We spent a couple of much needed rest days in Santa Barbara, and also got to visit with some friends from our Wisconsin days who had moved there years ago! Thank you both Maria and Dave for some wonderful meals and local perspectives.
After sleeping a lot of the first day, broken up by a sushi lunch on the pier and walk out the breakwater, we got out around town the second day.
We visited the Santa Barbara courthouse, one of the most highly recommended sites in town. Beautiful Spanish style construction, and still a working courthouse.
Instead of proceeding to another sight-seeing spot, I agreed with Larry that sidewalk people watching and having a local beer seemed like a good idea. We hung out on State Street doing that, and were thrilled to see a Farmer’s Market get set up for that evening. I proceeded to buy lots of gorgeous local produce and some pasture raised meat from Fess Parker Ranch. (We ate the NY Strip steak last night and it was one of the best we have ever had!) I should have taken pictures of all the vegetable stands but my hands were too full.
Dinner with Maria was at a local Middle Eastern place called Zaytoon, recommended by our friend Alan from Seattle, that she also loves. We highly recommend it too – lovely outside patio with firepit tables that kept us comfortable in the cool evening breeze. Food uniformly fantastic.
Yesterday we made a short hop over to Ventura where we could stage our next leg and also get free reciprocal moorage at the Ventura Yacht Club. We much appreciate the availability of a spot and the hospitality.
In the afternoon the winds picked up quite a bit so we were glad to be in the harbor. We visited the Channel Islands National Park Visitor Center and walked out on the beach.
I had not been aware of this national park before – it is a series of islands that have a number of plants and animals that are unique to these islands. The waters around the islands are marine park. The island life was decimated in the early 1900s by the introduction of livestock and ranching, but since becoming protected and the removal of non-native species, have made some dramatic recoveries.
Catalina Island off of San Diego is another of the Channel Islands, but not part of the park. We hope to spend a few days there, but that is going to be weather dependent. Today we are heading to Marina Del Rey, where we will probably stay for two nights and see if we can head over to Catalina on Saturday after some winds pass through.