The summer of 2016 was the official start of my adventurous travels. I was lucky enough to visit a very good friend in California. I had a week to spend at the beach, drink wine, go window shopping, and try amazing foods with the locals.
Short-lived as it was, I took a week to digest and compile a mini list of must-see places in Santa Barbara. When I say mini-list I mean five of the most memorable places from my trip.
1. The Old Mission
Set on the mountainside, The Old Mission still stands as beautiful as it did in the late 1700s. The rose garden directly next to it makes for a perfect evening for star-watching on the lawn with your loved ones.
If you travel at the right time, you might be able to catch one of the chalk festivals that occur annually. The image to the left–of Disney Pixar’s “Up”–is from one of the artists that attended the festival in late May 2016. Seeing as my trip occurred in late August, I took this picture and realized that the drought saved this work of art.
You can read more about The Old Mission here.
2. State Street
I’m a little bias with this one because I’m partial to shopping. It’s a close second to my adoration for coffee.
For all the shopaholics out there that can relate to this guilty pleasure, State Street has it all. We shoppers can hit the brand name stores for miles and still not hit all of our favorites. For the foodie, it has pubs, restaurants, authentic bakeries, artisan chocolate shops, and ethnic cuisine.
Now, State Street isn’t 5th Avenue in New York City, but this street does the job if you need cheap deals or expensive shoes. State Street also has several movie theaters for the traveler that wants to take a break and maybe sneak in a nap. There is also transportation along the street which gives us heavy shoppers a little weight-lifting break.
This next place is one of my ultimate favorites on State Street. I recommend checking out Salt.
It is a Spa, but walk-ins are welcome and the retail items are superb!
Between lamps and soaps, it’s hard not to feel relaxed just walking in. As far as services go, I experienced a 50-minute self-meditation in the salt cave which is pictured above.
I left the spa after an hour feeling really rejuvenated and it changed my lifestyle completely. I now own two salt lamps and enjoy the benefits of salt aromatherapy. Now note I did take the photos from their website so you can get a feel for its calming environment.
4. The Stearns Wharf
The Stearns Wharf is a massive dock protruding into the ocean. There are different shops, but not nearly as many as on State Street. It also hosts many restaurants that give people the chance to eat so close to the sea. The pier also is also home to a small psychic service run by Madame Rosinka and her sister–I do believe. I don’t have a personal opinion of how my experience went, but if anything a palm-reading was crossed off my bucket list.
5. Knapp’s Castle
Let me just point out that it is a rope swing in the above picture. Why wouldn’t you want to visit this destination just to try out this iconic swing?
Knapp’s Castle is a deteriorating structure that overlooks the hills you just drove through for 30 minutes. The castle and natural beauty make for a great photo while waiting for the sun to set.
If you aren’t sure about heights, let me just say the environment is a nice change from the industrial scene. You barely notice your position on top of mountains unless you place yourself directly on the edge.
It’s a perfect spot for those that love nature shots and sunsets. Many couples travel to this for engagements and even photo shoots. Despite being a little bit of a drive, the sunset is worth the commute. Don’t forget each sunset is different so you’ll never have the same experience twice. Knapp’s Castle was by far my favorite excursion.
That completes my list, dearies.
Leave a comment about your favorite place in Santa Barbara. I, and I’m sure other readers, would love to expand this list and experience Santa Barbara to its fullest.
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