In an effort to get to know our adopted state better this year, Dan and I kicked off the first holiday weekend of 2015 with a trip to sunny Santa Barbara. Admittedly, I may have derived my primary excitement for this trip based on my hope that I might run into one of the characters from “Psych.” I had pictured it as a large, sprawling metropolis — the kind that certainly has enough crime to fuel the story line of a weekly show, but the type of city where you still feel safe. I was surprised to learn that Santa Barbara’s population is less than 100,000. Sprawling, yes, but perhaps not as crime-ridden as I had thought based on nothing but a television show. No (recognized) famous person sightings, but an overall fantastic little getaway.
For someone who isn’t overly fond of cold weather, temperatures that hit the mid-70s with sunny blue skies reflecting into blue water in early January are my type of “winter blues.”
We spent all day Saturday walking the trails alongside the beach, strolling along the wooden boardwalk, cantering up and down the main downtown drag on State Street, and back again to the beach.
(Have I mentioned my love of beaches? If not, now is a good time. I have an extremely high tolerance for sitting on the beach and doing nothing. Extremely high.)
Although we broke up the afternoon with smoothies and a little late afternoon happy hour, we truly spent most of the day meandering around sweet little Santa Barbara. Depending on whose phone pedometer you believe, we walked between 14 and 16 miles on our first day in Southern California.
A wee bit fatigued from our ambitious first day, we took it easier on day two, starting with a tour of the Old Mission Santa Barbara. Mission Santa Barbara was the tenth mission established in California by the Spanish Franciscans, built in 1786, and still actively used today.
Noticing the scenic drive arrow just past the Old Mission, we opted for a little drive into the Santa Barbara hills where I futilely checked Zillow for any potential rental listings, imaging myself living in the hills of Santa Barbara with a beautiful view of both the mountains and the ocean.
We also explored the gorgeous Town Hall and the original Spanish Presidio, established by the Spanish from Mexico in the late 1700s (both are located near downtown).
After a late lunch at a cafe on State Street, we headed home. The drive home through the mountains and along the coast was gorgeous, making us glad to have made the decision to leave Santa Barbara during the daylight hours, as hard as it was to pull ourselves away from that beautiful beach. This really is a fun and diverse state and we’re excited to be getting to know it better.