Road Trip: Santa Barbara

I can’t say enough about how much I enjoy the central California coastline. For me, this starts at the city of Santa Barbara. I know, it’s technically in Southern California as evidenced by it’s warnings of severe drought conditions in shop windows, but for me it’s the beginning of one of the best parts of the state.

I have lots of good memories of Santa Barbara going back to high school when I was looking at UCSB for school. Mom really wanted me to go there, and in hindsight, probably would have been a better school for what I was interested in studying, but I wouldn’t change my UCD experience and the friends I met there for anything.

It’s been over 8 years since Susie lived in Santa Barbara – when she did it was always fun to go meet up with her, and even when she visited again over the years, it was nice to get away. These days, my visits to Santa Babs as I love to call it, is just passing through to my other favorite town, Morro Bay, or like today’s trip, a quick day trip with my Grandma and Aunt.

Our last trip together was 4 years ago and I knew I wanted to take them up there again before too long since Grandma’s mobility isn’t getting any better. We had perfect timing as we left just as morning rush hour was ending and actually made it from the SGV to Santa Barbara in less time than it took us a few weeks ago to go from my apartment to Carlsbad (near San Diego). Amazing. I’ll take the trip to SB any time!

We don’t do much when we are there, we only spent about three hours mainly walking the shops on State Street and enjoying a French Dip for lunch. The weather was just a hair warm over perfect, but still in the very enjoyable stage. A great time was had by all, and despite taking 2.5 hours to get home, well worth it!

If you find yourself in Santa Barbara, here are some of the things to check out:
The annual Fiesta Heritage Parade (it’s this weekend in 2014!)
Stearns Wharf
The Arts and Crafts Show (every Sunday along the waterfront)
UCSB – It’s a lovely campus just north of SB in Goleta
Lake Cachuma – Over the hill via CA-154, it’s nice and scenic despite record low levels currently
Cold Springs Tavern – An old stagecoach stop over the Cuesta Grade on the way to Lake Cachuma – great food and neat atmosphere. Huell recommends it!
Shops on State Street – Some local, some chain stores, but a great stroll and lots of restaurants to boot.

If you are staying in the area for awhile, be sure to stalk Oprah in Montecito or venture northward to Buellton, Solvang, and even further north to Pismo Beach, San Luis Obispo, and Morro Bay.