If your idea of a great vacation is a mix of culture, history and scenery, along with great food and a small town atmosphere, you will love Santa Barbara, California. I’ve created a photo story to show some of my favorite places to visit in Santa Barbara.
First stop is usually Chocolate Maya for some salted dark chocolate filled with caramel. I am going to have to call them and see if they can ship me some more a.s.a.p., because I’ve almost finished the stash I brought home with me.
An architectural and historical gem is the historic Santa Barbara County Courthouse. This is not, however, the original courthouse which was destroyed in an earthquake in 1925. If you look at the website for the courthouse, you’ll see that the current manifestation is vastly different (and in my opinion a big improvement). I prefer the Spanish style architecture. The courthouse was designated a National Historical Monumnent in 2005. The expansive lawn and outdoor gardens are also used as a venue for concerts and cultural events.
I recommend taking one of the docent tours. After doing some research on the courthouse, I discovered that there is much I have missed. And don’t forget to climb the tower for the breathtaking views of the city.
One of my favorite places is the Old Mission Santa Barbara. The location of the Mission, on a hillside with the Santa Ynez mountains in the background and lush gardens in the front, along with the fountain and twin bell towers, are perhaps why it is called The Queen of Missions. On a clear day you can see all the way to the ocean.
The Mission Santa Barbara is one of 21 missions built in California by Spanish Franciscan Friars. It is also one of the missions with an active parish. I took this photograph after a service during Fiesta Old Spanish Days weekend. Spanish heritage and culture are important part of civic life and are often celebrated in Santa Barbara.
Leaving the mission, head into the hills for a scenic drive. Ogle the million dollar plus homes and the million dollar views. You may need a massage from all the head-spinning scenery.
Drive toward the beach and the harbor where you can charter a fishing boat, go kayaking, take a tour of the Channel Islands, or a walk on the beach. Or simply sit outside sit and feast your eyes on the views. They don’t call it the American Riviera for nothing.
The City of Santa Barbara updates their website regularly. Check for events and activities at Stearns Wharf. October 13, 2012 is the 11th Annual Harbor and Seafood Festival. I’ve never attended but it sounds like fun. Flight Hub offers cheap flights to Santa Barbara and the surrounding area.
You may also enjoy a short travel essay, inspired by my recent trip there: Travel and Self Exploration.
15 W.Gutierrez St.
Old Mission Santa Barbara
2201 Laguna St.
Santa Barbara Courthouse
1100 Block Anacapa St.
All materials ©pennysadler2012