Santa Barbara Journals

Sublime Santa Barbara

Best of IgoUgo

A May 2005 trip to Santa Barbara by btwood2

·	Classic Santa Barbara, view from Stearns Wharf Photo, Santa Barbara, California More Photos
Quote: Mix seaside and mountains, and add a balmy coastal climate and warm south-facing beaches. Throw in gleaming, whitewashed buildings; terracotta tile; and wrought-iron ornamentation, around which subtropical plants grow as if possessed. Infuse with arts, culture, and outdoor dining. Spice it up with diverse ethnic mix = PARADISE!!!

Sublime Santa Barbara

Best Of IgoUgo

Overview

·	Classic Santa Barbara, view from Stearns Wharf Photo, Santa Barbara, California
Quote:
Santa Barbara is one of those places where I find myself humming Joni Mitchell’s California -- I’m comin’ home… To a vagabond, full-timing RVer whose concept of "home" is skewed to say the least, this is a combination of compliment and cell memory. Barely past childhood, this northern California girl was seduced by Santa Barbara in ’69, hanging out with the college crowd in Isla Vista. State Street is the magnetic core and beating heart of Santa Barbara. We invariably are drawn to this street, always to discover something new. Be it another unique shop, a hidden courtyard we hadn’t found yet, or people-watching, State Street is never boring. Stearns Wharf, East and Wes...Read More

The Sandman Inn

Best Of IgoUgo

Hotel | "Sandman Inn"

The Sandman Inn Photo, Santa Barbara, California
Quote:
My mother and I have stayed here several times, the last time in June, 2004. She really likes it "because it’s right next door to the AAA and close to Wells Fargo Bank." I’d rate this place as pretty good. Our room was adequate, with two queen-sized beds, one nightstand between the beds, a small TV, a DVD player on top of a two-drawer chest, a four-cup coffeemaker, and a small fridge and microwave oven standing on a low table next to it. Thermostat-controlled heating and a wall air-conditioner almost seem superfluous in Santa Barbara, where the temperature is so perfect most of the time, all you need for temperature control is open and close the windows. For $95 a night, this frugal soul expect...Read More

Member Rating 3 out of 5 on July 10, 2005

The Sandman Inn
3714 STATE STREET
Santa Barbara, California 93105
805-687-2468

Rancho Oso Guest Ranch & Stables

Best Of IgoUgo

Hotel | "Rancho Oso Guest Ranch & Stables"

Rancho Oso Guest Ranch & Stables Photo, Santa Barbara, California
Quote:
Best Things Nearby:Surrounded by Los Padres National Forest (many trailheads); Lake Cachuma, 10 minutes north; and the city of Santa Barbara, 30 minutes west. Best Things About the Resort:It is in a beautiful, mountainous setting in the Santa Ynez River Valley, with horses, wildlife and wildflowers, and lots of amenities and activities. The RV sites are on terraced hillside, all with good views.Resort Experience:We spent a very enjoyable week at this top-notch 310-acre Thousand Trails/NACO RV park and guest ranch. In fact, Rancho Oso gets one of our few five-star designations, meaning it’s about as good as a campground gets, in our opinion. It’s a bit of a...Read More

Member Rating 5 out of 5 on July 10, 2005

Rancho Oso Guest Ranch & Stables
3750 Paradise Rd.
Santa Barbara, California 93105
(805) 683-5686

Mimosa

Best Of IgoUgo

Restaurant

Mimosa Photo, Santa Barbara, California
Quote:
"Bon Soir!" My mother and I were greeted warmly by the French-speaking proprietress as we walked in the door at this homey, well-lit, and immaculate restaurant. We’d eaten here years ago and were so pleased to find Mimosa still in business in June 2004. Voted among the top-three French restaurants in Santa Barbara for 2004, Mimosa is tucked away in a rather obscure neighborhood; you have to know about it, because the chances are dim you’ll stumble onto it. But it’s well worth going a bit out of your way. Open for lunches Monday through Friday and dinners nightly, Mimosa offers fine dining, a full bar, and a banquet room. We arrived as the sun was setting, were seated at a neat white-tablecloth...Read More

Member Rating 4 out of 5 on July 10, 2005

Mimosa
2700 De La Vina St.
Santa Barbara, California 93105
(805) 682-2272

Paoli’s Italian Country Kitchen

Best Of IgoUgo

Restaurant

Paoli’s Italian Country Kitchen Photo, Santa Barbara, California
Quote:
"You bet your sweet culo I’m Italian" was printed on the Italian flag on the back of the T-shirt worn by the bartender. We were settling in getting ready to order. In years past, we’d passed by Paoli’s many times, walking up State Street from the beach and back. The gleaming white, modest two-story building with red-tiled roof had always looked inviting, with dining indoors and on the sunny patio beside. But somehow, we’d never tried it out before now. This time (May 2005), we got wind of "everything half-off Mondays" on Santa Barbara.com. Too good to be true, I figured. And if it is, the prices are probably sky high to begin with. NOT SO!!!...Read More

Member Rating 5 out of 5 on July 10, 2005

Paoli’s Italian Country Kitchen
202 State Street
Santa Barbara, California
(805) 962-5350

Acapulco Mexican Restaurant y Cantina

Best Of IgoUgo

Restaurant

Acapulco Mexican Restaurant y Cantina Photo, Santa Barbara, California
Quote:
We’ve rarely gone to Santa Barbara and not eaten at Acapulco’s. This time was no exception. It’s tucked away in the La Arcada courtyard on the east side of State Street. Bob discovered Acapulco’s one time years ago when he went to Santa Barbara alone, and couldn’t wait to take me there. We’ve always chosen to dine next to the big central fountain and goldfish and turtle pond in front outside, even though the dining rooms indoors have a lot to offer. Wall lamps inside are from an 1880s Chicago mansion, and hanging lamps in the bar from an early 1900s Chicago church. The floral stained-glass ceiling window came from an 1880s Philadelphia man...Read More

Member Rating 3 out of 5 on July 10, 2005

Acapulco Mexican Restaurant y Cantina
1114 State St.
Santa Barbara, California 93101
(805) 963-3469

Ruby’s Cafe and Spirits Lounge

Best Of IgoUgo

Restaurant | "Ruby’s Café and Spirits Lounge"

Ruby’s Cafe and Spirits Lounge Photo, Santa Barbara, California
Quote:
Ahhh, Santa Barbara in the morning… There’s almost nowhere else I’d rather be than out back on the Ruby’s Café patio, facing east in morning sunlight, the fog almost completely burned off, a freshness in the air. It’s quiet too, because it borders park-like De la Guerra Plaza, with very little car traffic. Ruby’s is our favorite breakfast place in Santa Barbara, though they’re open all day long and often late into the night. Other dining options are indoors, with a full bar and tables covered with white linen and fresh flowers on polished hardwood floors and out front on State Street. Ruby’s menu isn’t strictly Mexican, but that’s where their heart is, and what my stomach yearns for most. I’v...Read More

Member Rating 5 out of 5 on July 10, 2005

Ruby’s Cafe and Spirits Lounge
734 State St.
Santa Barbara, California 93101
(805) 962-9688

Stearns Wharf

Best Of IgoUgo

Attraction | "Stearn's Wharf"

Stearns Wharf Photo, Santa Barbara, California
Quote:
Stearns Wharf, the most-visited tourist attraction in town, is a good place to begin your waterfront explorations. Lumberman John Stearns built the wharf in 1872, and it became an important shipping and transportation center for the California coast and helped end Santa Barbara’s relative isolation. This wharf had a rough life. In 1925, it was damaged by a big earthquake. A devastating Harbor Restaurant fire in 1973 closed the wharf for almost 9 years, finally reopening in 1981. We used to eat at the old Moby Dick restaurant until it and the last 150 feet of the wharf were destroyed in 1998 by yet another fire, believed to have originate...Read More

Member Rating 5 out of 5 on July 10, 2005

Stearns Wharf
Foot of State Street at Cabrillo Blvd.
Santa Barbara, California 93101

El Presidio de Santa Barbara State Historic Park Photo, Santa Barbara, California
Quote:
As time passes, El Presidio de Santa Barbara is slowly being reborn. Every visit, more of it has come to life and old stories are being retold about it. Though still far from completion, there is much to learn already. Through the dedicated efforts of the Santa Barbara Trust for Historic Preservation since 1963, a number of significant structures of the old garrison have been reconstructed. More than 35 years of archeological excavation and historical research guide the laborious reconstruction, while a combination of public and private funds and donations have allowed the Trust to make additional acquisitions. El Cuartel, on the east side of C...Read More

Member Rating 4 out of 5 on July 10, 2005

El Presidio de Santa Barbara State Historic Park
Intersection of Santa Barbara and East Canon Perdido Streets
Santa Barbara, California

Rancho Oso: Indian past, cowboy present

Best Of IgoUgo

Story/Tip

·	Wrangler-led horseback ride Photo, Santa Barbara, California
Quote:
Rancho Oso Guest Ranch & Stables (reviewed above) is in the Santa Ynez Mountains above Santa Barbara. During our week-long stay here, we found that it’s truly a fascinating place. At the Stone Lodge, a plaque informed us that a Chumash village existed here thousands of years ago and as recently as well into the 18th century. Ceremonial and burial grounds have been found on Rancho Oso property. Chumash is thought t...Read More
·	State Street, ivy-bedecked 101 underpass Photo, Santa Barbara, California
Quote:
Stearns Wharf turns into State Street as it reaches land. From there, State Street just seems to keeps going - under Highway 101, passing through Santa Barbara’s downtown, continuing on, and undulating past other neighborhoods and commercial areas until crossing over Highway 101 and turning into Hollister Avenue as it enters Goleta, the next town upcoast. I’m concentrating on the portion of State Street between the wharf and the north edge of Old Town. Beach zone: From its beginning across the street from the Pacific Ocean to the 101 underpass, State Street has a beachy feel. You can buy surfing gear and beachwear at Beach House Surf ‘n Wear’s. Everywhere, there are places where you can...Read More

Santa Barbara County Courthouse

Best Of IgoUgo

Story/Tip

·	Santa Barbara County Courthouse Photo, Santa Barbara, California
Quote:
This structure is so intensely beautiful, it seems to elevate judicial function to a higher plane. The courthouse is composed of four buildings, walling off a large inner garden courtyard on three sides. The exterior and interior never fail to delight, changing with the time of day and weather. I can’t count the times we’ve entered the grounds when passing by, often not intending to, but unable to resist going inside "just for a few minutes." Minutes quickly add up, and it’s quite easy to spend an hour or two here. A SoCal earthquake proved to be the catalyst behind this work of architectural art. The old 1872 Greek-Revival-style courthouse was getting too small for Santa Barbara anyway...Read More