For my birthday, I landed upon Santa Barbara easily. I was craving both the beach, and warmth; something the SF Bay Area has only in beautifully fleeting moments. Add a spunky downtown scene, a bohemian aesthetic, a thriving wine industry, and delicious restaurants, and you realize that Santa Barbara was made for this sort of ‘birthday-celebration-weekend-rejuvenation’ thing.
We stayed at the Casa Del Mar Inn, a quaint mission-style B&B about a block from the harbor in Santa Barbara. Though our room was a bit cozy, I loved the charm. From unique Spanish tiles, and schoolhouse style windows, to the lovely daily wine & cheese hour, it was a property that definitely did not overlook the little things.
About a half mile from downtown Santa Barbara, we took advantage of walking as a way to explore the city, and to burn off all the delicious food we enjoyed. On our initial exploration that we stumbled across a delicious gastropub, Red’s Bin 211. Initially sitting down just for a drink, we soon found ourselves sampling most of the well curated menu with west coast reggae filling in the background in an airy industrial space that lent itself well to conversation. From goat cheese and sundried tomato mac & cheese, to delicious pork tacos, we definitely ate well.
Sunday was another day of following the sun, and discovering little gems on the coast. It began with a casual brunch at Sandbar on their cozy patio, once again resplendent in reggae vibes. From there, we ventured further south into Carpenteria, where we stumbled upon Santa Claus Beach. I’m not sure quite where its name originated. A wide beach soft sand, with plenty of space to spread out, this was a perfect morning retreat to read and luxuriate in the calming sounds of the surf.
We headed north up Highway 1, halfway on our way home, in denial that we were leaving. We stopped at countless beaches on our way, languishing in the golden warmth of the afternoon and early evening, all but forgetting that my husband had to work the next day. Santa Barbara, I love your red tile roofs and gem-green mountains; your easy going vibe and your endless California sunshine.