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Category: Santa Barbara

hiking

It’s summer and Santa Barbara is filled with events, visitors, and great sites.  One of my favorite things to do during the summer (well, all year round) is hiking.  Santa Barbara has hiking trails of all levels.  One of my favorites leads you up to Inspiration Point.  The trailhead is found off of Foothill Road in the northern part of the city.  It starts off with a narrow paved walkway, and up into a trail shaded by trees.  In the middle of the hike, there is a great creek to stop off at and enjoy a smal snack.  Then you head up into a switchback trail to the very top.  The trail itself takes a few hours there and back. It’s a great one to take in the afternoon, and maybe even around dusk during the summer months.  I’ve done it once in the dark, and flashlights are essential for that hike (we forgot ours, not a good idea).

Either way, hikes with friends make for great memories, so check out Santa Barbara hikes and book a room with us!

farmers market

Yesterday, we spent some time walking around State Street to shop for fresh fruits and vegetables. On Tuesday evenings from 4-7:30 pm the 500-600 blocks of State Street close down to cars and becomes a promenade of fresh produce.  We found a wide selection of strawberries and fresh pre-summer fruits.  There were also stands of flowers, pistachios, honey, and so much more.  The best part of it all was just the community of people you get to walk with and those behind the tables of food.  Come check out the farmers market when you’re in town. There usually is one happening any day of the week:

Farmers Market Schedule:

  • Thursday: Camino Real Marketplace in Goleta, 3-6:30pm or 800 block of Linden Ave in Carpinteria, 3-6:30 pm
  • Friday: 1100-1200 blocks of Coast Village Road in Montecito, 8-11:45 am
  • Saturday: Corner of Santa Barbara and Cota Streets in downtown SB, 8:30-1pm
  • Sunday: Camino Real Marketplace, 10-2pm
  • Tuesday: 500-600 blocks of State Street in downtown SB, 4-7:30pm

Family Vineyards

Santa Barbara county is filled with family owned vineyards, located in the Santa Ynez Valley.  The stories that speak out of the vines will tell you of generations of farmers and cultivators.  Grassini Family Vineyard, located in Happy Canyon just 35 minutes north of the city of Santa Barbara, is one of these vineyards.  We attended their Crush Party last fall, and got the chance to meet some of the family.  We, not only appreciated the Grassini’s, but also their wonderfully made wine.  We spent an afternoon with Andrew, their winemaker, and Mandy Grassini.  They toured us through the vineyard, and talked us through a very lovely tasting of their wines.  It was a great afternoon with really great people.

This Memorial Weekend, Grassini Family Vineyards will open a tasting room in downtown Santa Barbara to bring their wines and tradition closer to us.  It will be a great weekend of great people and wine.  Don’t miss out on this opening event!

 

gardens.

Santa Barbara is typically known for its beautiful beaches and breath taking hills.  What tends to go unseen are some of its hidden gems.  Within Santa Barbara are also serene gardens.  Some of them are locked away in Montecito or hidden in the hills, but then there are those that live within the main city itself.  One of those gardens is Alice Keck Park.  It occupies one square of the downtown area.  There are more than 75 different tree and plant species within the park.  Benches line a walkway that takes you throughout the beautifully landscaped property. There is no entrance fee or time limit (well, look out for parking limitations). It is free for all to enjoy.

 

Nite Moves

Every summer, Santa Barbara hosts a weekly run/swim event at sunset.  This is a great way to stay in shape, be part of a great community, and have fun!  Sign up for a race today! Nite Moves begins Wednesday, April 25th!

funk zone wine

For the most part, downtown Santa Barbara is State Street and some side streets along the way.  The area that most of us cruise is around Paseo Nuevo.  We may head up a ways to Anthropologie or down towards the 101 freeway, but then we usually skip right to the beach.  Santa Barbara also has this great area that has been forgotten for so long, but in the recent year or so has been revitalized.  This is the area of downtown that sits in between the 101 and the ocean.  It is called, the Funk Zone.  Today, we wanted to tell you about some great wine tasting that happens in this area.

Municipal Winemakers

If you are looking for some good local wines with creative labels, this it the place to go.  Their tasting room is open daily for tastings for just $10.  You can come in, grab an ipad to read through tasting notes as you sample five great wines. On Thursdays, Fridays, and Saturdays, they are open until 11 pm in case you are interested in enjoying a nice glass of wine after dinner.

Reds Wine Bar & Tapas

If you are looking for a wine bar, Reds Wine Bar & Tapas has a fun vibe.  They have homemade hummus and great Thai chicken sliders. The ambiance is nice and there is often live music.

Those are just a few spots in the funk zone.  Definitely travel through the Urban Wine Trail and taste some great local wines!  We can’t wait for your visit!

beauty.

What is more beautiful than a thin line of yellow and orange along the Santa Barbara coastline? Well, maybe turn around to see the reflection of the sunset on the hills of the Riviera.   Or take a breath while sitting at the harbor with your Brophy Brothers clam chowder and a nice glass of wine.  Then there are the flower gardens at the Mission and peaceful feel of bench at Alec Keck Park.

Really, Santa Barbara is filled with beauty – whether it’s scenery or the people.  So, come visit us today and we will direct you to some great places where you could just sit/walk/hike and experience the beauty that is Santa Barbara.

Looking In

You know it’s Christmas when the tree of lights goes up in front of the Arlington Theater.  It means that The Nutcracker will be shown regularly at the theater, the Salvation Army will have bells and buckets all around town, and State Street will get busy with shoppers looking for the perfect gift.  If look closer into those shop windows, you will see more than just a few decorations.  State Street is littered with a collection of local businesses and chain stores.  Many of the local business owners stay close to their stores and restaurants.  If you go inside for a visit, it isn’t difficult to find them and on slower moments, get to hear a little bit of their story.

If you step into the Agave Inn, on upper State Street, you will hear a story of lifelong friends.  It’s a story of a meeting long ago and a friendship that has endured triumphs and defeats.  It is also a story that sees the world as a place lit with beautiful Christmas lights all year long. You will get to see this as you walk into the doors of the Agave.  They will greet you with a smile and you may even leave the place with some good friends in Santa Barbara.

Be sure, when you come to visit, look into some of the stores, restaurants, and inns, because some of the beauty of Santa Barbara also comes from the people – people who are eager to meet you and welcome you in.

SB Sunset

There really are not very many places like Santa Barbara, CA.  Although, I am biased, since Santa Barbara was where I grew up. I would go to the beach one day and hike in the mountains the next.  During the busy, summer months, Santa Barbara was flooded with people from everywhere around the world.  State Street, our main downtown street, would be so packed, you could barely see the ground.  The summers are always great and full, but my favorite time of year in Santa Barbara is the fall, and into our winter as well.

Fall and winter are misnomers for this town, because it doesn’t really go below 69 degrees (maybe just at night), so it’s not a frost or snowy season that makes this time so great.  It’s also not the changing colors of leaves in trees, although there are some.  It also isn’t the rain, although that’s not so bad.  What makes this season so great, are the sunsets.  The reason the sunsets are so great has to do with the clouds that make a regular appearance in the sky.  When the sun starts to touch the horizon, the colors shoot out and change the landscape of the sky.  Pinks, purples, oranges, yellows, and blues create this performance right before your very eyes.  Then, you look down, if you’re at Butterfly Beach right across from the Biltmore Hotel, and you’re greeted by this metallic sea of greens and blues. Or, if you’re up on the Riviera, you look away from the ocean and get to see the warmth of it all being absorbed into the hills.

It’s a great scene and one that should be stored in your heart.