A Conversation for Santa Barbara, California, USA

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Post 1

paradox

On the climate:
Ask any native of Santa Barbara, and he will try and tell you it is a perpetual 75 degrees F with sun. This is merely information dispersed to attract more tourists. In actuality, Santa Barbara is subject to unbelivably cold ocean fogs, timed exactly when you were planning to go out to the beach, thus in a swimsuit, thus giving you a nasty cold.

The other possible case is the evening "Santa Anna" winds, which is a quaint name for a tornado-force wind that carries desert heat back towards the ocean. This usually occurs when you've bundled up for the evening fog, thus cooking you alive and spraying dirt in your eyes.

Otherwise, the climate is just swell.


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Post 2

Sienne

Agreed. The '75 and sunny' thing only holds during times that you're unlikely to be vacationing in Santa Barbara. During March, for instance, (which is generally the Spring Break vacation season,) it rains torrentially. In June and July, the fog rolls in, (know to locals as "June Gloom.") To be fair, during the summer the fog generally does burn off around 1:00 p.m. and there's still plenty of daylight left to enjoy. Locals know to layer their clothing: you'll need three or four shirts with varying lengths of sleeves, to be peeled off at a rate of one every four hours from the time you walk out the door in the morning to the dinner hour, (keep the first one handy for after sunset.)

Santa Ana winds do arise, usually during the late summer or early autumn, bringing with them (as paradox pointed out) unbelievable amounts of dust and severe fire hazards. (Please do not throw cigarette butts out of windows, they tend to burn our city down.) The stillness of summer sometimes allows the smog for Los Angeles to be visible to the south, (but as the original researcher pointed out, we still can't smell it.)

Other sites to see in this area are the extremely well-hidden natural lake called Los Carneros (I believe that means "the ducks," but I'm not certain,) in Goleta, California (which borders Santa Barbara to the north. As an aside, Goletans generally tell people that they live in Santa Barbara.) Bordering Santa Barbara to the south is Montecito, back of which is San Ysidro, which has some incredible hiking trails and waterfalls. (Montecitans, incidentally, do not consider themselves to be from Santa Barbara.)

"North" and "South" are used in a very general way in the area, as the city itself is set in a bend in the coastline. If you were to visit the pier and walk straight out to sea, turn around and face the mountains with the Pacific Ocean now at your back, you would be facing true North. Generally speaking, anything "up" the coast is considered North, (despite it being actually West,) and "down" the coast is called South, (though magnetically speaking its East.)

Certain things that are considered to be in Santa Barbara are actually not. The airport, for instance, is actually in Goleta, as is the University of California at Santa Barbara.

Things that really are in Santa Barbara include the Mission, (a big one, and lovely, with a beautiful and vast rose garden out front,) the Botanic Gardens (lots of trails and things,) and the Museum of Natural History, (which you are urged to go to if only to support it, as nothing has been repaired or updated since about 1980 and its not in great shape right now. If you live in Santa Barbara, please volunteer.)

On Sundays, there is an Art Show at East Beach ("South" of the Marina and Wharf.) It features local artists, all of which are required to make everything that they display. It is a coveted acheivement for local artisans to get a space at the East Beach Art Show, and the application and screening process is lengthy and the waiting list is long. The artisans are quite gifted and this is a perfect venue for out-of-towners to find one-of-a-kind gifts to take home to their loved ones. The show is held every Sunday, year-round, unless it rains.

Industry in the area centers around tourism, law suits, tax returns and technology.

Several prominent corporations in the U.S. and abroad were founded in Santa Barbara. The "Sambos" chain of restaurants began here, and the Egg McMuffin was introduced here. Santa Barbara is also home to the Big Dog Sportwear people and Software.com. For those in the internet community, UCSB was one of the four original Universities to join ARPANET - the Original Internet Community. Several of the people who watched in awe and pride as the first packets crossed the wires still live here today.

If you drink and/or dance and are over 21 years of age, State Street, (the main thoroughfare,) has several bars and clubs to choose from. "Several" is really understating it a bit. And when you've had enough drinking and dancing, you can turn off of State Street onto Cota Street, walk three blocks toward the mountains and attend one of the several conveniently timed AA meetings held in the local clubhouse. Meetings at the clubhouse are scheduled 7 days a week at 6:45 a.m., Noon, 5:30 p.m. and 8:00 p.m. There are over 90 such meetings held in other places every week in the Santa Barbara area. There is a reason for this, probably having to do with the ratio of bars and clubs to people.

If you're looking for entertainment during your stay in Santa Barbara, you can pick up a free copy of the Santa Barbara Independent and take a look at the Calendar section. This is an excellent place to find activities for children and families. The Independent can be found in virtually any coffee house (I've lost count of how many of those we have now, and not all of them are Starbucks, either,) or often in red plastic newspaper vending bins in front of markets.

Santa Barbara itself is not particularly friendly to residential children. Goleta is much more family-oriented. Those with teenagers will find that there are not many all-ages clubs in town - at the time of this writing only The Livingroom in Goleta remains for those under 18. There are a few excellent public elementary schools in town, (one in Goleta and three mid-town, in the Hope District.) There are many, many more public elementary schools, most of which are quite adequate. There are also a dozen or so private schools, if you can afford them.


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Post 3

Greasy Pirate

If you are looking for a more surreal and slightly less advertised Santa Barbara experience, give Isla Vista a try. On weekend (Thurs-Sun) nights, the hoards of drunken teenagers are truly a sight to behold. If you live around here though this should probably be avoided because it is depressing.


The restaurant in "So Long..."

Post 4

Sienne

I can't believe I forgot to mention this the first time: In "So Long and Thanks for All the Fish," Mr. Adams makes mention of a seafood restaurant in Santa Barbara. He describes it as being in "what appeared to be a converted warehouse," and that the fish was so good that it made Arthur angry. I'm not going to name the restaurant, since I would think he must have had a good reason not to name it himself, but I will say this: I believe that restaurant to be one located on lower State Street (on the ocean side of the 101 freeway,) sharing a parking lot with the train station, housed in a red brick converted warehouse with a broken clock on the front. Locals, do you concur? Or do you think it was a different one?


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