Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Santa Barbara memories and friends.

It was 1969 when my husband, Roger, baby Tommy and I drove into Santa Barbara.  We immediately decided to make it our home--at least for a while.  We began looking for a restaurant but everything the real estate agent showed us was wrong--wrong size, wrong price, wrong location.  We were about to move on up the coast when Roger had a brilliant idea.  He went to the local bank and asked the manager,  'Is there any restaurant that you are holding that we might take off your hands...'

The banker leaped at the chance.  The restaurant he suggested had been a landmark called The Fig Tree but it had faltered, filed bankruptcy and closed its doors 6 months prior to our arrival.  The price was right, the size was perfect and the location was on the main street--State St--at the upper end of downtown. That giant Moreton Bay Fig Tree you see in the photo above is actually in the very center of the restaurant.

Over the next five years and with the help of many of our family members, the restaurant proved successful.  We also acquired two more kids, a second restaurant and  raised a family of Australian Wallabies in the atrium under that fig tree.

It was sad to see the sign over the door--the restaurant was now a member of a dreaded chain...

Roger would have been terribly disappointed.  But the outdoor patio and flowers were nice.

The second restaurant was called Lafitte's New Orleans Style Restaurant and it proved to be equally popular.

This restaurant overlooked the 'Bird Refuge' and the Sunday afternoon Jam Sessions always drew a crowd.
The Bird Refuge is still a pretty spot but the restaurant is 'no more'. But at least it is a private club and not a chain.

I had not seen my friend Patty in many years.   It was a fun reunion as I spent two nights camped in front of her lovely house.   She is now a grandmother and....

an avid gardener....

and an artiste extraordinaire, so you can see why I like her so much and have missed her a lot.
  Look very closely at her art work and see if you can discern the materials she uses...

It's kelp and drift wood!

Her orchids were spectacular as well.
One last stop in Santa Barbara took me to some dear friends of Ron's that live up in the foothills.
John Brennand and  

Robin Riblet.

They have been a surrogate family for Ron for many years now and I am so glad to finally meet them. 

Without hesitation, they invited me to dinner, gave me a great spot to park for the night,  entertained me with some good stories, offered their condo in Banff to Ron and myself for the week of July 4th and....

Robin just happened to pull out a wonderful Laurel Burch handbag and presented it to me as a gift! And it is in my favorite colors!  And the picture is of cats! 
What can I say, but WOW! So, Ron, I will see you in Canada--and let me say, you have the absolutely best friends  --ever!



  2. I'm so sad they made the Fig Tree an IHOP! That was such a neat restaurant and I loved the wallabies:) I remember visiting your Mom there in Santa Barabara and she had her airstream fixed up so cute with all the plants everywhere. It was so cozy.