Just a 2-hour drive north from Los Angeles is the beautiful city of Santa Barbara. We just came back from a great visit as we stayed at the very nice Secret Garden B & B. This intimate converted house and cottages is just about a 5-8 minute drive from downtown on Bath Street near Mission. The owner Dominique is very helpful with tips and suggestions in her lovely French accent. She is also the chef in the morning preparing some type of egg dish or quiche that is accompanied by toast, croissants, fruit, juice, milk and cereals to choose from so you don’t leave on an empty stomach. The rooms are different depending on what you choose and book.
We stayed in the Cardinal room, which had a King Bed and separate room area with a futon couch and TV so you could have privacy if someone was sleeping. The LA Times, DVDs, Games and other books and brochures are available in the main house. During the summer, the breakfast is served in their outdoor courtyard when the weather in warmer. Don’t miss the afternoon cheese, crackers, snacks and wine at 5pm and brownies/drinks in the kitchen after hours later. Check out the Secret Garden online at www.secretgarden.com and reserve for your next visit out that way, as you will be satisfied. Free parking in the back.
We took the opportunity to dine at 3 restaurants that are part of the same company. The Shellfish Company, The Boathouse and Casablanca on State Street. All have their own specialties and all were fantastic.
Our first stop was The Shellfish Company located at the end of the Pier. Well, it is no surprise what to order here- Shellfish of course. The rock crab (which is the logo of their restaurant) is served in full and quite the work but well worth it.
Other fantastic dishes include the abalone, steamed clams, clam chowder, signature cioppino, which has a variety of seafood such as shrimp, scallops, and calamari to name some of their top dishes. The casual atmosphere and wonderful view of the ocean and sunset make this a great place to dine. More at https://shellfishco.com
The Boathouse was our second stop and this was a bit on the higher end side overlooking the beach and water off Hendry’s Beach.Free parking in the lot while you watch the dogs run around on the beach and the waves crashing into the sand. The view and atmosphere are fantastic and the food was very fresh. Many great appetizers to choose from including the seared ahi tuna, shrimp scampi and fried calamari.
The top choices for entrees included the rare Salmon, Fresh Swordfish and local sea bass. The mud pie for dessert is a must. More at
We stopped at Casablanca before heading back home for lunch and loved it. Dee Dee , the manager along with our waitress were very hospitable. The shrimp fajitas and chicken burrito were highly recommended so we ordered those two along with the tasty tortilla soup and the food was plentiful and delicious. The fajitas came out sizzling and tasted incredible served with black beans, Spanish rice and corn tortillas. The chicken burrito was huge and scrumptious with plenty of black beans, rice and avocado.
The décor was beautiful and try one of their signature drinks or marguaritas to enhance your dining experience. More at http://www.casablancasb.com/
Wheel of Fun is the best place to rent a bike with their huge variety of styles, sizes and unique bikes for yourself and your family.
For a great whale watching tour and kayaks to rent at the same location at the end of the Santa Barbara Harbor, check out The Condor Express as they have multiple boats for whale watching, fishing tours and more. http://condorexpress.com/whale-watching/