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Weekend in Santa Barbara

La Quinta, California: There was still some clean-up from the Seder Thursday night and a few errands, and taking the dogs to the sitter... but we left Los Angeles just after noon for the drive west to the beach and Santa Barbara. Leo rode with us. Traffic was terrible (holiday weekend), so it took us over three hours to reach our hotel... then our room was not ready. Ugh. Lisa, Lenny and Lucile arrived about 3:30p and their room was ready. They joined us in the lounge where it was suggested we wait until we had a text that our room was available. We waited and waited. The Four L's went off in search of adventure. The grandparents ordered a second glass of wine. Finally, at about 5:30p, I returned to the lobby, only to stand in line with all the other people waiting for their rooms. Some suggested I complain, but I am more on the honey side rather than the vinegar side. Our room was finally ready and the tab from our drinks had been taken care of. Honey for the win.

Mar Monte Hotel, Santa Cruz wing: Room 2106 - King with balcony/patio
View from room patio

It was impossible to unpack as there were only five hangers in the room and two of them held hotel bathrobes. I called down for more hangers and we went for a very quick walk before dinner. We had neglected to make dinner reservations on a holiday weekend, so ate at the Costa restaurant at the hotel. We had very good meals - ordered family style to share. There was a hamachi crudo appetizer (ordered by our part-seal grandson), a burrata salad, and a beet salad, followed by a steak and a lamb chop main course. Plenty of food for six.

We had a nice evening together. Lucy especially enjoyed dinner with her favorite dinner date:

Lenny & Lucile
Flowers are blooming everywhere in Santa Barbara.

After breakfast in the hotel Saturday morning, we all walked down (just over a mile) to the main part of downtown Santa Barbara to visit the moxi - the Wolf Museum of Exploration + Innovation. This museum is three floors of interactive hands-on exhibits for children of all ages.

Big Guitar - There were two ways available to "play" this guitar
Fluffy balls were inserted into vacuum tubes in Santa Barbara, and kids watched until they popped-out in another California city. This was fun.

At another station, Leo, Lucy and Bubba built race cars and sent them down a track.

Lucy won!

We only spent 90 minutes in the moxi, but had so much fun and hit-up all the major attractions. My favorite spot was the roof-top sun-filled terrace with a great view over all of Santa Barbara and out to the sea. Our next stop was to ice cream on the way to the Santa Barbara pier.

Ice cream time
Dad's had cream soda and coffee.

One museum isn't enough for our grandchildren. Our next stop - at the end of Stearns Wharf - was the the ocean part of the local National History Museum, the Sea Center. This science center is very small, but every exhibit is interesting and every exhibit has a volunteer/employee explaining about the critters on display and to answer any questions.

Starfish, Abalone, and Urchins

Finally - lunch time on the pier. There are several restaurants here. None of them are highly-rated and all of them have basically the same menu. Last time we were here with Leo, he and gramps order a seafood tower. Same tower; different restaurant this time. Lisa and I ordered smaller lunch items, and Dave, Lenny, Leo and Lucy took this tower down.


After lunch, the Four L's decided to rent a bicycle-buggy-thingy and Bubba and I walked back to the hotel. We walked along the beach and I snapped a few photos:

Looking back to the pier where we had lunch
Pretty boats anchored off-shore, with ice plant blooms.
Born to Ride?

We met our peddlers near our hotel. I took Lucile back to our room for a rest while Dave, Lenny, Lisa and Leo returned the cart and walked back to the hotel. Everyone (including Lucile had over 10000 steps on their pedometers. I had 15000 by the end of the day. We had left our room at 9a and returned at 5p. Our room had not been tidied! I am guessing they are very short-staffed? If so, why do they book every room to capacity and still charge ridiculously high rates? After calling, someone brought clean towels. At 5:45p.

After everyone returned to the hotel, the kids spent time at the pool... which was NOT as warm as Bubbe's pool, but no one else was there so it was a private pool. Lisa arranged for an Über to take us to Ca'Dario Italian Restaurant for our last dinner in Santa Barbara. I can't tell you how much we all enjoyed Ca'Dario. The rooms were inviting (and warm in the cold evening air), the menu was classic and our server was perfect. We started with Bresaola and Arugula Salad, and also Beef Carpaccio. I had roast chicken and several Passover-friendly dishes were shared. The grandkids, knowing my brother Steve loves Spumoni, ordered a fabulous chocolate spumoni bombe and asked me to send Steve photograph proof.

I had a bite and it was delicious. Sorry you were not with us, Steve. What a great evening. I know where I am dining the next time we are in Santa Barbara (hopefully not during Passover so I can try their pasta).

We had an early wake-up call this morning. Everyone needed to check-out and get 20 miles down the road to watch Leo and Lucy's surf lesson at 9a. Way too early for me - and it was 52° and foggy. It was super fun to watch the grandkids learning to surf. They have been taking lessons for about three years now and have surfed in Costa Rica and Hawaii. In SoCal in April, they needed to wear their wetsuits and they were still shivering like crazy.

Santa Claus Beach in Carpinteria
Lucile on yellow board; Leo on blue board
Lucy, trying to keep warm before heading back out

The second the lessons ended, Dave and I hopped in our car, turned the furnace to high, and high-tailed it to La Quinta. After leaving the coast, the fog cleared and so did the traffic. Actually, traffic was flowing so well, we were hesitant to exit for food, so we just kept driving and reached home in three hours! An crazy-quick time. Nearly impossible. Maybe everyone was at Grandma's hunting for Easter Eggs? The more we continued east, the higher the temperature rose. We went from 52° to 92° in three hours! It's like Mother Nature flipped a switch while we were away three nights. Our tomatoes have sprouted blossoms. Our new heat pump was switched from heat to cool. I predict wearing a sundress in my future. Yeah. Finally.

How was your weekend? Anyone eat anything chocolate? Comment below.

Until my next update, I remain, your weekend-away correspondent.

2 thoughts

  1. Yes, chocolate Easter bunny, yum!
    Lovely resurrection Sunday✝️
    Hurray for the grandkids!! That water looked
    so cold. They looked like fast learners.
    I think summer has arrived…..at least spring. I’m ready!

  2. No chocolate here but I did make an outstanding carrot cake and jumbo stuffed shells for us for Easter.

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