6.20.2014

a last-minute weekend in Santa Barbara

santa barbara, california

I sometimes tease Ian that when I started dating him I thought, thanks to romantic comedies, architects made the big bucks. And had I known the truth, perhaps I would have made different decisions. Of course I wouldn't have (otherwise it wouldn't be a good joke).

To dispel the Hollywood myths, not counting the handful of starchitects, most architects (regular, landscape, and interior) make a modest, middle-income living. But like most professions (I assume), it has its perks. For us, one of those perks was an inexpensive long weekend in Santa Barbara, courtesy of the company that manufactures the landscape architect's gold standard for outdoor lighting. Ian landed a spot on the roster thanks to one of his current projects, and for the cost of one round trip ticket to LAX, I got to tag along.

santa barbara, california

After a lingering winter in New England, the hot sun and clear blue skies were a welcome change, and we soaked it in. Lunch on the patio at Geoffrey's in Malibu — a pit stop on the Pacific Coast Highway drive from LAX. A large Italian dinner at Toma, overlooking the Santa Barbara beach at sunset. A stroll on Stearns Wharf under a starry sky, with the warmth of the day still lingering over the Pacific waves.

(On the pier, we also ran into bike sumo: a crowd forms around two bicyclists, who try to stay upright with feet on their pedals while trying to make the other person lose their balance and/or step off their pedals. After every match, a challenger from the crowd rides into the circle to take on the winner.)

santa barbara, california

The next day, Ian and the group headed out early for their day at the BEGA factory to learn about lighting. I slathered on sunscreen for my day on the beach in Santa Barbara.

Late that afternoon, I met up with the group for dinner in Carpinteria, and instead of taking one of the rental cars or a cab from Santa Barbara, I bought a ticket for 15 minutes on the Pacific Surfliner with "a unique vantage on the Southern California seascape." It was 45 minutes late, but the views out the window were worth it. (travel tip: Carpinteria Beach was incredible and covered with the most perfect sand, and I wish I had spent more of my day there.)

On the train, I had a short conversation with a college student in the seat next to mine. "You're doing this for fun?" I understand. Public transportation in Boston can be novel if you're new, but when you just want to be home and your bus is stuck in traffic and the train is packed with hot and sweaty sports fans, it's easy to forget there are people who find buses and trains and trolleys new and exciting. And when you ride the Pacific Surfliner for a few hours every other weekend, delays loom while ocean views fade. I silently reminded myself to enjoy all my moments, whether or not they're new and exciting.

Waiting for the Pacific Surfliner. #santabarbara

We finished the trip with a day of wine tasting in Santa Ynez Valley (Brander + Lincourt + Foley), pacing ourselves so the entire day was pleasant (and so was our evening). I'm not a connoisseur of much of anything, except maybe macaroni and cheese, but it was interesting to learn how the process affects the final flavor. Also, vineyards are a beautiful backdrop for lounging under patio umbrellas.

santa barbara, california
santa barbara, california
santa barbara, california

We're so thankful for every moment of our West Coast vacation. It was just what we needed to tide us over until summer made it much anticipated appearance in Boston.

santa barbara, california

See all our photos from the trip on Flickr.
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