SOLO SANTA BARBARA GETAWAY: The Perfect Escape To Ease Your Mind in 7 Stops
When I had made the decision to get out of the hustle and hectic night life of Napa due to Bottle Rock approaching during the holiday weekend, I was in search of a sweet yet luxurious find where I could make myself feel at ease and I something mind that was close by to the beach. Santa Barbara was a few hours drive from my Napa home town.
Growing up in Boston near Cape Cod, the beach was something that rejuvenated me and also made me feel so zen. I had not yet traveled so far South as Santa Barbara but like I being called to Napa back over a decade ago I was feeling very called to be in a place like Santa Barbara. So, I headed there for along weekend for a blissful and relaxing escape that would rejuvenate me for all that was needed in order to write more, build my brand and keep the creativity flowing and what I found was a site that had everything I had wanted.
I wanted a hotel stay that was the balance of luxury yet a relaxed environment which lead to a chill weekend of writing, pool sitting, and eating leisurely. Although there were many stops along the way, the one that were notable and definitely worth making your travels to are included in my list of stops below!
1st stop: Along my journey from Napa and in route through to Santa Barbara I had found several cute little stops along the way that I just had to stop to enjoy the beautiful weather into include the San Luis Obispo beach spot and visited Morro Bay and Pismo Beach where the water was perfect and I made conversations with surfers and snapped a few photographs of them. Although I was invited to surf by one friendly surfer I decided that would have to wait for another day!
2nd Stop: From there I drove through the town and completely let my heart take me where it wanted to go. I came across what look like an old fashioned drive in movie theater with bright pink signs and welcoming vibe. I pulled up to a restaurant I hadn’t heard of before but felt compelled to go in and eat at The Madonna Inn & Restaurant. What I hadn’t realized and later learned was this was the spot my grandparents loved most when they had visited from Boston many years ago. It was of the only locations they kept postcards from the memorable visit. What a great find! The food was delicious and I decided to have a drink at the bar seats that lined the door just outside dining room area. I had not idea at the time I had just landed at a very historic spot. You’ll want to be sure to check out the bathroom decor and art along with the Inn’s whimsical room decor the owners Alex & Phyllis Madonna put their heart and soul into back in 1958.
3rd Stop: I had decided to break up the long drive by staying in San Luis Obispo after dinner before making the rest of the way up to Santa Barbara which I would suggest. This way you can take in the views and pull off the road without to take photos giving yourself enough time before making your way up to Santa Barbara. That next day I arrived at my hotel the Fess Parker Hotel. The staff there, welcomed me to my plush room with a spread of fresh fruits and cheeses and a bottle of wine in my room upon my planned arrival . It was absolutely perfect with a cute little balcony and at a location situation just nearby to the ocean which I sat and enjoyed the views of the ocean and watched joggers and those riding their bikes nearby. It was just what I was looking for.
4th Stop: I drove along to various little stops along the way finding little eateries and cafe’s and wanted to find a church where I could go to church that Sunday. I learned the church there was a church that was one of Santa Barbara’s most historic and visited churches nearby called the Santa Barbara Parish Catholic church or Mission Santa Barbara. It was a Spanish Mission founded by Franciscans in 1820. It wasn’t until Mass was underway that I learned Fr. Larry Gosselin who was saying Mass would be signing copies of his book called, “I have been Waiting for You”. The book was a “personal and spiritual journey with Saint Teresta of Kolkata when he traveled spent time with her. All things were meant to be on this trip and I was completely at ease and enjoying my surroundings and moments I had come across. I would highly suggested stopping in this beautiful picturesq and historical church at 2201 Laguna St, Santa Barbara when you are in town.
5th Stop: During each stop along my way I asked the locals what they might suggest for best desirable visits with regards to both restaurants and must visit iconic spots. As a local to Napa myself having moved from Boston 10 years prior, I knew that the local’s suggestions were the most valuable. For tonight’s dinner I been encouraged to people watch for the possible celebrities that may walk through or better yet may share legroom at the bar so that I did! It was the ever so famous San Ysidro Ranch.
I was encouraged to go downstairs to the tavern yet formal like cave of all dinning caves to their downstairs restaurant Plow & Angel. I lingered for a couple hours and met the phenomenally hospitable staff and enjoyed the ambiance. Definitely a place to be day or night for gorgeous walks through their gardens, historic education, hospitality, superb food, and quite definitely a resort stay… the stay will be next on the list for me!
6th Stop: Upon locals suggestions, I was certainly guided to head over to Lucky’s Restaurant! What a find that was. I ran into Demi Moore and Andrew Firestone! Since the venue is such a small space, every table is basically an elbow length away which in this case is a good thing for celebrity sights as well as for meeting new friends at the bar. The bar is where you could find me that night where I dinned on a delicious martini and an appetizer. I ended up meeting a group of ladies that live close by to where I live in Napa and we’ve remained friendships to this day and enjoyed day trips together in Napa following this visit.
7th Stop: On my route back to my Napa home I decided to stop along to Hearst Castle. It had been a iconic place I had been wanting to see but hadn’t yet made the trip. Since this would be my first trip to Santa Barbara, I was quite certain I had to fit it in regardless of the fact that it was getting dark and the weather was a bit gloomy. It had to happen and I would say you should certainly see the estate along with a tour so make time and plan accordingly with travel. The world famous swimming pool at Hearst Castle has just been filled as of August 2018! It’s been emptied for years upon renovations that were happening on property.