With a puppy to manage, we decided to do a road trip for Christmas and drove down to Santa Barbara. It was the first time there for both of us. On the way, we stopped and took a photo in the shade of a battle tank located on the side of the road in San Luis Obispo. The sun was really nice – the warm air helped the colds that we were both dealing with.
We had dinner at the hotel in Santa Barbara and made some friends over a few drinks around the patio fire pit. I dragged Kaori out early to take a hot latte down to the beach and see the sunrise at Stearn’s Wharf. It was pretty but not spectacular.
Christmas Eve brunch was at a little bakery called D’Angelo’s Bread and it was one of the highlights of the trip. The food was amazing. Then we headed up State Street and browsed around the shops. The combination of Christmas Eve, a posh poodle puppy, and Nordstroms made Kaori a very happy girl . This is a Christmas tree in sunny Santa Barbara style.
We wandered down to the wharf in the afternoon and enjoyed the harbour scenery in the lovely soft light.
We had trouble finding a restaurant open but finally found one on the beach. Dogs had to be tied up away from the tables, and the little one in her Santa suit was a bit naughty until a family came along and offered to play with her while we ate. They had fun and we had a more relaxing meal.
I tried taking some long exposure night photos on the way back.
This is an old lifeguard station. Out in the ocean you can see the lights of oil rigs that are located in this particular part of the bay.
I wanted to have another go at a sunrise photo on Christmas Day, so I got up early and waited for the 7am event, this time on the other side of the wharf. I think it was a little more successful. Santa Barbara is actually one of the few places on the west coast of the US where you can see the sun rise over the water. I used a 3-stop ND filter to smooth out the water and an FW-L filter to create more mood in the colors.
I took back delicious hot coffee and we cleaned up for Christmas morning breakfast. This is what Christmas morning looks like in Santa Barbara. A little different from the snowy UK at the moment.
Before heading out for our drive north, we took some photos by the hotel tree.
We spent Christmas Day driving up to Monterey, stopping at different places on the way. We really took it easy the next two days, because our colds slowed us down. We walked around Monterey, took a nap in a park, met lots of people with dogs, watched a movie in our hotel room, and went through the 17-mile scenic drive. It was a perfect slow couple of days.
Before heading home, we some took sunset photos on the beach in Carmel and then had dinner on the patio at our favourite dog-friendly restaurant, Casanova.
It was the perfect end to a really nice, relaxing Christmas trip.