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March 5, 2014

Santa Barbara | My Second Favorite City

Maybe I should have made the title “Santa Barbara | My Second Favorite City in the States” but that would have been entirely too long.  And just for the record, my first favorite city is Charleston, SC.  Can I get an Amen??  The truth is though, that we’ve fallen in love with Santa Barbara.  Last year was our first time out and we fell for it then, but the trip this year just confirmed how deep our love really is for this place.  Y’all… it’s breathtakingly beautiful.  And that’s not just the photographer in me talking.  Anyone that’s been there can tell you how gorgeous it is.

We arrived in California on Friday, rented a car from LAX and drove to Santa Barbara along the coast.  This should be in everyone’s “Top 10 List of Things To Do Before I Die”.  It’s gorgeous.  We checked into our hotel and ended up taking a 4 hour nap because we were SO exhausted from being up since 4:30am eastern time.  Sadly, I think that was my demise for not sleeping through the night for the rest of the week.  Ben on the other hand NEVER has trouble sleeping… or sleeping in.  #sojealous (Can I use hashtags in a blog post??)

Rainy Atlanta to sunny California!

Y’all… I don’t know what they’re feeding these things, but these are the LARGEST succulents I have ever seen!!
I so wanted to bring them home with me, but Ben vetoed that idea…

The next morning, we got up, went to Crossfit, grabbed some coffee and yogurt/granola at our favorite local place (see, it’s like we belong there!) then got back in the car for more exploring.  Last year, we’d passed through a small Dutch looking town that I knew I wanted to go back to.  It’s called Solvang and apparently it was settled by a group of Dutch way back when.  And it’s really like you’re taking a step into parts of Europe!

Not to mention that they had a Belgian restaurant that served crêpes AND waffles!

Although, just to let it be known, the LIEGE Belgian waffles are where it’s at… which you can get at a restaurant in downtown Santa Barbara :-)

There was even dancing!!  Seriously love this place.

See??  More massive succulents!

The next day, we got up to go to Crossfit again and then have a leisurely brunch at Jeannine’s.

Crossfit Pacific Coast Jeannine's Santa Barbara

We then spent the afternoon wandering up and down State Street in downtown.  We didn’t make it over there last year, but we definitely wore some footprints into the sidewalks with our exploring last week!  And it was so worth it. There’s everything from coffee shops to antique shops (the real kind and the junk kind) to clothing stores to all kinds of restaurants.  And if anyone needs a chicken suit, they have that too.

Ben wanted to try out The Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf and I’m SO glad he did.  They made the BEST chai tea latte!!
And I’ve had a few in my time… this ended up being our first of 4 visits in a week.

We strolled down the pier before grabbing an early dinner… and it was perfection.

United 2014 Santa Barbara California

We had tried to go to the Brat Haus the night before for dinner, but because of our super long nap, they’d stopped serving food by the time we arrived.  So, we went for an early dinner before United officially started.  One of the awesome things about this place is that they have the Liege Belgian waffles… which are the ones you can get from street vendors in Brussels.  SO!  If you’re ever at a restaurant and you see that they have Liege Belgian waffles (not just “Belgian Waffles”)… GET ONE.  I promise that you won’t regret it.

And while we’re on the topic of food… I had to share this picture because of something I learned.  In ‘n Out Burger has this not-so-secret menu where you can order things “animal style” and get up to 4 patties on one burger.  But something else I’ve learned is that you can COMBINE flavors in your milkshake!!  We went one afternoon to grab a snack and all I wanted was fries and a milkshake… with chocolate AND vanilla.  Seriously, yum.  We don’t eat fast food a lot – well, hardly at all – but when we’re out west, we always go to In ‘n Out!  It’s a must.

So, do I have you convinced yet that you need to go??

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