Santa Barbara was one of the earliest European settlements in California. While it did not have a natural harbor the Channel Islands off shore did give it some protection from the open sea. Actually four flags were over Santa Barbara first that of Spain, then Mexico and finally California, first as the Bear Republic then the U.S.
One of the first Americans to give us a description of the early days of Santa Barbara was Richard Henry Dana in his classic book “TwoYears Before the Mast” This was when Santa Barbara was one of the commercial ports for the taking on the cargo of cured beef hides which was the purpose of Dana’s ship ‘The Pilgram” and other American ships that visited California..
Today the early history of Santa Barbara can be seen in graphic detail at the Santa Barbara Historical Museum. Founded in 1932 the Museum has been committed to preserving and sharing local history .
There is the history and lifestyle of the Chumash Native Americans who had settled in the region for many hundreds of years. This the Museum covers as well as that of Mexican, Spanish and American cultures with holdings that include arts, costumes, paintings and furniture.
There are historic adobes buildings onsite and currently an exhibition showing great photographers of Santa Barbara history. Two other current exhibits include Edward Borein with art of the American west and a history of the lifestyle and culture of its people when it was a part of Spain.
For this Writer it was still another of our explorations of Santa Barbara, this time over two days that included some personal events. One of these events actually took place at the Museum Courtyard. This proved to be a perfect outside setting able to host up to 150 people. The event we attended, a pre wedding reception, was just right with ambiance of its Spanish past showing in both landscaping and colorfuil fountains.
The Museum Courtyard is one of two venues available for rental. The second is the Adobe Courtyard available for small receptions and cocktail parties. The Santa Barbara Historical Museum is located at East De la Guerra in downtown Santa Barbara.
Our beachside stay at Hilton Santa Barbara Beachfront Resort immediately offered us a completey new prospective of Santa Barbara. Upon checking in the first thing we noticed was the wonderful feeling of spaciousness that both the large collection of buildings and the gardens surrounding them offers the visitor.
Santa Barbara has long enjoyed the major role in the concept of a Southern California Riviera and the beachside setting of this Resort, located steps away, added to it..
Our time in Santa Barbara was a mix of personal events as well as the usual search for stories.
First we wanted to take part in some of the many amenities offered at this Hilton Resort which includes 24 acres. Our room was in one of several different buildings which offer 350 rooms, either with balcony or patio. Ours was on the ground floor with patio equipped with table and two chairs and just steps away from our automobile.
In exploring the Resort, we of course, noticed the wine tasting cellar room located in the lobby of the Hotel and learned that wine tastings were conducted there from 3 to 6 p.m. And it was a given that on that very first afternoon we were there to taste some of the vintages of Fess Parker Winery.
In all we tasted seven wines from the Parker and Epiphany labels. We truly enjoyed this tasting which was low key and left very much to the individual on what choices to make. Not to mention the convenience of having it in the hotel where we were staying.
After this tasting it was on easy decision to saunter across the lobby to the Set Grill for a light dinner which included cocktails, an excellent calamari and pasta entree.
The Roundhouse Restaurant located adjacent to the lobby was perfect for breakfast and included both a buffet or orders from your table. The buffet besides offering all the traditional breakfast items also included some classic Southwest dishes.
The Hilton Santa Barbara Beachside Resort is located at 633 East Cabrillo Blvd, Santa Barbara, Ca 93103. Telephone 805 564-4333.
We have always considered Santa Barbara's State Street the prettiest main street in California with its trees and row on row of store front shops offering wares and services of every description.
This street invites the walker, stroller, visitor and wanderer with its serene scene and casual ambiance.
On State Street we took the opportunity to check out Paseo Nuevo which is currently undergoing a multi million dollar renovation.
Located in the heart of downtown Santa Barbara, and center for a hugh collection of retail, food and restaurant outlets, the new look is designed to enhance the outdoor lifestyle of the paseo areas, courtyard and public places and spaces. There will also be new al fresco dining and links to restaurants located on surrounding streets.
One day we planned to use the Trolley Tour bus which shows tourists the main attractions of Santa Barbara. The Trolley Tour is great for travelers since the ticket allows you to get off at any of its stops and then catch a later bus to continue the tour.
Our joy was complete when we learned that our Hotel was one of the regular stops on the tour. We took advantage of this and so boarded from the Hotel.
We did have to limit our time on the Trolley Tour to decide on future explorations before ending it once again at our Hilton Hotel..
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