4 com

A Little Guide to Romantic Santa Barbara

So recently I have been scouring the net looking for every single  "native" guide to Paris.
Obviously, I'm not a native. But I am also not an idiot.
I do not need to be told to see the Eiffel Tower. Believe me, it's on the list.
So I gather my strength, order an iced coffee (oh--sweet lattes, how I will miss you for the next few months, you are so pricey) and sit down with my old frenemy Google

This is my process when I plan a trip. I am obsessive, unruly, unconventional and utterly unstoppable.
But I normally find some pretty cool, off-the-beaten path things! (See Joshua Tree)

For all this work I do, I realized the other day that I suck. Why?
Because I have never shared with you, what I would do as a native in Santa Barbara! Jeesh I live in the American Riviera, what have I been doing?
Ms. Taj over @ Gorgeous Glam asked for some advice for an upcoming Valentine's retreat, so I decided to make a  "Little Guide to Romantic Santa Barbara"

1. Breakfast @ Renaud's
Could just be the upcoming Paris trip in me, but I would suggest a sweet breakfast at Renaud's Patisserie.
Located in an unassuming shopping center away from the tourist-trap of lower State St. Renaud's has some to-die-for pastries and yummy breakfast in a cute little corner spot with outdoor seating. The prices are fair (if I remember correctly around $12-15 for a full breakfast) and if you are a bibliophile like myself you can head over to Chaucer's Bookstore, which, according to my Google Mapping (used to provide you precise info) is a 1 minute walk from Renaud's!

2. A relaxing mid-morning @ Ellwood Butterfly Preserve
Ok, so the Butterfly Preserve it technically in Ellwood, not Santa Barbara, but if you can handle the 10 minute drive you could be in for a treat. Apparently the best time to catch butterflies is winter, so for V-Day you could be in luck. Ellwood is close to the resort Bacara, where many celebs like to stay, so you might catch a different kind of treat if you are into that!
If you are more a beach person head to Butterfly Beach in Montecito and spend your star-searching hours lounging on the beach.

3. Conquer the Urban Wine Trail
Santa Barbara has many opportunities to taste good wine,  and you don't even have to trek out to the vineyards. The heart of downtown has many options, which are listed on the Urban Wine Trail. If you are heading back from the beach, there are many great places within a few blocks of each other and walking or biking would be  fun. I particularly love Oreana  (Pinot Noir is super good) & Kalyra.
If you can drag yourself away from the heart of the urban wine trail, it's about a 5 minute drive to Jaffurs
If you like Syrah you MUST go there. It's a bit rough looking on the outside (just looks like a warehouse) but the wine is great & was even served at Obama's inauguration dinner. *Don't quote me on that, but I'm pretty sure I heard that*, besides winning many awards. This activity is very affordable. Tastings are normally around $10 per person to taste 3+ wines. You will spend a reasonable amount of time at each location, and can probably only fit in 2-3 stops before you are feeling loopy!

4.  Shop Shop Shop
After you've gotten your honey sufficiently buzzed so that he won't notice the amount of money hes spending on you, head over to State Street for some shopping. While there are a lot of chain shops (good ones too like Anthropologie & Urban Outfitters) there are also little treasures to be found only in SB. Check out Punch Interieurs where you can find anything from a vintage fur coat to amazing Hollywood Regency furniture pieces. Its like a treasure trove, with different sellers items located in different nooks of the store. So there's huge variety! Another favorite of mine is The Closet, a consignment shop that specializes in trendy, higher end items for young ladies. It is sweet & the prices are good.

5.  Wine & Dine @ Bouchon
Behind a  "Secret Garden"-esque entrance & outdoor patio lies the deliciousness of Bouchon. Be prepared, it is pricey. But with very good reason. We had a wonderful anniversary evening here a bit ago and wow--amazing. Get the escargot and a bottle of good wine and relax in this beautiful setting. 

6. Finish the night of with a bit of Blush & Burlesque 
For after-dinner fun, Santa Barbara has many options. The night scene is interesting here, with mostly a mixture of college bars, & high end lounges. But don't worry, there is hope.
I would stop by Blush for an after dinner drink on their patio with outdoor fireplaces, or their intimate indoor lounge. If you are of a more adventurous nature check out The Savoy with its burlesque shows & cirque du soleil type entertainment in a historic Santa Barbara building originating from the 1800's. Tickets seem to cost $15 for entertainment, and I'm sure you will want to buy drinks. But even that is a reasonable price! This is on my personal list of things to check out as I have never been before and it looks amazing!

Blush Lounge
Performer at the Savoy
That's it. After some indulging at The Savoy, it would definitely be time for this lady to get some sleep. Or not **wink, wink** if you know what I mean. And if you are looking for some fun products in that department check out the Santa Barbara Adult Store. Sorry, no linking here. This is a respectable blog!