In no order of preference and not associated with David Letterman, here’s my Top Ten things to do when not playing golf in Santa Barbara:
- Sample the Urban Wine Trail. Within blocks of downtown and the beach, there’s a terrific collection of wineries representing the finest wines produced in Santa Barbara County. Visiting Jaffurs Wine Cellars, we savored its syrah.
- Mission Santa Barbara. Dubbed the “Queen of the Missions,” this landmark Franciscan mission lent a stirring lesson in the area’s and California’s rich early history.
- Botanic Garden. Nestled along scenic Mission Canyon, this was a sleeper attraction for its 65 acres of native California flora including a majestic Redwood forest.
- Shopping on State Street. You could leave your purse or wallet in the hotel safe and still enjoy the people watching at this stylish hub of shops, boutiques and restaurants.
- Sterns Wharf & Santa Barbara Harbor. The West Coast’s oldest operating wharf, this was another great walking around spot with shops and dining and gratis scenic views.
- The Funk Zone. No, not Fred Funk but instead an eclectic coterie of artists, surfboard shapers, shops and antiques.
- Brew Trek. Not as plentiful as the wineries, there’s still a nice collection of regional micro-breweries. We enjoyed the Santa Barbara Blonde–hey, that’s a brew!
- ‘Channel’ Julia Child. Noting the 100th anniversary of the iconic chef’s birth and Santa Barbara native, we visited one of her favorite and more humble Mexican eateries, La Super Rica Taqueria.
- Leisurely Country Drive. Take your time, ease off the pedal and enjoy the sights, sounds and sips of this acclaimed wine-growing region.
- Be Surprised. Unplanned happenstances often are the most memorable on any trip; Santa Barbara and its friendly environs won’t disappoint.
For more information, visit www.santabarbaraca.com