A rainy day in Santa Barbara, California

“I tramp a perpetual journey.” Walt Whitman

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Only an hour and a half drive up the coast from Los Angeles, Santa Barbara is a lovely little jewel of a city blessed with exquisite terrain, weather and natural beauty.

Add in lovely architecture, a fine array of dining options and nearby wineries as well as several significant historical landmarks and you have a near-perfect getaway from the big city.

Located on a strip of land between the Santa Ynez Mountains to the north and the Pacific Ocean to the south, the scenery is very pleasing to the eyes, to say the least and the climate, which is Mediterranean  with warm, dry summers and mild, wet winters is the perfect setting for the numerous nearby vineyards and outdoor activities.

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sb17 (1 of 1)One of the main draws is the historic Mission Santa Barbara, founded by Franciscan monks in 1786 as the tenth such outpost to educate and convert the native peoples of the region to Christianity.

The complex sits on a prominent site overlooking the sea in the distance and is an excellent example of Spanish Colonial architecture and contains a fine garden with many exceptional and diverse plantings throughout the grounds.

I suggest walking the 30 minutes from downtown to the mission, as the path takes you through a beautifully and meticulously maintained neighborhood of older homes and gardens.

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The city itself is both lush with vegetation and compact in nature to allow for walking to most of the sites.

The numerous restaurants and cafes pack the bustling downtown area, offering a multitude of culinary delights from around the globe as well as a well stocked and frequented farmers market in the downtown area on Saturdays.

The city adopted an ordinance many years ago requiring that all structures be built in the Spanish Colonial Revival style, which presents a uniform Spanish character. As a result, nearly all the buildings in the central business district are of the style, which adds significantly to the charm of the city.

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