Sunday, May 10, 2015

Weekend Getaway in Santa Barbara

My posts haven't been as current as I'd like because this weekend trip to Santa Barbara happened three weeks ago. The end of the school year is right around the corner which means more work and less play. I'm also trying to get into an exercise routine (a constant struggle with me) so the time I usually spend working on the blog is now being spent on that. My apologies! But, without further ado...Our weekend in Santa Barbara:
On our drive up we took a quick detour so Chris could surf. That afternoon the waves were perfect, pumping out long barrel after long barrel. I get a little trigger shy when I'm photographing a surf spot that I don't know very well so I didn't take too many photos while we were there. But I was really impressed by all the locals and their dogs, everyone greeting each other and the dogs wandering peacefully off leash, often times alone, while their owners surfed. It was a friendly community and a great start to our mini-getaway. 
We stayed in a home found on airbnb, east of the 101, in a quiet residential neighborhood. When we arrived we unpacked, raided the fridge, and found booze. We filled glasses with vodka and Dr. Pepper and made a toast to Chris' 32nd birthday. That evening we walked to Santa Barbara's popular State St. and had beer and vegan brats (with a side of dill pickles, of course) at the Hoffman Brat Haus

That Saturday we did a lot of walking around town (with a nap thrown in the middle). My pedometer measured over 10 miles of walking! We walked to breakfast and then to the pier. We walked over to Santa Barbara's Funk Zone to visit Al Merrick's surf shop, Channel Islands Surfboards, which happened to be conveniently located next to the kunin wines tasting room, so we walked there, too. Then we actually drove to Carr Winery for last call before our dinner reservation at Mesa Verde, a plant-based Mediterranean restaurant with food to die for. With happy wine soaked bellies we devoured our food, went home, and watched Malcom in the Middle on Netflix in bed until we fell asleep.
Sunday morning began with a big breakfast from Savoy Cafe and Deli. We'd eaten there on Saturday and liked it so much we decided to go back for more. One of my favorite (but sometimes most difficult) aspects of traveling is seeing what kind of vegan food is available and luckily for us Santa Barbara had many tasty vegan options, Savoy Cafe being one of those wonderful finds.
Afterwards we walked over to the historic Santa Barbara Courthouse. It's by far the most beautiful courthouse I've seen in the U.S. with perfectly manicured grounds surrounding the Roman-style architecture for which Santa Barbara seems to have a fondness. The inside is all high ceilings, exposed beams, columns, arches, and colorful tile. The famous Mural Room was being restored when we visited so we couldn't see the massive painting that depicts the founding of Santa Barbara, which spans the entire perimeter of the large walls of the room. We did get to see the other paintings that were hung about the hallways and they reminded us of the paintings inside Pawnee City Hall from Parks and Recreation, just brimming with some of the awful events from Colonial times.
We ended our visit to Santa Barbara with a walk along State street where we happened upon La Arcada, a cute shopping district built in the 1920s, and Casa de la Guerra, a home built in the early 1800s where the Spanish commandant of the Santa Barbara Presidio, Jose de la Guerra y Noriega, lived with his family until 1858. The juxtaposition of this old adobe house and the Starbucks on the corner of the same street fascinates me, which is generally how I felt about Santa Barbara in general, a city with contrasting effects. Where the invisible rich live tucked away in the houses along the coast and the visible poor live on the streets. Where the official language is English yet the names of the streets and the city itself are all in Spanish. Where the land rises in the east to meet the Santa Ynez mountains and sinks in the west towards the Pacific ocean.
I really enjoyed Santa Barbara and there's still so much to discover in the city and the Urban Wine Trail to explore so I look forward to visiting again soon.
Have a nice week everyone!


Anonymous said...

Another interesting post!

Anonymous said...

Definitely interesting, and looks like a fun trip. Is the courthouse active? Maybe there is no crime there so they can keep their courthouse like a museum?

Anonymous said...

Great times in sb. Beautiful city, tasty wine, lots of walking, good selection of vegan food, epic waves, and best partner in crime to celebrate the occasion. Can't wait to go back! - C

Kallmen said...
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Kallmen said...

Looks like a great weekend. Taking the train might be fun too. An interesting tidbit that you probably already know....Al Merrick is one of Dave's favorite surf board designers and our sweet pup Merrick was named in his honor. I also had a lizard named Al but that's another story.