Surf’s up and it’s time to head back to the beach. Our stay for the next two nights was the Harbor View Inn perfectly situated across from West Beach. Sitting on our private, over-sized outdoor deck we had unobstructed views of a fiery sunset dipping it’s blood red nails into the ocean. Besides a primo location, this four-Diamond resort has all the other requisite amenities including a lovely pool, a fitness center and the full service Spa Beaumontia.
It also was our GPS homebase for exploring:
Our Top Ten Santa Barbara Discoveries
* A guided kayak tour with the Santa Barbara Adventure Company. Keep your eyes peeled for dolphins and sea lions.
* Drinks at the hipster Blue Agave. The sparkling mojito goes great with their tapa selection.
* Dinner at Mitchell Sjerven’s soothing Seagrass Restaurant offers delectable coastal cuisine built around locally-sourced seasonal ingredients. Seagrass is as p.c. as it gets— the restaurant was a charter member of the Sustainable Seafood Program and they buy organic produce at the Farmers Market to pair with the local wines. It all makes sense (not only because the results are delicious) when you learn that Chef Murphy graduated in environmental studies.
* Rent a bike at Wheel Fun Rentals from Gonsalo (who patiently kept adjusting our seats until they were JUST RIGHT) and pedal an easy couple of miles along the water to lunch poolside at the Four Seasons Biltmore. They didn’t even raise an eyebrow when I asked them to valet our bikes.
*A short stack at the Original Sambo’s restaurant on Cabrillo Blvd, to go with the free basket of mini muffins they plunk down at each table.They sell all sorts of retro chotchkies from Little White Sambo t-shirts and mugs to Little Black Sambo books.
*Urban Wine Trail: if you’re car free or short on time there are eight downtown wineries/tasting rooms that make-up a tasty trek.
*Stearns Wharf and Harbor– The oldest operating wharf on the West Coast offers good shopping, dining and photo ops. Touch marine life in a special hands-on aquarium or step aboard the Harbour Queen for a narrated whalewatching cruise.
*Mission Santa Barbara, called the “Queen” for her grace and beauty, offers docent tours ( must reserve in advance) or there is a helpful self-guided map. Take a snap of the distinctive twin bell-towers.
*The bustling Downtown Farmers Market is held Saturday mornings 8:30 to 12:30, or check out the Tuesday night Farmers Market in Old Town Santa Barbara, when street performers join in to add to the festivities.
*Santa Barbara Museum of Art– just the right size for an hour’s visit. Don’t miss the fantastic Asian collection upstairs.
Down the street is you can grab a delish cheapo slow-food burger at Habit Burger Grill on State Street.