Santa Barbara Itinerary Help Needed

Old Aug 26th, 2014, 02:42 PM
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Santa Barbara Itinerary Help Needed

DH and I are going to Santa Barbara the first full week of October. We have rented an apartment via VRBO--it is near the train station. We will have a car and will be flying in to and out of LAX. We get in Sunday evening and leave Saturday morning, leaving us with 5 full days. Here is what I have sketched out so far--would appreciate suggestions. These days are not necessarily in order--figured I would get a better handle on the order after posting here.

Day 1; Sea Kayaking with Channel Island Outfitters. Looks like we take the ferry over and they meet us and then we kayak and then ferry back. They look like a good outfit. I have to look again to see if we need to pack our own lunches and snacks.

DAY 2: Day trip to Solvang--see the town, stop at some wineries.

Day 3: El Presidio, Mission Santa Barbara, Santa Barbara Courthouse

Day 4: Maritime Museum, Museum of Natural History, Sea Center

Day 5: Not sure. Maybe rent bikes from Pedego (they have regular bikes I think, not just the electric ones) and ride along a bike path. Maybe see the Santa Barbara waterfront, Stearns Warf, Santa Barbara Historical Museum???????

Needless to say, we like museums, aquariums and are active. If biking isn't so great, maybe some hiking?? We are not go-go-go all day people. If we can get going by 9-10 and be done by 3-4, that is great. And then go back out for dinner. Realizing that some days will be long and others less so. We are not big shoppers. I figure we can wander some of the shopping stuff on our way to dinner in the evenings.

Restaurants. We love, love, love seafood (but not necessarily sushi). We also like "farm to table" restaurants that focus on local ingredients etc. I saw recommendations for Brophy Brothers and Wine Cask Bistro. Other ideas? We would prefer not to have to go to the jacket and tie required establishments (if there are any). But we do love good food and are willing to pay for it. Good coffee shops/bakeries for breakfast? Just need a muffin and a good cup of coffee/latte. We are not big lunch eaters--we can find sandwiches wherever we go I assume.

Is there a good gourmet grocery store? Sometimes we just get cheese and meats and eat in.

Thanks so much for any ideas you might have.
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Old Aug 26th, 2014, 02:58 PM
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I'd switch day 2 and 3 so that your main "excursion" days have a breather in between.

Northbound, focus on Los Olivos, Santa Ynez, and a drive through the ranch and vineyards area rather than on Solvang, which is worth maybe an hour stop and stroll. For a great drive at that time of year, consider foxenCanyonwinetrail.com

Opal is our favorite SB restaurant. Haven't tried Jane but have heard a lot of good things. The very casual SB Shellfish Company (right on the wharf) is often better than Brophy's. Also look at Cadiz, The Hungry Cat and Enterprise Fish. If you make it down to the village of Montecito, maybe on your bike ride, Pane y Vino is very good.

A great website to browse is www.santabarbara.com/dining
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Old Aug 26th, 2014, 04:54 PM
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Thanks for all of those suggestions!!
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Old Aug 27th, 2014, 12:53 PM
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If you are going to be driving on the foxen wine trail, come a little further north to see the queen of the wineries here, Presqu'ile Winery, its a destination winery and the wine and views cannot be beat! For dinner, the Hitching Post in Casmalia or Buellton can't be beat!

In Santa Barbara you have scheduled a lot of activity and its such a low key city, I hope you're going to look for a place to have a drink and soak up the views. ( Four Seasons Biltmore patio or the El Encanto patio are extra special for out of town guests!)

My favorite pastries are Reynaud's on upper State street ( Las Positas and State) near Gelson's market. You will find everything you need at Gelsons... and they have fine cheeses but you may with to try C'est Cheese downtown for a great experience.

SB Shellfish is my favorite seafood (as clarkgriswold suggested) and I also love the Montecito Cafe' for their dinners and coconut cake!

October is the most wonderful time to be here and I hope you have a wonderful trip!
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Old Aug 27th, 2014, 12:55 PM
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Ackkk, sorry for the repition! I was up all night with a sick kid and my mind is not working clearly. I'm happy to answer specific questions if you have them after you look at the website that clark provided.
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Old Aug 27th, 2014, 07:02 PM
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Lynni--you have my sympathy. We all got hit with a back to school cold--ugh!! Yes, we are doing a lot. I like to keep going from 10-4 and then collapse. Thanks for the ideas of places to sit and sip and eat.
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Old Aug 27th, 2014, 07:05 PM
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Second Renaud's for breakfast and pastries! Scarlett Begonia is another of our favorites. We also had a good lunch at Arch Rock. We've found SB Shellfish to be hit or miss and have had better luck ordering off of their specials board than their regular menu, nice to sit outside on the wharf though.
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Old Aug 27th, 2014, 09:12 PM
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Just don't have dinner at El Encanto. We had a horrid experience there.
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Old Aug 28th, 2014, 09:00 AM
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Is it worth going over to La Super Rica?
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Old Aug 28th, 2014, 02:29 PM
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La Super Rica is great but the Op said they were;nt into lunch and it's not much of a place to have dinner. There are better places, like CArlitos or maybe Los Arroyos!

Yes, El Encanto for drinks and view only, NOT "real food."

Since you are going to the natural history museum, if you are at all interested in sea shells and/or birds... call ahead and ask to see their "behind the scenes" collections. They do amazing research and have quite an amazing collection from around the world.
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Old Aug 28th, 2014, 06:02 PM
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Wow--I think I will try the behind the scenes tour!Thanks for all the chatter about restaurants.
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Old Aug 28th, 2014, 06:36 PM
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We like Bouchon for a wonderful dinner .
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Old Sep 8th, 2014, 07:46 PM
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Hungry Cat for seafood. Not fancy, got a watermelon, French feta, basil and heirloom tomato salad last weekend that was amazing. All their seafood is great.

We also really like Cielito for dinner - they have an seared Spanish octopus, fennel, yogurt and salsa dish at dinner that is to die for. Their guacamole is great too. You can sit outside on the little patio.

We also like Olio et Limone, but it’s more formal (more like Bouchon - in fact, next door to it). There are so many great restaurants in SB.

And if you want to do a picnic lunch, C’est Cheese has a wonderful selection.

All of these are in downtown SB, by the way.

If you like gardens and walking, try the Botanical Gardens up in Mission Canyon; for a relaxing in-town place, the Alice Keck gardens are lovely.

Santa Barbara is our favorite city in all of Southern California.
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