We drove up from LA to Santa Barbara and immediately began running around. We checked out quite a bit of the area by simply driving through neighborhoods. There were some really stunning properties, and with the mountains as a backdrop, many of them have front yard ocean views. You can tell a little from my pictures just how green it is, but I was too busy looking to take really great ones. The whole place feels tropical and lush like somewhere other then the US, some tropical destination.
The city itself had a distinctive college town and feel, and reminded me a little of so much about what liked about Austin. It was easy to navigate, and we went down to the water and walked the pier sharing an ice cream. We strolled through an artwalk and down State Street, through California’s first mall, and through the many restaurants and shops. There’s a definite tourist vibe (it’s called the American Riviera) but it wasn’t overwhelming like I feel La Jolla is right now. There was certainly less beach but it’s relatively a small place so it wasn’t overcrowded.
We saw the mission and stayed the night at a great hotel called the Best Western Pepper Tree Inn. For some reason this quaint and unique hotel had the highest ratings on my phone’s suggestions so we decided to see what it was all about. For how cheap it was it spoiled us with a giant bathroom, giant living room, view of the pool, deck, and amenities everywhere. It was just what we needed to recuperate to head further up the coast.