Centered City Guide: Santa Barbara

June 23, 2021

It has been a long time since we have done a city guide on the blog! Check out past city guides here if you are planning some post-vaccine fun summer travel. Doesn’t it feel so good to be out and about again? I think for many of us, our neighborhoods became our entire world for a year. As an interior designer, I believe our surroundings impact us greatly, and looking at the same places again and again for a year has definitely had an impact on my creative energy. Luke and I decided to take a babymoon to Santa Barbara and I came back rejuvenated and full of fresh inspiration! 

Before I tell you all of the wonderful places I’d recommend visiting in Santa Barbara, a quick plug for the concept of a babymoon. Luke and I realized we haven’t been away together from our first born, Willa, for more than a day in the entire three years she’s been on this earth. Taking time away, just us, is so important for our marriage and we want to make it a priority to do this more! It was a special time together as we wait in expectation of our second child, a little boy coming this summer.

Places to Stay

Palihouse Bar

We stayed at the most beautiful boutique hotel, Palihouse Santa Barbara. They have classified their unique aesthetic as “Vintage-Preppy Meets American-Riviera”, explaining, “Interiors reflect our penchant for mix-matched furnishings consisting of highly-curated new and vintage pieces and special unexpected touches throughout.” They put the perfect words to their vibe! I loved the abundant use of plaid and ticking-stripes and the consistent color palette throughout. I found inspiration around every corner. 

Palihouse Lobby

Even if you are not a designer, here’s my pitch for why it’s worth staying in a creatively-designed, beautiful hotel when possible. We all have creative potential inside of us and often, we just have trouble accessing it. Vacation offers the perfect recipe for that creativity to sprout again: ample time, limited distractions, and a change of scenery. I always feel most creative during vacation! If the places you stay and visit during vacation can help accelerate that creative outflow, I believe you will get more out of your time away. When I’m in that creative space, I can dream bigger about the future and imagine possibilities beyond my daily routines and burdens of everyday life. Isn’t that part of why you get away and take a break? Okay, soapbox moment over. 

Palihouse Bar

After our time in Santa Barbara, we also made a stop in Malibu. There, we stayed at Calamigos Guest Ranch and Beach Club. The define their style as “cozy ranch chic”. It had a much more neutral, relaxed vibe, but was equally beautiful. I think it’s a great place to stay with kids actually. They had lots of activities and it was up in the mountains, felt very much like a place to go with a group and hang out for the week!

Lobby at Calamigos

Places to Eat

We went to a bunch of cute, tasty places to eat during our trip. Here are a few of our favs!

Gjusta Goods – Restaurant and Shop

Things to Do

We mostly chose Santa Barbara for the beauty and nature! We spent a good amount of time enjoying the sunshine by the pool, walking along the beach, and taking hikes. Here are a few of the spots we visited, including a few from side trips to Malibu and Venice!

Santa Barbara Farmer’s Market

Douglas Family Preserve

Overall, we had a great trip! We were only there for five days, but feel like we got plenty of quality time, sightseeing, and relaxation in and were so excited to see our daughter when we returned. I don’t know when we will be able to have time like this again in the near future with baby #2 making an entrance very soon, so I am grateful we made it happen now.

How does anyone actually live in Santa Barbara? How would you possibly get any work done? The CA vibes were awesome and the weather was so good to us. Looking forward to a future visit, it was the perfect mix of nature and culture for us.

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Meet Claire

Claire’s creative energy comes from her unique perspective on the world as both a trained interior designer and a passionate yoga teacher. Her affinity for kitchen design, timeless style and eclectic decorating are shared here, along with lots of interior design education and tips. Thanks for being here, please enjoy!

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