Point Concepcion Lighthouse

THE POINT

Jutting out into the Pacific Ocean, Point Conception is situated about halfway between San Francisco and San Diego in southwestern Santa Barbara County, California. At the south tip of the Point, the Santa Barbara Channel meets the Pacific Ocean, and as the corner between the mostly north-south trending portion of the coast to the north, and the east-west trending part of the coast near Santa Barbara, it makes a natural division between Southern and Central California. Two climates and various oceanic currents converge at Point Conception, making it truly a unique place.

As a result of the way it juts southward into the Santa Barbara Channel, Point Conception is the only place in the contiguous United States where the sun can be seen to rise and set over the Pacific Ocean. It is the headland of our unique west-east transverse valleys that channel maritime influence into the vineyards, creating a cool and long growing season.

Mariners have tried to conquer Point Conception for hundreds of years. In the days of Spanish exploration, Juan Rodríguez Cabrillo sailed along the California coast in search for glory and gold. On October 18, 1542, he encountered heavy winds and rough seas upon rounding the Point and was forced to turn back to San Miguel Island where he then died. The Point was named Punta de la Limpia Concepción by Sebastián Vizcaíno in 1602, who was the next Spanish sailor to venture the Pacific waters along the California coast after Juan Cabrillo. The 1835 experience of the sailing ship Pilgrim, which was damaged and nearly capsized in a sudden change of weather here, is typical of boaters even today.

Today, Point Conception is still a rugged, exciting and invigorating place. Full of energy, topped by a remote lighthouse to caution the sailors of today, it is a reminder of nature and the need to co-exist rather than try to conquer. It is our reminder of the unique characteristics of the Central Coast and that a sense of place should shine forth in all items enjoyed at the table.