of the latest developments for the premium American SUV. The polo match was relaxing and the perfect ending to a magnificent day.
Back at El Encanto, we took a walk in the gardens and then dipped ourselves in the lavish infinity-edge swimming pool while gazing at the Pacific and absorbing vitamin D from the sun. Misa and I were all dialed in to our 10 years of happiness and appreciative of the traveling accoutrements provided. “The Lincoln MKC was designed to capture the attention of a worldwide audience,” said Matt Van Dyke, director, Global Lincoln. “Spirited, stylish and smart, it truly is one of the most exciting new products from Lincoln in years.” I couldn’t agree more. Job well done Lincoln!
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