Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Santa Barbara Recap

Happy Wednesday!  It's ridiculously cold out today (high of 5, windchills of -30) so I figured today is a good day to share some photos from our weekend getaway to Santa Barbara as I'm mentally traveling there in my mind today...  You all know how much I love Minnesota, but this getaway came at the perfect time.  It was terribly cold in Minnesota and unseasonably warm in Santa Barbara!

I was happy to ditch the Minnesota cold for sunshine in Santa Barbara!

Thursday was our travel day and to be perfectly honest, we did not have the best of luck. Our flight was delayed by 2 hours due to a mechanical issue and then the rental car process took FOREVER - which meant we hit the road right at the beginning of rush hour.  LA traffic is something special...  I am really glad Phil was the one driving our ridiculously small rental car.  Let's just say that Priceline pick-your-price = tiny car.  We didn't care, though, because we are cheap economical.

Our rental car makes a prius look roomy.
It took us about 2 hours and 40 minutes to complete the 85 mile drive from LA to Santa Barbara.  We were starving by the time we arrived since we hadn't eaten in 10 hours, so the Mexican food we ate tasted especially good.

Fish tacos for the win!
We crashed hard that night after our long day of travel!  On Friday morning we headed out for a hike.  We each did research on our own and randomly both came up with the same idea for a hike - the Jesusita hike to inspiration point. It's about 10 minutes from downtown Santa Barbara, so it was very easy to get to.  It was a 7-mile hike with beautiful views!  I'd highly recommend it!

The beginning of the trail was lined with wild flowers

As we got towards the top, the views were beautiful!

The sunshine felt AMAZING.

After we finished the hike, we grabbed lunch and then headed back to our apartment that we rented from VRBO.  After resting our legs for a bit, we headed to the beach which was only 2 blocks from our apartment.

It was a beautiful, sunny, 80 degree day and the beach was very quiet.

My rock skipper

The birds were NOT afraid of people.
On Friday night, we went to a seafood restaurant in the Santa Barbara harbor and thoroughly enjoyed eating outdoors.

On Saturday morning we made breakfast, hit up the farmer's market and then headed up to wine country.  We drove on this super narrow and winding road - once again, I was very glad that Phil was driving!  I'm much better at navigating!

The views in wine country were stunning - lots of green grass and rolling hills.  The area where we were at is the area that was featured in the film, Sideways.

It's not growing season but it was still neat to see the fields where the vines grow.  We stopped at one vineyard for a tasting which was fun.  If I wasn't so restricted on how much I can drink (thanks to my RA meds) we would have stopped at another vineyard.  We definitely had lots to choose from as the road we drove along had about 10 vineyards on it.

On our way back, we stopped in the town of Solvang for lunch.  Solvang is a cute Dutch village.  I failed to take any pictures while we were there but it was definitely a cute place to stop!

When we got back, we went for another walk on the beach and then came back and made dinner.  We both get burned out on eating out very fast so we really appreciated having a kitchen as we made 2 breakfasts and one dinner during our stay.  The owner provided a bottle of champagne so we enjoyed some bubbly while preparing our dinner.

We won't be able to (comfortably) grill for awhile so we were happy that our apartment had a grill!  Since the kitchen had a limited number of spices, we kept it pretty easy and made chicken, baby red potatoes and asparagus.  We also had some leftover fish from the night before.  It was so nice to avoid the Valentine's Day crowds at a restaurant and eat a simple, delicious meal!

On Sunday we got up and went to brunch at a place that was featured on Diners, Drive-ins, and Dives which was really good!  Then we hit the road for LA.  Luckily the drive back to LA went much faster.  We checked into our hotel in the Sherman Oaks area and headed to Griffith Observatory.

It was neat to see the Hollywood sign after seeing it on TV so many times!
There are 53 miles of trails in Griffith Park, but we did the most popular hike which weaves it's way up to a peak.  As the hike progresses, you get closer and closer to the Hollywood sign.

The view from the top.  We thought the Hollywood hills were beautiful.
On Sunday night we went to dinner in the Sherman Oaks neighborhood at a cute Greek restaurant.  They had live music and the waiters danced so it was a fun and vibrant place to eat.  After dinner we drove along the Sunset Strip and then drove on Rodeo Drive into Beverly Hills.  It probably would have been better to do this drive during the day so we could see the huge mansions we drove past but it was still a cool drive in the evening.  It made me want to watch Pretty Woman!

On Monday morning we drove down to Santa Monica and walked along the beach.  It was a cooler, hazy day but still a beautiful day for a walk at the beach.

Before heading to the airport, we stopped at In-N-Out burger for lunch as neither of us had eaten there before.  I don't know if it's worth all the hype (I'm not a fast food person) but I'm glad we checked it out!

We both gave Santa Barbara 5 stars and would come back here in a heartbeat.  We loved being near the mountains, ocean, and vineyards and we thought the downtown area was charming with lots of great restaurants.  We felt like it was the ideal getaway for an active couple as there is so much to see and do.  We both thought the best part of our weekend was the hike as it was great to exercise, soak up some sunshine, and take in some beautiful views. All in all it was an awesome getaway and I loved getting to spend 5 full days with my Valentine! 

Do you have any warm weather getaways that you are looking forward to?


Amber @ A Little Pink in the Cornfields said...

What an awesome weekend getaway! I think you may have been a travel planner in your past life. You're so good at planning activities and finding the best things to do! Those hikes looked amazing!

Becky said...

This trip looks fabulous - what a great mix of doing and down time and it such fantastic weather! So glad you two made the trip! Oh and I'm with you on In-N-Out Burger - good, but not life changing.

No warm weather getaways for us planned anytime soon, but we are more mountain people than beach people and we are lucky enough to have mountains within an hour or so of us!

Jeanie said...

Lisa, it sounds fabulous, especially since I know your MN weather is akin to ours! I was hoping to go to Florida with Rick's aunts for a week but my work project isn't letting me get the window I need. Although I hear it's rather nippy there, too -- just not quite so much!

I've only been through Santa Barbara (and Solvang!) and after seeing your photos I can see why you would want to return and give it such high marks! Looks like a badly needed vacation in a warm climate turned out very well!

missris said...

Ahhh that looks fabulous! I'm so glad you guys had a great time. And I'm the same way about eating out--I get burned out on it super fast, and it's one of my least favorite things about traveling. Thank goodness for services like Air BnB!

Marlys said...

Looks like the perfect quick vacation! Beautiful views and the food looked wonderful!
Your return trip must have went smoother so that was good! Always great to return even though the weather is not inviting!

Emilie said...

You had fantastic weather! Your dinner from the first night looks so good and has me craving fish tacos! I don't really like fast food either (it'll be four years this December since I've had any - other than Dunkin Donuts/Starbucks) but I am curious about In n Out. Sorry you had such a crappy time in the LA rush hour - that sounds miserable especially after an already long day.

Amber said...

I'm so glad you guys had such a wonderful time and Santa Barbara ended up being the perfect choice for your getaway! It looks sooo beautiful and sunny there! After reading this and also Caroline's California road trip blog posts last year a trip to California is high on my list too -- one day!

Oh and isn't the LA traffic INSANE?! That is one thing I remember well from our family trip to LA 10 years ago!

Anonymous said...

What a great trip! Seriously, I'd travel all that way to just enjoy ONE meal outside. Hope you soaked up enough sunshine to last you another couple of months!

Lesli said...

Santa Barbara is one of my favorite places to visit! Eric and I are planning a trip to Seaside, Florida in April. We are renting a beach cottage. I cannot wait!

Nora said...

Gorgeous photos, especially along the wine country area/roads. Breathtaking.

I think it's all about timing with in-n-out. Granted, I've only had a whopping three times in my life. 2 of the three were great, the other not so much.

Glad you had a great time and enjoyed some warmer weather!

Stephany said...

Your trip sounds like so much fun! And I'm glad the weather was so nice. Perfect time to leave Minnesota for some sunshine! This time of year makes me so grateful for living in Florida. Winter makes me crabby, so I'm happy for sunshine and highs in the upper 60s/70s most days!

Caroline said...

YAY! So glad you guys loved Santa Barbara!! I agree it's so perfect for active travelers, and there is just so much to do! I wish I had spent longer there, I will definitely go back some day.

pinkflopflops44 said...

We sadly aren't going anywhere warm for spring break and every year we don't I kick myself. I feel like a 2016 spring break adventure must happen. We are going to Saugatauck which is near Lake Michigan for 2 nights over spring break since we got an excellent out of season deal. It's a cute town with a brewery we are going o check out. ;) Solvang was totally in the all girl filing stations last reunion. random. ;)

Kyria @ Travel Spot said...

It looks like you had a great time in Santa Barbara! You picked the perfect weekend; it's been so nice on the west coast lately.

I am not sure who you've been talking to out In n's definitely better than McDonalds, but it's no big thing. I remember trying Chipotle for the first time. Everyone had talked about how great it was and frankly, I am not impressed. However, compared to Taco Bell, it's pretty good, so I guess it depends on who you ask.

Leigh said...

Sounds like you guys had a great trip! So glad you were able to get away together for a long weekend and enjoy some sunshine :)

Abby said...

Looks like such a beautiful vacation!! You were overdue to feel the warmth of the sun on your face. Best feeling ever.

That hike looks awesome! Santa Barbara looks so cool!

I'm with you on getting sick of eating out on vacation! It makes me sick after awhile.

Ah, In and Out. People are obsessed with that place. I tried it once when we moved to Tucson and despise it. But I despise fast food. I don't really get the hype, either.

I'm dreaming of a "cold weather vacation". We've had such an unseasonably warm winter. I know people up north want to throw daggers at me for saying that.....but I would like to wear my boots and sweaters once this winter! Good thing we are heading to Ohio in a few weeks to see Ryan's sister!

Carolina John said...

Wow, what a fun time! that looks amazing. I am so dreaming of warm weather getaways right now.

Lauren @ Sassy Molassy said...

Ah, it looks like a perfect weekend. A good mix of outdoors, warmth, good food and some down time. Your fish tacos look amazing and it's so funny that you guys came up with the same hike! And right about now, 80 degrees sounds simply amazing. I can't complain because our weather has been great, but warmth just feels so good. I keep dreaming of a Mexico/Hawaii type vacation.

Cherry Blossoms said...

Sounds like my kind of weekend getaway. I am glad you and Phil were able to do this. And yes, In and Out is so over hyped. We have it in AZ and one opened here near by us in Austin. Choc milkshakes are great but that is about it.

Kelly (She Wears a Red Sox Cap) said...

This looks like an amazing trip! I'm very impressed at the number of photos you managed to take of/with Phil- I think you are starting to convert him to a picture person haha. I'm very jealous of your warm weather since it was not warm at all in Savannah haha, but at least there was no snow on the ground. Being able to walk around was amazing!!!

J and A said...

What an awesome trip! You make me want to go there - NOW! Glad you got to enjoy some sun!!

Jolene - EverydayFoodie said...

Sorry to hear about the travel difficulties ... but the rest of the trip sounds fabulous!!! It looks like such a beautiful place to visit :-)

We don't have any warm weather trips planned ... but we're looking forward to NY!!

Shoshanah said...

Yes, In-N-Out is worth all the hype!!!! :) It's pretty much the only fast food hamburger I'll agree to eat. Plus their shakes are pretty awesome as well. Pretty much any trip I take home I always try to fit in In-N-Out and Mexican food.

And funny as this may sound I've never really been to a California vineyard when I've been old enough to drink. My parents used to always take us to them on camping trips, and as a kid they weren't a lot of fun. But I do think I really need to plan a trip to wine country now that I'm old enough to enjoy it!