I may have expected too much from Santa Barbara.
After driving two hours from Morro Bay, we circuitously (consequence of traveling with no GPS) reached sunny SB close to dinner time on a Saturday night where it appeared like spring break was in session. Our first and eventually only stop was Stearns Wharf, which was overflowing with traffic – cars were gridlocked trying to park at the end of the pier – and tons of pedestrians. Under a still searing late afternoon sun, we walked to the end of the 500-meter long pier to try and find a decent place for dinner but were defeated in the process as there were only seafood places available and the first restaurant we tried had a waiting time that we didn’t even bother. After taking in the waterside views from the pier, we ventured back to State Street to find other options but after walking a few hundred meters we pretty much gave up and decided to head back to Cambria. I don’t know what it is but despite Santa Barbara looking well-planned, developed, and clean it just wasn’t resonating as a place I wanted to get to know better. I’d even go as far as to say it reminded me of Miami – pretentious with its fake blondes and self(ie)-loving dog-walkers, drunk guys on pedicabs, and that bane of civilization, the beer pedal van.
Not all good but not all bad either – at least now I know better.