Could there be a more lovely setting, and a greater feeling of material comfort? Guess we’ll find out as we see more of the coastal paradise cities along the Pacific. But Santa Barbara must rate right up there.
Our view of the town started with its humble beginnings as a mission. The Mission of Santa Barbara has been continuously maintained by the Franciscans since 1786. In fact, a real one met us at the door. He naturally wanted to talk about New York, since he had gone to Columbia, but we’re used to that.
It is a beautiful place, if you can get past the premise that 10,000 Indians needed to be saved and to build a church and mission. But once you are past that, it’s smooth sailing and you appreciate their hard work and dedication, not to mention the gorgeous gardens.
And just down the road is the Santa Barbara Botanical Garden, which features all native California plantings. The best part was the wonderful meadow, full of California poppies and rare yellow lupine. Add to that cactus in bloom, youngish redwoods, and a bit of wildlife. It was all just splendid to see on this lovely day.
Time for lunch? It was off to the harbor and to the famous Endless Summer Cafe, familiar to all you surfer fans of the 60’s. We of course fit right in, and it was fun to see the original photo that spawned the iconic poster, and the amazing view of the harbor.
Next, the unbelievable Santa Barbara County Court House. Just compare this to your local facilities, and remember to see if yours has a bell tower with a view, while you are at it. Also note that the local Indians were considered quite enlightened here, which I guess means they saw the writing on the wall very quickly.
All that remained was the Santa Barbara Museum of Art, which had lots of photo restrictions, but lots of nice stuff. Bet they get a lot of legacies here.
Tonight we strolled through the farmers’ market, and various points on State Street. You are reminded you are in California, and not just by the lovely produce. Note the Relaxing Station, which would seem to be quite unnecessary. Everyone here – especially the homeless – already seems quite relaxed, and everything visual here is quite well-curated. Even our Holiday Inn Express is an historic old hotel, renewed.
This is the kind of place you think just exists in movies. It’s a lovely fantasy…