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  • Pamela Froman

Santa Barbara


There is no better place to visit than the “American Riviera” – Santa Barbara! Nestled between beautiful beaches and the majestic Santa Ynez mountains this idyllic city is warm and welcoming – and gorgeous too.

Where to stay? Simpson House Inn is an adult-only boutique hotel that is rested on an acre of English gardens. Guest rooms are located in their elegantly restored 1874 Victorian Estate Home, along with English-style cottages tucked amongst the garden corners. The estate offers an inviting space as you relax and enjoy its historic charm and modern luxuries. Afternoon refreshments, an evening wine and heavy hors d'ouervres reception, dessert bites, and a gourmet breakfast in the morning are all included with every guest stay. This can be taken in the main house or served in your room at no additional charge.

The wall paper in the main house is a creation in of itself by artist William Morris. Since his death in 1896, William Morris has come to be regarded as one of the giants of the Victorian era. He had immense creative powers – he was an artist and designer of furniture, fabrics, wallpaper, stained glass, tapestry and books, and was also a poet, novelist and translator.

The gardens surrounding the house do not disappoint as they are filled with red headed woodpeckers drinking from fountains and baby ravens on the grounds learning to fly. It's a peaceful and serene atmosphere that invites you to relax. www.simpsonhouseinn.com

There are some amazing and unique things to do in Santa Barbara.

Do you love horses? Then check out the Friday Polo Match at Santa Barbara Polo & Racquet Club. The Santa Barbara Polo & Racquet Club is the third oldest polo facility in the United States and features four lush polo fields and international outdoor competition. In addition they also offer stabling, stick & ball, polo school, and a tennis clubhouse, as well as swimming and fitness centers. The 2018 Polo Season runs through October. Tickets start at $12.

You can kick back at a luxury field-side cabana to view the match. On Fridays there is a Happy Hour with libations and small bites for sale. On Sundays, the Club hosts the Patron Tequila After-Party, where following the matches, you can drink from a no-host bar and dance with music provided by DJ Fab. www.sbpolo.com

Spice up your life as you relax at Salt Spa. Located downtown, Salt has the biggest Himalayan salt cave in North America. There are two pristine salt caves which are crafted from 45 tons of 250 million-year-old Himalayan crystal salt. Enjoy a therapy session, where you can relax in zero-gravity lounge chairs or lie directly in the salt. The lights are lowered, and relaxing music is played. Sit back and just breathe. In addition there are treatments such as salt scrubs, massages, Nexneuro vibration and yoga. www.saltcavesb.com

Taste some of the finest wines produced in Santa Barbara County on the Santa Barbara Urban Wine Trail. As a member, you enjoy a one-time free tasting at each Trail winery (there are twenty-eight), and receive a 10 percent single purchase discount the day of your tasting! Your membership will also get you priority access and discounts on select Urban Wine Trail events throughout the year. $150. www.urbanwinetrailsb.com

You can't miss checking out Santa Barbara's most iconic attractions – Stearns Wharf and the Santa Barbara Harbor. Stearns Wharf is the West Coast’s oldest operating wharf with not-to-miss viewpoints, which include the dazzling Santa Barbara coastline. There are quaint and eclectic shops, restaurants and more, including the Santa Barbara Shellfish Company and Deep Sea Tasting Room and the Santa Barbara Museum of Natural History Sea Center.

Santa Barbara Harbor offers a true slice of life on the ocean with casual and fine dining, billiards and brews. Or you can simply take a walk and gaze at the beautiful watercraft. Delicious fresh fish is available each week at the Saturday Fisherman’s Market and if you want to get out on the water, kayak and stand-up paddleboard rentals are available. As well, whale watching and sailing excursions depart daily from the Harbor. The Lil’ Toot water taxi provides easy access to and from Santa Barbara Harbor and Stearns Wharf.

Take a drive up the coast and savor all this stunning city has to offer.

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