Carpinteria Street

*Note: I’m a former English teacher and yet I prefer “ya gotta get outta” over “you have got to get out of”. The informal way implies, in this case, a more “chill” version while at the same time intensifying the meaning. In case you’re wondering, the Etymology (back story) of this phrase comes from a reference to Dodge City, Kansas, a busy cattle town in the late 19th century. Possibly inspired by the radio and television series Gunsmoke (1952-1975). I was raised on a cattle ranch in Colorado and so I love the saying and where it comes from (my dad loved Gunsmoke); I encourage others to adopt this verbiage in their everyday language.

Back to my point – Sometimes ya gotta get outta dodge, even when my “dodge” is one of the most beautiful places in the world (in the opinion of many, not just myself) – Santa Barbara. What a lovely place. Most people dream of vacationing in Santa Barbara; I am lucky enough to call it home (it’s taken a lot of work and sacrifice to make that happen, but that’s another story). Santa Barbara is filled with the most amazing restaurants, beaches, hiking trails, wineries, quaint and charming … well, everything is quaint and charming in SB, even the studios listed on Craigslist (although “charming and quaint” in SB CL world = a refrigerator in the closet).

So why would I want to leave on the weekends? Well, many times I don’t for all of the reasons I just mentioned. Sometimes I like to just chill in my charming little studio and ride my beach cruiser to the Santa Barbara Mission and lay a blanket out amongst the rose garden and get some vitamin D and aromatherapy.

There are other weekends that I gotta get outta dodge either because there are too many tourists or because I love mini road trips, but also because I happen to know the delightful beach towns that surround Santa Barbara. Carpinteria is one of my favorite little such beach towns. I hesitate writing about it – will people then flock there in hoards to experience what I do?

I recently took the 20-minute drive on the 101 South to Carp (locals call it Carp and so should you). I wanted to spend a day in one of my favorite little California towns. I’ll share my itinerary and you’ll know why I go there.

My first stop is at Jack’s Bistro for a latte to-go – it’s perfect for sipping while I’m taking my morning beach walk. So here’s the thing … the beaches in Carp are better than Santa Barbara (gasp!) … it’s true. They are cleaner and better for surfing (not that I surf). After an hour of walking, sipping and picking up shells, I’m hungry for a hot breakfast. Instead of driving, I just keep the car parked and I take a stroll up Linden Avenue and take note of all of the shops I want to go into after breakfast. Carp is also known for its antique shops too. The bagels are delicious – in fact, during the week when I’m driving through for business on my way to LA, I get the “Santa Barbara” Bagel with gourmet flavored schmear. I find it amusing that my favorite bagel is named where I live, but I eat it in Carp. My palate is notconfused though. I digress. But … it’s not during the week – it’s my weekend, so I opt for a mimosa (it is Saturday after all) and one of my faves – Huevos Rancheros. I’m goin’ all out. I find a relaxing sunny spot outside to people-watch. Ahhh.

Now full, I’m ready to window-shop. I live pretty simply, so I don’t buy a lot (plus all of my money goes to rent – remember I live in Santa Barbara), but I do love to look at pretty, darling little things. I find myself at Angel’s collections on Carpinteria Avenue – the antiques are so eclectic here and I could get lost in the details of the stories of each little thing sitting on the dusty shelves. What really caught my eye were the old and used surf-boards. This is so California. Still, I have no desire or urge to want to learn to surf. I just want to take pictures of them.

Despite Carp being a small town, there are still several spots that I love to visit. One can’t do all of the fun stuff Carp has to offer in just one day. So, of course, I will plan another get outta dodge day because even though I live in Santa Barbara, visiting Carp is worth the drive. Shhh, don’t tell anyone.