Today I am moving on up the coast to Santa Barbara. When I got up I did a 4 mile round trip run to Santa Monica Pier. I stopped at the wooden pier to walk up it and noticed that is was not your typical tacky pier but a little (not a lot, but a little) more upscale. At the end of the pier there is a little display about its history which I stopped and read.
On returning back to the house for some breakfast and to pack up and leave, Melodie asked if I wanted to go to the farmers market with her. I accepted since I was not on any particular time frame. We drove in Melodies car which was packed full of junk and a total mess, she explained that she does flee market sales from time to time (of course she does :). The farmers market was excellent, so much local and organic product on offer, it's definitely the best one I have been too. I bought some peaches and strawberries. Oh the strawberries are delicious, small and very sweet, red all the way through, nothing like the force grown ones I have come to expect in the US. Not cheap however at $6.50 for a small punnet but so worth every penny. I met a couple of other characters at the market who were friends with Melodie. One of whom was friends with Jane Seymour (funny he slipped that into conversation the minute I met him, apparently because I'm English) the other (the lady on the right in the photo) blessed my fruit with a prayer before I went on my way with Melodie.
The drive up the Coast was beautiful, I stopped at a restaurant for lunch in Malibu (the view was great, the food and service just OK) and then marveled at all the beachfront properties as I drove past them on my way to Santa Barbara wondering how much they cost.
I arrived at my next accommodation at 3pm. Krista the host was there to meet me and check me in. She and the place could not be anymore delightful. Her houses is a picture perfect rancher style property and my little room has it's own entrance at the back of the house and my own bathroom. My own bathroom after a week of sharing, this is quite the luxury. The room is spotlessly clean and the single bed has beautiful pillows and crisp white sheets and towels provided. There is even a little black board with the message "Welcome Sarah". I love it and already know I'll be sad to leave in 3 days. Krista introduces me to her seven year old son Everett and tells me they also have a baby (Josephine) who is sleeping. We then sit and chat a little and she gives me some good pointers of things to do in town, including a little drink ticket for her coffee shop in town. I mention that tomorrow I am going to have a beach day and she says she will provide me with a beach towel, chair and umbrella, bonus!
Armed with Krista's recommendations I headed off into downtown which to the center is about a 45 min walk. As I walk I head past charming houses and gardens (many with Spanish style architecture) and realize that I am going to love Santa Barbara, once again the weather is perfect and the sky a brilliant blue. As I get towards the downtown area I am met with delightful coffee shops and small boutiques. Lovely restaurants and bars and the whole town is just so dam attractive, beautifully laid out on the side of the gently sloping mountains, in a grid pattern with wide streets. I love it. I've travelled to some really nice places, towns and cities, but the vibe here really appeals to me and I've not even made it to the beach front area yet. I wander in and out of the shops as I make my way down to the beach and the pier.
Krista has recommended a place called Santa Barbara Shellfish Company at the end of the pier. The pier again is an old wooden one and has a few shops and restaurants on it but no tacky fortune tellers or rides. As I walk out onto the pier I see the marina on my right with small sail boats and many larger yachts (some with black sails which I have never seen before) and on my left a long stretch of golden sand beach flagged with Palm trees and with mountains sloping up behind them, stunning. I'm lucky when I reach the restaurant as there is a table outside in the sun where I can sit and watch the sunset. I order a local beer (then two more), clam chowder and a shrimp ceviche. The perfect end to my day.
I have fallen in love with Santa Barbara.