The Santa Barbara Scene

During our recent holiday break, my husband and I decided to take a trip to Santa Barbara, CA. There’s just something about the Santa Barbara area that is irresistible to me. It’s one of those areas that offers a little bit of everything ~ perfect weather, casual beach lifestyle, gorgeous ocean views, iconic California palm trees; yet it also offers an unsurpassed upscale and sophisticated lifestyle. Let’s face it, if one the richest woman in the world chooses to own a home here ~ Oprah ~ there must be something to it.

As we drove down Hwy 101, on what seemed a particularly long road trip due to some highway construction, a sigh of relief came over us when the Santa Ynez Mountains seemed to spring up out of nowhere, all lush and green, as if to say “Welcome to God’s Country.”

On this trip, we chose to stay at the Bacara Resort and Spa located about 10 minutes north of Santa Barbara. The Bacara is designed with a Spanish-Colonial warmth that meets old Hollywood glamour and, from its inception 11 years ago, it has been a retreat to a luxury and celebrity clientele….and I won’t name names but let’s just say that I sat next to a couple of very recognizable stars in the lobby for several hours one evening.

As someone who appreciates architectural details, I revelled in the subtle design elements and lush foliage throughout the resort.

Each evening we witnessed a stunning sunset that won’t be forgotten any time soon.

(In July 2011, the Bacara Resort was purchased by Ohana Real Estate Investors. Ohana owns other luxury properties including Montage Laguna BeachMontage Beverly Hills and Montage Dear Valley. At the time of this print (Dec 2011), the resort is in the midst of a major renovation and I can only expect great things to come when the renovation is complete.)

By day, we hit downtown Santa Barbara (State Street) to do some shopping and enjoy some fine dining.

In Santa Barbara, even the ordinary is extraordinary ~ there are fun details everywhere you look.

Another of my favorite sights is the Santa Barbara Mission. In my personal opinion, I think this is one of the most beautiful of the California Missions.

The rest of our trip consisted of lunch at the gorgeous San Ysidro Ranch, a visit to the quaint towns of Summerland and Montecito and we managed to hit a few more Missions along the way home. See the full slideshow photo gallery below for all the photographs.

In conclusion, this was another fabulous visit to one of my favorite areas ~ albeit, way too short as usual. And my advice to you, if you have not visited this lovely area in awhile, it’s high time for you to check out the Santa Barbara scene.

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All photographs are taken by and property of Susan K. Edel.

22 thoughts on “The Santa Barbara Scene

  1. The photos are phenomenal! They make me feel as if I were there with you on your trip-Just FANTASTIC. It sounds like a great trip ~

  2. Love the dusk dark shots. 🙂 did you swing by the jefferson campus on the riviera? Great view of the city from there.

    • Thanks, Kim. I was having fun playing around with my new tripod for those evening shots. It’s funny, your name came up this week because Tom was asking me if you were still doing photography. Thanks for the comment.

  3. Wow!! Your photography is just phenomenal, Susan! I was waiting to see who received photo credits at the end but low and behold it’s all you, baby! Love how you vary the perspective in your photos. It makes the shots all the more interesting. Jimmy & I were lucky enough to attend our friends’ wedding at the SB Mission way back when…it was fun to relive the wedding through your shots. Okay, one beef…what? No naming the celebs you spotted? Good thing I read your Facebook. 🙂

    • haha, Kim! I had to leave a little air of mystery just in case my celebrity following saw this post…I have to gain their trust! 🙂

      Wow, the wedding must have been incredible in that Mission. Thanks for sharing and your support, as always. You’re a sweetheart! xo

  4. Pingback: Santa Barbara Victorian | Hip Vacation Rentals

  5. Pingback: Old Mission Plaster – Color A Day #33 « Color Nerd

  6. These are some beautiful photos of the Bacara and surrounding areas. I’ve only been there once for a dear friend’s wedding but never had the chance (or the income!) to stay there though I have always wanted to! I love how it is so secluded from everything and it is so gorgeous, it must be so relaxing to stay there for a few days. Maybe when my salary increases I’ll be able to finally stay at this dream of a resort when I travel to SB but in the mean time I am totally content with the Sandman Inn ( Inexpensive and right in downtown Santa Barbara, making it easy to travel around everywhere I need to go.

  7. Hello!
    Your photos are wonderful!
    I am French and my husband and I just returned from a long and beautiful trip to western U.S.. We finished with three days off in Santa Barbara .. What a wonderful place! Your photos reflect exactly what we experienced there: luxury, tranquility and pleasure!
    Since we came back, I dream only to return to Santa Barbara for a longer stay!

  8. Helo Kim
    I understand that you like the south of France, it is a beautiful area! In France there are many wonderful places (we have not yet discovered all!). We are lucky to live 30 km from Paris … The pleasure of the countryside and the closeness of this amazing city! This is great!
    For the moment we never tire of watching all the beautiful pictures we brought back from our trip in the U.S. western: Grand Canyon, Monument Valley, Bryce Canyon, Zion, etc. … Nature is really beautiful and impressive! There we had become “contemplative”!
    Excuse me for my bad English! I love the United States and the American people and I dream to improve my English to communicate more easily! Have a nice day!

  9. I have only heard wonderful things about the Bacara Resort in Santa Barbara. I love the all white with spanish tile look Santa Barbara is just known for. With the ocean just right there, it is ideally picturesque, and by far one of the best areas to spend a vacation. I was in Santa Barbara this past August and had the best little getaway ever. Three days was enough for my husband and I since the city is quite expensive, but we loved it. We stayed at somewhere a little more affordable then the Bacara, the South Coast Inn ( Very nice and great for couples. The price is perfect too!

  10. You honestly cannot go wrong with a Santa Barbara vacation! I’ve had many and many more to come! You discover something new about the city each time you go if you look hard enough. So rich in history, walks around this city are some of the most enjoyable. Expensive and rightly so, everyone can afford Santa Barbara if they do their research first. I found that my favorite hotel in town, the Sandman Inn ( was one of the cheapest but nicest in town!

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