Friday, April 9, 2010

We Love Santa Barbara

CC walks along Stearns Wharf in Santa Barbara.

Wow, what a difference two hours makes. As I can't stop talking about, Ian, CC and I drove up to Santa Barbara for a couple of days this week, and it still amazes me how relaxed you can feel a mere two hours up the 101 from Los Angeles.

Santa Barbara is an easy trip, something we should really do more often. The town itself is adorable, pedestrian-friendly, and there's so much to offer. Shopping? Check. Beach-front fun? Check. Mountains? Check. Wineries? Check.

After we settled into our hotel on State Street, a little north of the happening part of the thoroughfare, we made our way down to the little shops that line both sides of the main street.

Both Ian and I got seriously great deals on items we had been looking for -- me a handbag, and Ian some kitchenware. I always love those kind of surprises.

Next, we headed down to the beach, where we first stopped at Rusty's Pizza Parlor (left) for a little grub. CC loved that it looked like a lighthouse and enjoyed the little arcade games inside.

After that, we crossed the street to Stearns Wharf, where we walked along the rustic wooden pier to people-watch and to see the shore from another perspective.

CC quickly found a large compass painted on one empty square and turned it into a running alphabet game. Run, run, run, "N!" Run, run, run, "W!" North, West, South and East have never been so fun. Then, of course, Mommy and Daddy had to play, too.

The next day was zoo time! Santa Barbara has a great zoo that's manageable and offers a lot more than just animals -- not that those aren't the main attractions.

While we caught glimpses of an Asian elephant, a Chinese alligator and a White-handed Gibbon, among other animals (The Bleeding Heart Pigeon was incredible!), CC was able to go kid crazy on the zoo's awesome playground.

There were purposefully cracked big plastic eggs, in which kids can crawl or just hang out. A big rope spider web was also fun. But the piece de resistance was the large anthill (below), which kids could climb onto and slide down on a slab of cardboard. CC did not want to leave.

We took it pretty easy in Santa Barbara. A colleague friend of mine had suggested we go up to Solvang to check out the dutch village town or to Los Olivos to explore more wineries, but we decided to just be lazy and stay in S.B.

We definitely want to hit Solvang this summer, though. It's only 45 minutes northeast of Santa Barbara and offers Danish pastries. What more could you possibly want?!

To make up for not going, though, we had brunch at a lovely Danish bakery/restaurant on State Street called The Andersens. So amazing! The place itself was quaint and European, offering almond marzipan butter rings, apple strudels and Danish butter cookies. (You can order those online here.) They also offered a full menu of sandwiches, steak and Scottish smoked salmon.

It was amazing, and yes, we'll be going back.


Florinda said...

Glad you had such a good time! My husband proposed to me on Stearns Wharf, so Santa Barbara is a special place for us :-). Love it there!

L.A. Story said...

That sounds so romantic, Florinda! Wow, how special. :) It's really amazing. Already want to go back.

Marcela said...

I love Santa Barbara.

I am planning a trip over there soon. My son is in 4th grade and has a mission project to do. He chose the Santa Barbara mission, so it's more than a perfect reason to head out there to do some learning.

L.A. Story said...

Love it, too, Marcela! And what a great project for your son!


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