Thursday, 16 November 2017

Santa Barbara Sunshine

We got to Santa Barbara on our second wedding anniversary (I can’t believe it’s been two years since this moment!) Our plan had been to find somewhere nice for dinner. It didn’t quite work out like that, because we spent too long in Monterey Bay and ended up arriving at our little hotel pretty late. We’d also been listening to the CaseFiles podcast, which I can’t recommend more – unless you’re driving down a one-track road in the dark in a country you don’t know. By the time we got there I was tired, hungry and thoroughly freaked out! The only answer?

Denny’s. Obviously. 

This was my first experience at Denny’s and I am 100% converted. I love Denny’s. I can’t wait for them to come to the UK!

We stayed for two nights at a place called the Inn by theHarbour. From what I could tell, most of these little places along the harbour road were much of a muchness, but based purely on my own experience I’d definitely recommend this one. I loved the olde-worlde vibe and the fact that our little suite opened right out onto the swimming pool, so we could sit and have breakfast in the morning with the patio doors open. The pool area was really nice and the hotel served wine and cheese in the afternoons and milk and cookies at night – what more could you want?! Location wise it’s a short walk to the harbour. You could walk down town but it took about half an hour, so we got an uber back, which cost about $8. Ubers are literally everywhere in America and they're kind of different to the UK - it's more like random people who want a bit of extra income. We met some really fun people driving ubers!

We spent time wandering round the harbour, which is very pretty even though to be honest there’s not a huge amount to see, and then made the most of our car by going on a ‘scenic drive,’ before hanging out by the pool for a bit and finally starting our California tan lines.

In the evening we decided to pretend it was our anniversary again as we'd not exactly had the fancy meal I was expecting the night before. The hotel had kindly left us a bottle of 'Californian Champagne' (interesting...) so we drank that and sat looking out as the sun went down. 

We then headed downtown and had an incredible meal at an insanely good tapas place called Milk & Honey. Order less than you think you want – the portions are huge – but everything was incredible!

I didn’t completely fall in love with Santa Barbara the way I had with Monterey Bay, but we did really enjoy ourselves. One thing I would say was that completely randomly on our way to LA we stopped for lunch at a place called Ventura. It was the coolest town – kind of like an old, country western place, like a town that time forgot. We wandered onto the beach, which was almost completely empty, and ate our lunch – before I leapt up shouting because there were dolphins, swimming wild in the sea! It was so beautiful that I almost cried! We both wished we could’ve spent longer exploring and we’d definitely stop for a night there if we went again, but we were back on the road…the Hollywood hills were beckoning… 

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