I lived in Los Angeles during my senior year for six months. My program included an internship. I ended up in Los Angeles which was exactly where I wanted to go. My Grandmother lived in Laguna Beach so I got to visit her pretty often. Also, I was born in Los Angeles and for some reason California always pulls me back. I think it actually pulls our family back. My sister ended up living out here for a couple of years and my brother now is living with his family in Venice. I always feel incredibly comfortable the second I step off the plane in California.
One thing that was great about the internship, which was at Robinson’s (that no longer exists) was that they had stores all over Southern California so I really got to explore. I also had a roommate who I had gone to camp with years back whose boyfriend happened to teach at USCB. I got up to Santa Barbara a few times and then came out again later when Fred and I went cross country. So, literally the last time I was at UCSB was 24 years ago. Wow, it has changed.
The campus has grown. There are new buildings all over the place and currently many under construction. Actually, quite a lot of construction is going on. But, the best part of UCSB is the small town of Isla Vista. A square mile inhabited by 30,000 students. Bicyclists everywhere who rule the road. Lots of food shops. A true college setting.
We drove down to the beach area where the last road is inhabited by tons of small two story homes that are rented by students. When we got out of the car the first thing we heard was Bob Marley blasting from one of the homes, perfect. We found an opening and walked down to the beach. Climbed up into the rocks, where there were beer cans left over from possibly the night before and had our picnic. It was really beautiful.
The charm is not only the weather but the California vibe. I am not sure I could do it year round but it is certainly a treat to come and visit as often as possible.
Another great series of posts on Santa Barbara and California. if you’re in northern California, I’d like to suggest a new win region, in and around Placerville. Most of the wines are big reds and the higher in elevation you go, the better the barberas and charbonos are. the best time to go is in the summer around the time that either the El Dorado County Fair is running or later, during the CA State Fair (which is held in Sacramento.
If that is to primitive, i’d like to suggest going to Sonoma and doing a tour of Sebastiana Vineyards– also a producer of big reds.
Sonoma has a number of excellent restaurants and a wonderful plaza where you can picnic next to the Sonoma Mission.
Give it a try.
I really enjoy your blog, particularly your mom’s eye view of how your children react to food.
P.S. Come home to California where there’s a variety of fresh produce, healthy meat and produce, and roads like US 99 where you can buy sacks of fresh produce for pennies.