Santa Barbara Vacation

Santa Barbara is a wonderful place.

I took my wife and kids to go visit my aunt and uncle, who live in a charming little house in the Rivera of Santa Barbara. We drove up Friday night, after dinner so we could have an early start on Saturday morning.

Santa Barbara is a clean, upper crusty, relaxed beach city. It’s a couple hours north of Los Angeles. Sparkling beaches, picturesque parks, overpriced ironic hipster shops, delicious American foodie restaurants.

My aunt and uncle are retired and love to travel. They both are artists and wine lovers. We had an amazing time. It was fun to just relax and wander around. Everything is close by and delicious.

I instigated a bike ride Saturday morning with my uncle and my kids. It was a little too aggressive on the hills part. My daughter needed a couple rest stops, but she was a trooper. My son zoomed up the hills. I had a blast on the ride. I can’t wait to ride more around Santa Barbara, Montecito, and Santa Ynez. Drop dead gorgeous terrain. Lots of mountains to climb and beaches to see. We had a big breakfast when we got back to the house and then everyone took a nap.

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After a nap, we did some shopping downtown SB on State Street. The older die-hard locals frown upon the over commercialization of SB. They prefer the quaint and local shops over the national brand and malls. Locals fight against (over) development in their pristine city. The results are both a beautiful and relaxed quaint city, but overpriced and burdensome society. Real estate is mind-boggling and building is unbelievable. A wonderful visit, but not sure I’d live there. In other words, paradise comes at a high price. We walked around the marina and out on a jetty for some beachy pictures.

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Dinner at Jane was amazing. I had a perfect filet mignon with mushroom cream sauce. We drank a bottle of wine. We talked about vacations and family. Auntie made a special dessert just for us, Chocolate Pot de Creme. It was super chocolatey and super yummy!

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In the morning, my wife and I went for a walk around the neighborhood.


After breakfast, my aunt gave an art lesson. Color theory. Primary, secondary, complementary colors. Color wheel. Value shades. We looked over the deck and took our inspiration from the Pacific Ocean, the channel islands Santa Cruz, and Santa Rosa, the city below, the old bougainvillea, and flower garden just below us. My uncle worked on pastels while we worked on watercolor. The lesson was a lot of fun. We went for lunch then headed back to LA. Thanks, Auntie and Uncle.

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