As always, it was a delight to the senses to be in Santa Barbara.
From San Francisco, we drove on highway 101 going south and stopping at Solvang for lunch and a coffee break. We got to Santa Barbara in the afternoon. The California sunshine was still glorious at 4pm. We strolled along State Street and check out the street scenes.
We've both been to Santa Barbara before but those trips were more like a stop over rather than a destination. However quick those trips were, we managed to stroll on State Street everytime so we're kind of familiar with the State Street scene. I love the laid back feel of Santa Barbara. There are big and small stores selling clothes, soaps, furnitures, and trinckets.
Our hunger led us to Ristorante Aldo where we enjoyed their tasty modern bruschetta and rissoto. That evening, we decided to check out a movie in one of the many movie theatres dotting State Street.
The next morning, we went to check out the mother of the all the California Mission churches. We've been to the Mission Santa Barbara before but it never fails to impress me everytime we go see it. It is the Queen of the Missions, after all.
The morning sun was incredibly glorious. We got there early enough before the other tourists arrived. We were also able to catch the last part of the morning mass. It has been ages since I last went to a Catholic service. It was refreshing. Having grown up in the Philippines and having attended Catholic services when I was a kid, so attending a mass there brought back lots of memories.
This was the tenth Mission church that was founded in California. It was founder in 1786 and its founding name is La Misión de La Señora Bárbara, Virgen y Mártir. Here are some more views of the Mission church.
My visit to the Queen of the Missions is not complete without walking around its serene courtyard.
I can't imagine how these halls looked like at the turn of the century, like how many friars and nuns walked up and down those halls. It is quite cool in the couryard.
At the back of the church is this huge Moreton Fig tree. Ripe figs drop from the tree to the ground below.
We got to the Mission early enough to catch the last part of the morning mass. It felt great to be attending a mass at the Queen of the Missions.
The Mission has a museum inside that showcases the Santa Barbara Missions and also the California Missions and history.
Another venue that I like along State Street is the Santa Barbara Museum of Art. They were having an Impressionist exhibition at that time but taking pictures was not allowed. Here is a pano shot of the lobby of the museum. Isn't this awesome?
For our coffee break, we went to Santa Barbara Roasting Company. I even brough back to San Francisco two bags of their State Street blend.
I've seen the Santa Barbara Courthouse from the street only but never really went inside. In this trip, we made sure we go inside. It was a bonus that the courthouse tower was open to the public. Amazing views of Santa Barbara from up there.
Walking around the courthouse, I can see why lots of people use this venue for there wedding. It is so beautiful here. Even though there were a lot of people walking around, there was a sense of sereness in the area.
Here are the views from the tower. We lingered here for a while to enjoy the sweeping views of Santa Barbara and the sea and the hills beyond the city.
Another favorite of mine in Santa Barbara is the wharf and of course the beach. We always stroll around the wharf everytime we were here. The weather was perfect!
No matter how long the wait at the Santa Barbara Shellfish Company, Mijo and I still stayed and waited to be seated. We must have waited for almost an hour but the wait was all worth it.
The long esplanade near the wharf is great for people watching. While we were there, there was an art fair going on.
We left on Sunday morning to drive back to San Francisco feeling refreshed.
We alway enjoy going to Santa Barbara. Eventhough The Central Coast of California is indeed very beautiful.