Santa Maria, CA
Santa Maria is a city in Santa Barbara County, in Southern California. It is approximately 120 miles (190km) northwest of Los Angeles (city limits). The 2012 population was 101,459, putting it ahead of Santa Barbara (the county seat) for the first time and making it the largest city in the county. The estimated population of the area is 171,227, which includes Santa Maria, the city of Guadalupe and the unincorporated township of Orcutt. The city is notable for its wine industry and Santa Maria-style barbecue. Sunset Magazine called Santa Maria "The Wests Best BBQ Town. The Santa Maria Valley, stretching from the Santa Lucia Mountains toward the Pacific Ocean, was the homeland of the Chumash people for several thousand years. These now nearly vanished Native Americans made their homes on the slopes of the surrounding hills among the oaks, on the banks of the Santa Maria River among the sycamores, and along the coast. They had a unique plank-built boats, called Tomol, which they used for ocean fishing.