Oh how I loved you, Santa Barbara. Adored you, really. Can we just talk about the Ukelele band that assembles near the harbor and plays tunes like “Somewhere Over the Rainbow”? How about picnics on the beach as the sun sinks down in the pink sky?
Our plan was to explore Santa Barbara by bike so we packed up our baskets and headed out on the trail that goes along the water. I’m absolutely convinced I want to see every city ever by bike. The salt air in our hair, and sun on our faces felt so good!
We headed down State Street looking for a mid-morning pick me up and ended up ordering the yummiest almond milk mocha’s three mornings in a row from The French Press. Easily the most charming coffeehouse on State Street with easily the best coffee, too!
It was still early in the day and life was just getting started at the end of the pier. We sat for a few moments and watched the day’s first fisherman cast their lines, store keepers open their shutters and took in the smells of the Santa Barbara Shellfish Company [I have a shellfish allergy so we didn’t indulge but I’ve heard they serve up some magic]. My sweet-toothed Mr. didn’t mind the candy shop too much, either!
State Street is a happy mix of local shopping and national brands housed in Spanish style buildings complete with quaint courtyards every few blocks. It was hard to pick a place to eat lunch and I’m sure there are more well known places but we let our noses lead us back into a courtyard to a seemingly hidden restaurant with the most insane brunch. El Paseo‘s courtyard dripped with old-world charm and absolutely enchanted us.
Can you visit Santa Barbara without checking out the mission? It was Sunday and services were in full swing so we couldn’t poke around as much as we wanted but it was clear why they established the Mission where they did – its a truly beautiful spot set in the gently rolling foothills with panoramic ocean views…
The beach was still calling and we decided to spend our last evening sprawled out with a picnic. At the recommendation of a local, we headed towards Lazy Acres [think Whole Foods, but local] to pick up some seriously good Falafel, Tabbouleh and Hummus and stopped every chance we had along the way to listen to the Ukulele group, boats coming in and out of the harbor and surfers catching the day’s last waves off the point.
This place is magic I tell you.