Monday, April 1, 2013

Santa Barbara--the Queen of the Coast

In my book the single most beautiful city on the west coast is Santa Barbara.

It is still a small town in many ways as it continues to resist the onslaught of high rise hotels, fast food chains, strip centers and mega malls.  Granted, there are some there--but you have to seek them out.  They are mostly hidden from view, allowing you to observe the wonderful scenery that unfolds in every block of the city.

It is a city of flowers and fountains, courtyards and red tiled roofs.

State Street is the main thoroughfare that continues  right down to the water....

... ending at Stearns Wharf.

The very heart of downtown invites walking, sitting and visiting with your neighbor.

When we lived here lower State Street was considered to be the 'skid row' of the city...

Hmmm..not any more.

I found a chain store!

 The courthouse is the crown jewel of all Santa Barbara's buildings.

I remember, during the 70's, many protests and demonstrations that took place on the grounds here.

Crowds of young people would come here in droves--singing, chanting, picnicking, making noise and smoking pot.  They were labeled 'trouble-makers', outsiders, dopers, and a nuisance but eventually they were heard--and many things changed partly through their efforts-- the end of a war, laws to protect the environment, and more.

The courthouse was built in 1926 to replace the original building that was damaged by an earthquake.

Another great landmark of the city is this magnificent Moreton Bay Fig Tree--

From Wikipedia...

Santa Barbara's Moreton Bay Fig Tree located in Santa Barbara, California is believed to be the largest Ficus macrophylla in the country.[1]
A seaman, visiting Santa Barbara In 1876, presented a seedling of an Australian Moreton Bay Fig tree to a local girl who planted it at 201 State Street. After the girl moved away a year later, her girlfriend, Adeline Crabb, transplanted the tree to the corner of Montecito and Chapala streets...The tree was officially designated as a historic landmark in 1970,  The tree has since been placed on the California Register of Big Trees.
In July 1997 the circumference of the tree at 4-1/2 feet above ground was 498 inches (41-1/2 feet). The average crown spread was 176 feet and the total height was 80 feet. Measured in 2010, the widest spread of the branches is 198 feet (60 m). The trunk diameter above the buttress roots is 12.5 feet.[2]

For many years the shade of this tree provided shelter for hitchhikers, hippies and the homeless.

But people began to climb into its branches and carve their names into the impressive body of this beautiful icon so there is now a fence around it for protection.  So sad--but necessary.

And of course, The Santa Barbara Mission... Founded in 1786.  During the five years we lived here I visited the mission every time we had a visitor--so I decided to skip it this time around.  I had friends to look up and time was getting tight.


  1. Hattie has left a new comment...

    My mother was born and brought up in Santa Barbara. The house she grew up in is still there.

  2. I accidentally erased the above comment from Hattie. Ron has removed that annoying code that required typing it before the comment would appear. Now I have to okay the comments before they appear and if I am paying attention I will not erase any more of them.

  3. Keep them coming....Louisiana is watching


  4. Thanks, Dean...Glad to see you are still reading.

  5. Born in sb. Remember the tree from childhood and visited the mission on a school field trip. is heaven to me.