When I posted a photo of Santa Barbara on my Facebook page, a friend immediately commented, “It’s my favorite place in the world.”
Well, I can see why. Great climate. Sunny and mid-70s much of the year. Mountains. Beaches. Verdant landscape. Gorgeous homes. Charming town with creative shopping. Hiking and other outdoor activities. Great food. Scores of celebrities and one percenters have homes behind high gates, camouflaged with palm trees.
We spent two days in Santa Barbara over 20 years ago on a road trip from LA to SF with our then teenaged children. I recall a wonderful sailing experience and the feeling that I wanted to get back there and see more. Well, it took a while, but recently we had five days in this glorious southern CA city.
Santa Barbara has a lot going for it. The ten million people who visit every year and the celebrities who make it their fantastic walkable city must agree.
Probably one of the most interesting to me is the fact that a very farsighted woman, Pearl Chase, doggedly worked to promote a city vision in the 1920s that included limiting the building heights to four stories.
She was behind the move to ban billboards, establish a Santa Barbara style and even require gas stations to be built to look Spanish.
This makes all the difference in the world. Paris also has limited building heights, established by George Eugene Haussmann in the 1800s which is what makes it such a terrific walkable city.
The tradition of having fun goes back 13, 000 years to the Chumash Indians who settled there. They had such an advanced civilization that recreation was part of their culture.
Here’s a visual record of some of our experiences in Santa Barbara. It was a fun place to explore, making me “stop and smile.”