I was excited for my day in Santa Barbara, since I’ve never really spent a significant amount of time there. The vibe of this city is completely all its own. It has a strong Spanish and Mexican heritage, a fact that is very evident in the beautiful architecture…white stucco, red tile, and contrasting green from the vines that crawl over many of the buildings. I stayed at the Canary Hotel, located right downtown, in a room with a beautiful four poster bed and a bathroom with exquisite tiling. I walked around downtown a little bit in the morning and had some coffee and amazing grapefruit juice at a place recommended by the hotel staff, called Jeannine’s. State Street is the city’s main strip of shops and restaurants, but as you walk down State Street towards the water and make a left you reach an area known as the Funk Zone. The Funk Zone is an eclectic neighborhood dotted with wineries, art galleries, surfboard makers, and murals. Of all of the places I visited, it was definitely one of the most interesting.
The Funk Zone
Before hopping back in the car to head to a neighboring town, I wanted to find a peaceful beach to take a walk and relax for a moment. I think I found the perfect one with Arroyo Burro Beach, or as the locals call it, Hendry’s Beach, just a short ways north of downtown. It’s a dog beach, so you’re sure to see a few pups playing in the water, and maybe even some dolphins passing by out at sea. There is something so incredibly peaceful about this beach. It’s a quiet cove, hidden away from the city, and the waves are small and crash rhythmically on the shore, the sound of it so calming as you stroll barefoot in cool sand.
The nearby town that I wanted to visit is Ojai, about an hour inland from Santa Barbara. Ojai is an artistic community full of galleries and shops that sell goods made by local artists. It gets warmer as you drive inland, and Ojai had a distinctly more desert-like feel, though with plenty of flowering greens decorating the adobe buildings. I found a couple of shops I really loved, including Fig and Love Heals, a beautiful jewelry maker. Ojai had such a calming effect on me and I had to wonder if that’s why the people who live there love it so much and speak so highly of it.
Before I knew it, it was time to hit the road again, and this would be the final stretch. Stay tuned to see where I go next, and enter for a chance to win your own west coast dream trip!
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