Monday, June 16, 2008

good times

Santa Barbara was a blast! Beautiful surroundings, sunny and warm (in the afternoon, after the marine layer burned off), and very fun. It's a great weekend getaway, and I loved seeing JRO and BDB.

We stayed here, which was nice and only two blocks from the beach. But we misanthropically always managed to miss the morning breakfast. I'm not really a B&B type of girl. We arrived early enough to walk around the pier and have dinner with JRO and BDB, and we liked the margaritas and bourgie cantina vibe of Carlitos. Santa Barbara was out in full force celebrating graduation weekend, so we went bar hopping, starting at Dargan's. TD and I bet each other a nickel what would come up next on the jukebox, and I won by the skin of my teeth (The Rolling Stones, although it is generally a good assumption that U2 will be the next band at an Irish pub). There was a cute cover band who dressed like some cross between The Hives and Flight of the Conchords, complete with a trumpet-playing-keyboardist. Their covers were along the lines of Cake, and so it was a bit of work guessing that these dudes really were singing "Time After Time" and "Dancing Queen." I strongly suspect that they won themselves some undergrad girl groupies that night.

The next day, at the recommendation of my readers we had fish/bivalve products at Brophy Bros., which was quite tasty. We tried to hike to the Gaviota Hot Spring (we usually do longer hikes, but that day we were on schedule), but couldn't find it some how, so we just ended up climbing through the brush up to the top of a shorter peak. Hot and a little itchy, but very pretty. We saw snake holes, but no snakes, although there are ticks. Then we drove up to Santa Ynez Valley, where there exists a faux Danish town full of knick knacks and pastries. We kind of skipped over that.

Instead, we went for a glider ride. That was very, very cool. When he said that he had booked us glider rides, I thought he meant hangglider rides, and I started freaking out, and mentally prepping my leap off the edge of a cliff. A few hours later, I learned that we would be in a small engineless plane, albeit 3,200 ft in the air. I relaxed. I am less of a wuss than you/I think, but still something of a wuss, although now I know that I would seriously contemplate jumping off a cliff with a parachute. Riding in a glider is a cake walk by comparison; there's a friendly trained pilot who can take care of everything, and he even lets you fly the glider. Flying the glider is no different than steering a boat, although it's more sensitive, and you don't want to pull back on the throttle/tiller, unless you want to nosedive into the earth. Recommended for a peaceful, lovely way to see the vistas from above without being in a noisy helicopter or hiking 7 miles to some peak.

After the glider rides, we bummed around our hotel room and watched Indiana Jones movies and drank champagne until we had to go to dinner. It is key, when traveling with another, that you both have the same attitudes about touring--it is perfectly reasonable to not want to see everything (all beach towns pretty much look the same, anyway, at least in the touristy areas) and just relax after a long day. It was a parade of tastiness at the very lovely Stonehouse restaurant, and quite the romantic dinner.

On our last day, we walked around Downtown Santa Barbara and saw the Courthouse, before making our way over to JRO's graduation festivities, where we hung out with the family. That was maybe the best part of the weekend. All in all, a great time, and highly recommended (over Los Angeles, where I lived for a few years and yet never really successfully toured) as a weekend getaway.