A Perfect Day in Santa Barbara California
Christine Dunstan innkeeper/ owner of the Cheshire Cat Inn located in Santa Barbara recently divulged her perfect day in Santa Barbara. So while there are many more activities you can do, places you can explore and restaurants to enjoy, perhaps this “innsider’s” insight will indeed lead you to your Perfect Day in Santa Barbara.
Christine recommends a slightly modern approach to the standard city excursion: a Segway Tour! The Segway Human Transporter (HT) is a unique self-balancing, electric-powered transportation device which uses gyroscopes and tilt sensors to emulate human balance. It is an environmentally-friendly and easy way to glide miles and see more. After a brief training, you will then “cruise” through an escorted historical tour of the city, from the picturesque Spanish-Moorish Courthouse, past flower-lined streets to the Historic Stearn’s Wharf, all comfortably aboard your own Segway! After the tour concludes, take a break at Renaud’s Patisseire & Bistro,in Loreto Plaza, which offers lunch from 11 to 2:30PM. Their freshly-baked croissants, soft & buttery inside, slightly crunchy outside, consistently win rave reviews.
Next head to the La Arcada Court, which is a beautifully designed shopping area, with not only fascinating boutiques, galleries and restaurants, but also a superb group of bronze, life-like statues, exotic plants and fountains in the courtyards. The Waterhouse Gallery is a gem, showcasing many local Californian landscape artists. There is a Blue Bee Luxury shop with designer fashions for the Santa Barbara lifestyle as well as the Women’s Designer Consignment Store where one can find a variety of barely-used designer label clothing and accessories.
While many coming to Santa Barbara head for Santa Ynez ,made popular by the movie Sideways, there is a new tour that should not be missed – The Urban Wine Trail. Starting on lower State Street in downtown Santa Barbara, you begin at the Kalyra Winery and, at your own pace and tasting interests, embark on a self-guided wine trail that offers opportunities to walk, sip, taste and buy at over 8 different locations. After you have savored the delightful wines of this self-proclaimed “American Riviera”, head for a stroll along the beach and then dinner at the Bay Café & Fish Market, tucked away on Anacapa Street. Well-known to locals and hence not as packed with tourists as other restaurants, such as the very excellent and popular Downey’s Restaurant, the Bay Café offers the freshest of ingredients at affordable prices in an elegant setting. A foodie will be in heaven in Santa Barbara, from the expansive variety of restaurants, to the incredible choices of locally-grown and produced ingredients. One example is the rare & fragrant Blenheim apricots (they ripen at the end of June and Market Forays has a tour which allows you to actually picnic in the apricot orchard). Don’t forget to savor Santa Barbara’s premium pistachios, sweet prawns and some of the best sea urchins in the world.
The outdoors adventurers will have their choice of activities from kiteboarding to rock climbing, fishing or kayaking, plus horseback riding and skate boarding, just to name a few. Naturalists will find rare and endangered plants, including 100 varieties of orchids, plus wildlife in the Salt Marsh, along with over 450 species of birds who have been sighted in the area. The historian can travel from the painted caves of the Chumash Indians to the El Presidio Historic Park and experience the fascinating history of the area.