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