Saturday, March 6, 2010

Santa Barbara: The American Riviera

The sun finally came out Thursday morning, a virtual spotlight on this California town that advertises itself as being The American Riviera. With only a day to explore its beach areas and the historic downtown, the pedometer was recording in high gear.

If you have a bit more time, the tourist association has produced a brochure listing "101 Free Things to Do" but I filled a day exploring buildings and businesses that line State Street; the heart of its historic district. Red tile roofs, atop white stucco walls, the trees just leafing out and flowers in bloom made it seem a storybook setting.

Joel, who was on a business trip here, joined me in the afternoon so we headed to Stearns Wharf for a look at the Channel Islands, the beach and harborshops.
When the pedometer hit five miles it was time for a Happy Hour cool one at the Santa Barbara Brewing Company, 501 State Street. Revived and refreshed we headed to Pierre Lafond's Wine Bistro, just across the street and down the block at 516 State Street for wine, flatbread and some of the best mussels we Washingtonians have ever eaten.
(Our first rainy night in town we dined at Olio e Limone Restaurante, 17 W. Victoria, where the husband and wife team Alberto and Elaine Monello's staff prepared some melt-in-your-mouth raviolis for our dining enjoyment).

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