Santa Barbara Dreaming…

When I think about beautiful and laid back Santa Barbara, my mind conjures up images of the scenic backdrop of the Santa Ynez Mountains, long white sandy beaches, fabulous shopping and outstanding restaurants.

                                               (A view of downtown Santa Barbara from the Riviera)

Well, I was lucky enough to spend last week there with family and friends lapping up all the town had to offer, especially in light of the perfect beach weather that held steady all week.

(One of the fun things we did was watch movies on an outdoor screen, with the lights of Santa Barbara as a backdrop)

Since there are so many activities to choose from, I thought that I would help you narrow them down:

Here are a few if my favorite things!

Santa Barbara Sailing Center, 133 Harbor Way, Santa Barbara, 805-962-2826.

A great place to charter a boat  and set sail for two hours or even two days.  You are sure to see seals and other marine life, as well as the stunning California coastline. Swimming off of the boat is another great option.  The center also offers whale watching and sunset cruises.

Butterfly Beach, located directly across from the Four Seasons Biltmore and Coral Casino on Channel Drive.

is by far my favorite beach in Santa Barbara.  On a weekday it’s nearly private, with water warm enough to swim.  There are friendly local people and dogs.  It’s also a great beach to walk on, especially at low tide.

Lotusland, 695 Ashley Road, Montecito, 805-969-9990, reservations required.

Polish opera singer and garden enthusiast, Ganna Walska, purchased the 37 acres home with money from four of her six her ex-husbands.  She then spent 43 years designing the unique garden, that houses 3000 different plants from around the world.  This is a rare botanical Nirvana worth a visit.

Rose Story Farm, Carpinteria, 805- 566-4885. Tour reservations a must.

Nestled in the foothills of nearby Carpinteria, Dani Hagn and her husband started the farm in 1998.  It now boasts 25,000 rose bushes, with over 120 varieties, Book a tour of the gardens during the blooming season, which runs from April until November.  Be sure to visit the gift shop afterwards that sells all kinds of roses rose-associated merchandise.

(Dani sells her roses at Pierre La Fond’s Montecito Market, an upscale deli and coffee bar on San Ysidro Road)

William Laman, 1469 East Valley Road, Montecito, 805-969-2840

You will find a distinctive mix of merchandise hand selected by interior designer Bruce Gegga and William Laman, on their travels around the world.  Everything they sell reflects understated elegance and an exceptional eye for details. Laman’s tag line says it all: You will find here “not what you need, but what you want”. Amen to that!

Surf-n-Wear Beach House, 10 State Street, 805-963-1281

This store has been serving the spirit and romance of surfing since 1962.  At its prior location near Rincon Point, Santa Barbara’s premier surfing spot, it would close when surf was up. Now located on lower State Street, they’re still serving the same surfers and their families, although they no longer close for waves.

Country House Antiques, 515 San Ysidro Road, Montecito, 805-969-7893

If I were to acquire another second home in Santa Barbara, I would rent a large van and drive over to Country House Antiques and load up its entire inventory to furnish my new place. Each piece that they sell is beautiful, unique with enough provenance to set your heart beating.  Something you may not know about me, is that we once owned an English Fairy Tale cottage in Santa Barbara and I miss it!

East Beach Grill, 1118 E Cabrillo Blvd., 805-965-8805

If you ever dream of having breakfast at the beach, then go no further than East Beach Grill.  Run by the city of Santa Barbara, the breakfast menu offers a huge variety of items.  It’s quick, efficient and down home cooking. Plus you can’t beat the view of the ocean.

Montecito Coffee Shop, 1498 E Valley Road, 805-969-6250

This has been a family favorite for years, as a place that serves homemade and delicious breakfast and lunch. Located adjacent to the San Ysidro Pharmacy, it a bright and cheery with tables inside and outside for dinning.  This is definitely a locals’ spot. Jonathan Winter use to hold court at the coffee shop and you could sometimes run into Michael Douglas at the pharmacy.

Los Arroyos, 1220 Coast Village Road, 805-969-9095

This is my favorite Mexican restaurant in town for lunch or dinner. It serves the freshest and consistently delicious Mexican food. Depending on the weather, I prefer dinning outside on their patio. My go to item on the menu is Mama’s salad, which was named after the owner’s mother and our realtor, Marilyn.

Lucky’s, 1279 Coast Village Rd., 805-565-7540

This is a great traditional steak house, with plenty of delicious side dishes to choose from. Set in an upscale space, Lucky’s has touches of old Hollywood glamor. I especially love the black and white photographs on the walls of the greatest athletes and entertainers of the 20th century. To many of the locals, Lucky’s is their second living room. (By the time we got to Lucky’s my family was fed up with me taking photos, especially of my food. This is a new habit after becoming a blogger!)

Four Seasons Biltmore, 1260 Channel Dr., 805-969-2261.

For a weekend getaway to Santa Barbara, the absolute best place to stay is the Four Seasons Biltmore. Built in a colonial style, this luxury oceon front hotel is set in 22 acres of lush gardens.  It has a wonderful spa and the hotel’s Coral Casino pool and restaurants are to die for!

Photos by Averell Edmondson, and myself.


Tag along as I share musings on everything from family to business, which will hopefully inspire you and stir the mind. I am happy that you are along for the journey. Here’s to Living Lively!