Isn't it funny how you can grow up somewhere your whole life without really experiencing all it has to offer? There are so many places around my hometown in California that I am only just now discovering- especially now that we live in Minnesota. Coming home feels like being an outsider looking in, enjoying places I've always known but with the perspective of a tourist so that every time I go home now, I am more purposeful about the visit. And on my most recent trip to be with my family, we decided to stay the night in Santa Barbara, a beautiful coastal destination only 30 minutes or so from my childhood home.
We stayed the night at the Hotel Milo right on the beach. It is the most photogenic little place, and we had the coziest little family suite complete with a bunk room that Annie and I shared with my two youngest brothers. It was so dreamy- the perfect compliment to the waves and ocean breeze!
It was a short trip but the perfect mini vacation because it felt like we were a world away. And while one night wasn't nearly enough to do everything we wanted to, we made sure to fit in a few highlights, like riding bikes along the beach. I have the fondest memories of renting a surrey bike that fit the whole group the last time we made the trek to Santa Barbara, so one of the reasons I found the Milo so appealing was that they have complimentary bikes available for their guests.
Santa Barbara has these perfect palm tree lined bike paths along the coast, and we pedaled about at our leisure, riding side by side to enjoy each other's company.
Santa Barbara Zoo
After check-out at the Milo and lunch at On the Alley (YUM), we met up with my sister in-laws and their kids at the Santa Barbara Zoo- a place that will always remind me of school field trips and paper bag lunches. Annie was a little young to enjoy the animals, but we were with the best company making happy family memories.
We thought about going antiquing or to visiting some historic places, like El Presido or the Santa Barbara Mission, but there just wasn't time! Luckily, my parents live close enough that I know I'll be back soon. So even though there were moments when it seemed like a lot of effort for such a short visit, the trip turned out to be one for the books because we were together. That alone made every aspect of our stay memorable, from the stop for hot Krispy Kremes on the way up, to the playlist we listened to as we sat in traffic on the way home.
I miss my people already, but it's adventures like these that make me feel like I can keep them with me always!