Santa Barbara Thanksgiving Activities

Although Santa Barbara’s fantastic climate can often trick us into thinking summer is a year round affair, the holiday season has arrived, whether we’re ready or not!  Fortunately, Santa Barbara is packed with fantastic holiday activities for people of all ages this time of year. Here are a few highlight of some of the area’s best events and activities. With Turkey Day fast approaching, the guides at Santa Barbara Adventure compiled a short list of must-do activities for you and your loved ones over the next couple of weekends:

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1)      Looking for a way to get the kids and in-laws out of the house on Thanksgiving Day? Send them to the Santa Barbara Zoo for their Thanksgiving Day Pumpkin SmashAt 10:00 AM on November 22nd, the SB zookeepers are going to give many of the animals, including the elephants and gorillas, pumpkins to play with, just to see what happens! This is sure to be a hit, and will undoubtedly add a new and fun twist to the already incredible experience that is visiting our beautiful local zoo.

2)      After the holiday is over, take a break and let someone else do the driving, thinking, and meal prep for a day by signing up for a Santa Ynez Valley wine country tour! You can rest assured knowing we were recently voted as Finalist for the best ‘Santa Barbara Wine Tour Company’ by readers of the Santa Barbara Independent, and have a variety of wine tours that fit any taste and personality. For those hoping to enjoy the crisp fall air, exploring the wine country by bicycle is a fantastic opportunity for the whole family, especially those trying to burn off that third serving of stuffing. However, if you are looking to treat yourself to a unique wine tour, check out the Tasty Cupcake and Wine Tour, where participants enjoy great wine, world-class wineries, and the best cupcakes this side of the Mississippi.

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3)      Holiday shopping at its best – Santa Barbara will host its first-ever European-style Christmas night market! Santa Barbara Night Market is beginning November 23rd, with State Street full of holiday themed décor, live music, carolers, food, beverages and all the best products the Central Coast has to offer. 4-10pm.

4) If you are looking for a restaurant to enjoy Thanksgiving Dinner while visiting Santa Barbara, there are quite a few options. A few of our favorites: The Wine Cask, The Stonehouse and Bella Vista at the Four Season Biltmore. There are several other options but restaurants do tend to book up quickly for the holiday, so make your reservation early.

5) For the adventurous at heart, you may opt for a holiday of excitement with turkey sandwiches and ocean mist in your face. For an amazing day at sea, the Channel Islands National Park is just a few miles off the coast of California. Ferry boats and kayaking tours are available throughout the Thanksgiving holiday weekend. The island offers hiking, bird watching, snorkeling and much more. Call our office to check available tours and island camping options.

 Photo by http://montecitobirnamwood.com/

Photo by http://montecitobirnamwood.com/

6) Head over to the Santa Barbara Botanical Gardens for a lovely fall-time stroll. The garden’s 78 acres encompass a variety of displays as well as natural coast live oak and riparian woodlands. Their November events include a morning bird walk, gray water 101, yoga in the garden and more.

7) While you won’t be skiing down the slopes of Santa Barbara this holiday season, you can still get in the spirit of winter by attending a film at the Lobero Theater: Face of Winter, the 69th installment from Warren Miller Entertainment presented by Volkswagen, will bring new and veteran athletes alike in this exciting ski and snowboard movie. Tuesday, November 27th, 7:30pm.

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Photos courtesy of: Zoo Borns, Active Rentals, UC Berkley ,

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Source: https://www.independent.com/news/2018/feb/...

Royalty Visits Santa Barbara

The first royal visit of note occurred in December 1882, when the Marquis of Lorne and his wife, Princess Louise, arrived. The marquis was governor general of Canada, and Louise was a daughter of Queen Victoria of England. The couple stayed at the Arlington Hotel, which spared no expense in seeing that the visitors enjoyed the very best. The royal retinue had six adjoining suites on the second floor, redecorated with new furniture, carpeting, draperies, and wallpaper. The couple enjoyed clear views of the Old Mission in one direction and the blue Pacific to the east. Servants were housed in an adjoining wing of the hotel.

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During their visit to the Old Mission, Louise was allowed to enter the garden, which at that time was off-limits to women. They took carriage trips out to the Mesa, the beach, and Montecito. They attended performances at the Lobero Theatre and made the social rounds. Their 13-day stay remains the longest royal visit to Santa Barbara.

More than 500 people greeted King Kalākaua of Hawai‘i when his train arrived in January 1891. Three carriages elegantly decorated with golden harness transported the royal party to the Arlington. The king visited the Ellwood Cooper ranch in Goleta and was fascinated by its olive oil processing plant. A formal dress ball was held in the king’s honor at the Arlington with the crème de la crème of Santa Barbara society. Tickets went for three dollars. The king had taken ill earlier that day and only stayed through the first dance. He decided to cut his California tour short, but his health continued to worsen. He died at age 54 in San Francisco only two weeks after his visit here.

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Some 5,000 Santa Barbarans gathered at the depot on October 11, 1919, to meet King Albert and Queen Elisabeth of Belgium. The two were unassuming people and loved to mingle with the locals with a lack of security unthinkable today.

The royal couple and their son, Prince Leopold, stayed with the William Bliss family at their Montecito estate, Casa Dorinda. Almost immediately, the young royals made for the beach, where the queen enjoyed the sun and surf in a bathing suit of “foreign style.”

The next day, the king took a spin in one the Loughead brothers’ seaplanes. The Lougheads later changed the spelling of their last name to Lockheed. Prince Leopold took off on a motorcycle ride to Summerland. When the bike broke down, he tinkered with it until the engine came back to life.

 Photo by http://montecitobirnamwood.com/

Photo by http://montecitobirnamwood.com/

Other jaunts included the Old Mission, a Goleta Valley walnut ranch (walnuts were a favorite of the king), the public library, and a walk down State Street. During the latter, Albert treated himself to an ice-cream soda. A visit to the Flying A movie studios resulted in the king being captured on film. He then watched his “performance” in that day’s “rushes.”

The entire city was entranced by the openness and energy of the Belgians. A short time after the visit, the City Council decreed that a portion of what is now Alameda Padre Serra be named King Albert Boulevard. That section of road became part of APS in 1932. The next crowned head of Europe would visit 51 years later, when Queen Elizabeth was honored by the city.

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A look back at Birnam Woods History

William H. Crocker, member of the famous railroad and banking family, was involved in a number of business enterprises on the South Coast. One of these enterprises was a large lemon ranch in Montecito, the Crocker-Sperry Ranch, also known as Las Fuentes (The Springs). The packing house was the operational center of the ranch; it now serves as the clubhouse for the Birnam Wood Golf Club.

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In 1887, Crocker; his mother-in-law, Caroline Sperry; and John Cutting bought more than 218 acres around the area where East Valley Road and Sheffield Drive intersect today. Originally the trio had plans for a housing development of 33 parcels, but real estate prices crashed in the late 1880s, and they turned to ranching.

After Cutting left the partnership, Crocker and Sperry decided to plant most of the ranch in lemons. Some 25,000 olive trees were cleared off the land to make way for 28,000 lemon trees, and, in 1891, construction began on a packing house. The ranch had three reservoirs, which could hold some 3,000,000 gallons.

The three-story, 10,000-square-foot packing house was made of cut stone. The architect was Arthur Page Brown, who had designed the Crocker family mansion in San Francisco and would design the five houses that make up Crocker Row in the 2000 block of Garden Street. The facility went into operation in 1894; masonry costs came to $6,000.

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The company paid close attention to market prices. If prices were high, the green fruit was placed in heated rooms to quickly ripen and be shipped out. If the market was sluggish, the fruit could be stored in cooler facilities until prices improved. The packing house served not only Las Fuentes, but ranches up and down the South Coast until it closed in 1942.

A new partner appeared in 1894, with the arrival of Andre Poniatowski, a Pole of noble lineage who married into the Sperry family. The ranch prospered; by the early 1900s, it had grown to more than 250 acres, most of which were planted in lemons, although grain was also raised. Avocados would later be added to the mix. It was one of the largest lemon ranches in the state.

In 1943, the ranch came into the hands of the four Poniatowski sons, one of whom, Casimir, became ranch manager. The ranch continued to produce lemons until 1964, when the East Valley Ranch Company, headed by Robert McLean and William “Pete” Sears, bought the property. McLean, a former president of the Associated Press, was publisher of the Santa Barbara News-Press. Sears was a local Realtor. The partners’ plan to build houses on the ranch harked back to the original idea for the property.

 Photo by http://montecitobirnamwood.com/

Photo by http://montecitobirnamwood.com/

The centerpiece of the development was an 18-hole golf course designed by Robert Trent Jones, one of the world’s foremost golf course architects. An ardent reader of Shakespeare, McLean took a line from Macbeth and named the property Birnam Wood.

The packing house, by now in sad shape, was earmarked to become the clubhouse. The top two floors were removed and a second story rebuilt with steel reinforcing. The club opened in 1967 and soon after the first lots offered for sale. Echoes of Las Fuentes remain, not only in the packing house/clubhouse, but in the lemon trees that still dot the property.

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The Monarch Spreads its Wings

It’s always comforting to see an old face in a new place, so Santa Barbara should be mighty happy with The Monarch, the second of Phillip Frankland Lee and Margarita Kallas-Lee’s four concepts opening throughout 2018 in the Montecito Inn. The managing chef is David Rosner, whom locals know from his time at the Wine Cask, Café Luck, Big Eye, and The Shop and the worldly wise will recognize from stints with Daniel Boulud and Gordon Ramsay.

 Image: The Monarch Gallery Images

Image: The Monarch Gallery Images

“My title is managing chef, but I’m the ‘ops guy,’” explained Rosner, who’s managing the kitchen, bar, dining room, and more. “Phillip and Margarita own the restaurant, but I’ll be overseeing the day-to-day of everything they do on the Central Coast.” After all, the Scratch | Restaurant empire is based in Encino, so the Lees have a lot of ground to cover.

After meeting through a mutual friend, Lee and Rosner hit it off immediately. “What he wanted to do was a dream of mine, too,” said Rosner. “It’s the breaking bread idea — people come in to enjoy a feast taking.”

He was also jazzed about the emphasis on regional purveyors: The menu’s back page is a greatest hits of tri-county farms and fisherpeople, and the wine list lasers in on locals (think Tatomer, Tercero, and Tyler, just for the Ts). Said Rosner of such regional pride, “I’ve lived here for almost 10 years now, and it’s become my home.”

    Chef David Rosner (left) is running day-to-day operations for owners Phillip Frankland Lee and Margarita Kallas-Lee at The Monarch in the Montecito Inn.

 

Chef David Rosner (left) is running day-to-day operations for owners Phillip Frankland Lee and Margarita Kallas-Lee at The Monarch in the Montecito Inn.

 The Monarch interior

The Monarch interior

As for the food, it’s focused, flavor forward, and gorgeous without being frou-frou. It would be easy to not get past the sea urchin spread (with uni from Stephanie Mutz, of course) — a briny blast tempered just a tad with alpine cheese and olive oil. But then there’s also white sea bass wrapped in kombu that’s almost certainly the best seaweed eating experience you’ll ever have.

And when a kitchen gets to cook in a wood-burning hearth, it can do some amazing things. “The list of what the live fire gives you is endless; it’s a scroll,” Rosner enthused. “Cooking with live fire brings in that home feeling. We spend countless hours at work, and it becomes our home, so we want people to come in and feel as if they’re eating at our houses.” That’s one reason much of the food is run from the open kitchen by the chefs themselves — they want to make that personal connection.

The Monarch Interior

To Rosner, The Monarch is like dining at Grandma’s house. “You knew you were having steak or chicken or fish, but you didn’t know what else would be on that beautiful table,” he said, explaining that the main dishes are accompanied by a bounty of sharable sides that change based on the farmers’ markets. “You weren’t just having that protein but all these sides, and you were feasting together.”

As for the name, it’s not just about the restaurant’s proximity to Butterfly Beach. It comes from something that long-ago Montecito Inn owner Charlie Chaplin once said, now emblazoned on the menu: “In the light of our egos, we are all dethroned monarchs.” But at least for one night, the easy elegance and class of The Monarch allows us all to be treated like royalty.

1295 Coast Village Rd.; 869-0789; themonarchmontecito.com

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by GEORGE YATCHISIN

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Source: https://www.independent.com/news/2018/aug/...

Old Spanish Days Fiesta

Old Spanish Days Fiesta draws large and loyal crowds to Santa Barbara year after year, in celebration of Santa Barbara’s heritage and traditions. From Aug. 1 to 5, the streets of Santa Barbara are bursting with music, dancing, time-honored traditions, authentic cuisine, and so much more.

Visitors are encouraged to immerse themselves in the history, culture, spirit and merriment that is Old Spanish Days. Watch the parade, dance in the street, and eat and eat until you can eat no more. Most importantly, don’t forget to join in the fun of cascarones. This time-honored tradition of cracking a confetti-filled egg on a friend’s head will never get old.

 Image: The Mercury News 

Image: The Mercury News 

To maximize your Fiesta fun, here is a list of must-visit events when traveling to Santa Barbara for Old Spanish Days 2018:

WEDNESDAY, AUG. 1

Fun for All at El Mercado del Norte
Located at Mackenzie Park on the corner of State and Las Positas Streets, El Mercado del Norte kicks off the Old Spanish Days festivities Wednesday and continues on through the weekend! Enjoy live music, tons of delicious food vendors, carnival rides, and then cool off in the beer garden. Stroll through the Fiesta Bazaar for memorable keepsakes, and your kids will love the colorful adornments and exciting carnival games to play. (3098 La Positas Road, Santa Barbara, CA 93105)

La Fiesta Pequeña, 8 p.m.
No backdrop could be more picturesque than Old Mission Santa Barbara. As a colorful August sun sets slowly behind the “Queen of the Missions,” know that you are a part of history, as the Old Mission Santa Barbara has been home to the official opening of Old Spanish Days since 1927. Family and friends bring blankets and picnics to sit upon the Mission lawn, as they watch La Fiesta Pequeña, “Little Fiesta,” a colorful, historical program that includes traditional songs and dances from Californios, Flamenco, Spanish classical and Mexican folklorico. (2201 Laguna Street, Santa Barbara, CA 93105)

 Image: Noozhawk

Image: Noozhawk

 Image: Pintrest 

Image: Pintrest 

THURSDAY, AUG. 2

El Mercado de la Guerra, 11 a.m. – 11 p.m.
Spend your Thursday afternoon strolling through a colorful Mexican market to feast on Spanish and Mexican-American foods, shop for crafts and souvenirs to take back home, and enjoy live entertainment all day and into the early evening. Can’t make it on Thursday? Don’t worry, this Mercado is open from Wednesday, Aug. 1 to Saturday, Aug. 4, and is located in De La Guerra Plaza, on the first block of East De la Guerra Street, Santa Barbara, CA 93101. (0 East De la Guerra Street, Santa Barbara, CA 93101)

FRIDAY, AUG. 3

El Desfile Histórico (Historical Parade), 12 p.m. ‘noon’
Now in its 94th year, the Fiesta Historical Parade is a cherished tradition in Santa Barbara and is one of the nation’s largest equestrian parades, featuring over 600 horses, antique carriages, coaches and wagons.

Grab a spot and set your seats up ahead of time along State Street. From historic floats to historical reenactment, sit back and cheer, as you’ll be in clear view of this parade from the heart of downtown Santa Barbara. Starting at West Cabrillo Blvd to State Street, the parade will then finish at 1500 State Street.

Loquita’s Parade-Watching Fiesta Party, 11:00am – 2:30pm
Nab a prime spot of real estate for watching El Desfile Histórico from the air-conditioned interior of Loquita and dig into a Fiesta-inspired lunch featuring authentic bocadillos, paella, postres and Fiesta party favors. Don’t miss Loquita’s all-you-can-drink signature sangria along with a live Flamenco performance by Zermeño Dance Academy at 1:30pm. And for your little ones, cascarón decorating – traditional Fiesta confetti eggs – will keep them occupied while you soak up the colorful music and tradition. (202 State St, Santa Barbara, CA 93101)

Tacos & Tequila at Court of Califia, Friday Aug. 3, 11:00am-2:00pm
Looking for authentic street tacos and chilled tequila to stay cool during Fiesta? Hotel Californian will be throwing their first ever Tacos & Tequila affair where you can savor juicy carne asada and sip on a salty Cadillac margarita while basking in the sun. Satisfy your taco craving and relish in the energy of Old Spanish Days at the Court of Califia (located directly adjacent to Goat Tree), and don’t miss the melt-in-your-mouth churros con chocolate. (36 State St, Santa Barbara, CA 93101)

Our Lady of Guadalupe Mercado, 11 a.m. – 9 p.m.
Authentic, flavorful and entertaining, one of the absolute best traditions of fiesta is enjoyed at Our Lady of Guadalupe Mercado. While this Mercado is open Friday to Sunday, serving up authentic Mexican cuisine, we suggest heading over after the El Desfile Historico. This way, you’ll beat crowds and get a delicious taste of what Old Spanish Days is all about. (227 N Nopal St, Santa Barbara, CA 93103)

Fiesta at Paseo Nuevo, Various Times
All Fiesta long, join Paseo Nuevo in downtown Santa Barbara as they celebrate Old Spanish Day’s Fiesta with Flamenco dance performances and live music in Center Court. (651 Paseo Nuevo, Santa Barbara, CA 9310)

 

 Image: LIFE IN SB

Image: LIFE IN SB

SATURDAY, AUG. 4

Annual El Desfile De Los Niños (Children’s Parade), 10 a.m.
This parade is too cute and too charming to miss! Parading down State Street, from Victoria Street to Ortega Street, children and parents of Santa Barbara dress in traditional costumes to celebrate the rich culture of the area.

Casa Cantina, 12 p.m. – 12 a.m.
For those who are 21 and over, celebrate Fiesta where it all began, as Santa Barbara Trust for Historic Preservation presents Casa Cantina in the courtyard of the historic Casa de la Guerra. All you need to do is kick back, relax, sip a cold drink, and celebrate at the home of Fiesta. And should you want to come back again and again, Casa Cantina is also open Wednesday, Aug. 1 to Saturday, Aug. 4. ( 15 E De La Guerra St, Santa Barbara, CA 93101)

Live Flamenco Dancing in the Funk Zone, 1:00pm and 5:45pm
Zermeño Dance Academy, one of the largest all-age dance groups to participate in Old Spanish Days, will have two free performances in the parking lot of Santa Barbara Wine Collective and Figueroa Mountain Brewery Co. Bring the whole family to watch the impeccably coordinated dancers whirl and twirl their colorful traditional garb and enjoy wine by the glass from Santa Barbara Wine Collective.

 Image: Santa Barbara Homes and Lifestyle

Image: Santa Barbara Homes and Lifestyle

SUNDAY, AUG. 5

West Coast Symphony’s 46th Annual Free Fiesta Concert, 3:30 p.m.
Held in the beautiful Sunken Gardens at the Santa Barbara Courthouse, these festivities comprise an afternoon of beautiful music conducted by Dr. Michael Shasberger. Bring the family, pack a picnic and snacks, and don’t forget about a blanket or lawn chairs for optimal viewing. (1100 Anacapa Street, Santa Barbara, CA 93101)

Rodeo Performance (Final Event), 2 p.m.
Giddy-up for a good time and the rodeo, at Fiesta’s final event at Earl Warren Showgrounds. Excitement and entertainment are a guarantee as riders compete in Bareback Riding, Tie-down Roping, Steer Stopping, Team Penning, Mutton Bustin’ and Saddle Bronco Riding, plus PRCA Team Roping, Barrel-Racing, and Bull Riding. (3400 Calle Real, Santa Barbara, CA 93105)

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Summer LotusFest! 2018

There is no better place for a party than Lotusland! A wine and beer tasting festival in Santa Barbara’s most exquisite setting. Join the Santa Barbara community for an extraordinary afternoon of libations, live music and delectable hors d’oeuvres as we celebrate the spectacular flower that is Lotusland’s namesake. 

 One of Lotus Land's exquisite gardens | Image: www.lotusland.org

One of Lotus Land's exquisite gardens | Image: www.lotusland.org

This is a unique opportunity to spend an afternoon exploring the garden while sampling some of the area’s finest wines and beers. The celebration will take place on July 8th from 2:00pm to 6:00pm. The event includes musical guests Tom Ball and Kenny Sultan. Tickets are $100 for members and $115 non-members.

 Image: Paradise Retreats 

Image: Paradise Retreats 

 Image: Hej Doll

Image: Hej Doll

Enjoy Tastings from These Very Fine Wineries and Breweries

BEER
Santa Barbara Brew Co
The BrewHouse
Draughtsmen Ale Works
Figueroa Mountain
Firestone Walker

WINE
Santa Barbara Winery
RiverBench
Municipal Winemakers
Lumen
Jaffurs Wine Celars
Brewer-Clifton & Hilliard Bruce
Clemintine Carter
Whitcraft Winery
Potek Winery
Brander
SB Wine Collective
The Hilt, The Pairing, Jonata, Fess Parker, Babcock, Brewer Clifton
Carr Winery
Cypher Winery
Ficklin

 Lotus Pond | Image:  KCSB - Dreamhosters

Lotus Pond | Image: KCSB - Dreamhosters

Madame Ganna Walska, a well-known Polish opera singer and socialite, purchased the Montecito, California estate in 1941 and spent the next 43 years creating Lotusland, which is now recognized as one of the ten best gardens in the world. The spectacular collections of exotic plants throughout the 37-acre property are a very personal expression of Walska’s penchant for the dramatic, the unexpected, and the whimsical. Lotusland is home to several extraordinary plant collections and around each corner there is the unexpected – a surprise of unique garden design and plant species. After her death in 1984, Lotusland became a nonprofit botanic garden and opened to the public in 1993. Our educational programs serve the Santa Barbara community and our innovative horticultural practices are shared with botanic gardens and garden-lovers around the world.

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Santa Barbara’s Adobe Construction History

With the arrival of the Spanish colonists, Santa Barbara came to be built with the oldest-known construction material: mud. Santa Barbara’s oldest buildings were made from adobe brick, the word “adobe” deriving from the Spanish adobar, “to plaster.” These early settlers found a landscape largely devoid of trees that could yield lumber suitable for building. An alternative building material had to be found: adobe brick.

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The central ingredient in adobe brick is clay-like soil. The physically arduous task of making adobe bricks began by digging a pit into which soil was thrown and water added. Once these materials were blended into a smooth mixture, straw and sand were added, serving to bind and strengthen the adobe. The sand also aided in the even drying of the adobe bricks so they would not warp or curl. Hitting upon the correct proportions of soil, water, straw, and sand was vital; otherwise, the bricks might crumble or be too soft. Trial and error was often necessary until just the right formula was achieved.

The adobe was then poured into wooden forms to create the bricks. Once removed from the forms, the bricks were set aside to dry. Depending on the size of the bricks, which generally averaged anywhere from 50 to 60 pounds, they could take as much as a month to completely dry. Once the bricks had achieved a consistent color throughout, they were ready for use. A surprising number of bricks was needed to build even small structures; a one-room home could take as many as 5,000 bricks.

Water is both a key ingredient and the great enemy of adobe; untreated bricks can dissolve. Construction of a proper foundation was very important, for the foundation not only gave a building a firm base upon which to rest but also protected the adobe walls from groundwater. Each wall had beneath it a trench filled with rounded stones covered with mud.

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Adobe walls were thick by modern standards, around two feet for smaller buildings. Two-story adobes were fairly rare. To give the walls greater strength, they were covered with a coating of sand and mud. Window openings were usually small, and these often were fitted with wooden bars or covered with a steer hide or blanket. Glass was virtually unknown. Wooden floors were atypical. Most floors were packed earth with a coating of steer’s blood to make them hard and smooth. New coatings were periodically reapplied.

The next step was construction of the pitched roof. A ridgepole ran the length of the building and was connected to the side walls of the adobe by rafters. Saplings were placed perpendicular to the rafters to create a crosshatch effect. Atop this was placed thatch, and atop that, curved tiles of kiln-fired adobe, laid in an overlapping fashion.

Finally, the adobe walls were sealed with a plaster made of lime, which was produced by firing seashells. The lime was mixed with sand and water, and the mixture applied to the walls with bare hands. As the mixture dried, it would harden, forming a protective coating. This coating tended to flake and so was periodically reapplied. The finished adobe was cool in the summer and warm in winter and proved to be quite durable. Santa Barbara’s historic adobes have survived any number of earthquakes over the decades.

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The increasing influx of Americans to Santa Barbara after 1850 caused a decline in the popularity of adobe construction; the newcomers wanted houses that reminded them of home. In some cases, adobes were covered with wood siding, sometimes for aesthetic purposes or as protection from the elements. Construction of Stearns Wharf in 1872 allowed for increased imports of lumber and hastened the arrival of Victorian architecture. Many adobes succumbed to development. For example, the imposition of the grid pattern of streets in the early 1850s led to the razing of any number of adobes.

Yet the architecture of modern-day Santa Barbara, with its white walls and red-tile roofs, very much harks back to the city’s adobe days. Outstanding examples of Santa Barbara’s Spanish Colonial style and its variants include the El Paseo complex, City Hall, The Arlington Theatre, and any number of commercial buildings and private residences that dot the city landscape.

In many ways, Santa Barbara’s adobe days live on, but how many of us know of the toil and trouble it took to construct Santa Barbara way back when?

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Beverly Palmer, Santa Barbara

Wildflowers, Effective All-Natural Pesticide!

Spring is here, which means now is the perfect time to make plans for your garden. And if there's one thing you should be thinking about adding into the mix this year, it's wildflowers.

 Spring Wildflower :: Santa Barbara

Spring Wildflower :: Santa Barbara

Wildflowers aren't just pretty — they're good for your garden, too. Flowers like oxeye daisies, red clovers, poppies, and wild carrots can serve as all-natural pesticides by attracting useful insects to your garden, according to Modern Farmer. These "good" bugs then protect your beautiful blooms and veggies by preying on destructive pests.

Wildflowers are a "secret" that farmers have relied on for years, planting the pesticide alternative on the perimeters of their farms to protect crops. But more recently, many farmers have begun experimenting with a new method: planting strips of wildflowers right alongside their crops and vegetation.

 Santa Barbara Coastline :: Spring flowers

Santa Barbara Coastline :: Spring flowers

 Botanic Gardens Meadow :: Spring

Botanic Gardens Meadow :: Spring

Fifteen farms in England have been testing the strategy over the past five years, and they found that the wildflowers attracted all the right kinds of bugs to the right areas, according to The Guardian. While more research is needed to understand how beneficial the practice is for large-scale farms, a previous study published by Proceedings of the Royal Society B found the method to be effective at reducing pesticide use and plant damage caused by insects.

What's more, wildflowers are also a natural way to enhance your soil's health and increase your garden's yield, according to the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA). They're also low-maintenance and tend to need less water. So whether you're growing veggies, crops, bulbs, or flowers in your backyard this year, consider skipping the toxic stuff and opting for this organic pesticide instead.

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Santa Barbara Awarded $10 Million Desalination Grant

The city of Santa Barbara has been awarded a $10 million grant by the California Department of Water Resources (DWR) to offset the $72 million cost of reactivating the Charles E. Meyer Desalination Plant.

 Santa Barbara Desalination Plant Aerial

Santa Barbara Desalination Plant Aerial

The desalination plant has been a permanent part of the city’s water supply portfolio since 1994, and in its reactivated state has been supplying water to city water customers since May 2017.

The plant serves a key role in providing a high-quality, local, drought-proof supply that is available for health and safety needs despite rainfall conditions.

During reactivation, state-of-the-art technology and design practices were incorporated to minimize electrical demand and environmental impacts. The plant currently produces 3 million gallons of drinking water per day.

This is equivalent to 3,125 acre-feet of water annually or about 30 percent of the city’s demand.

 Santa Barbara Desalination Plant

Santa Barbara Desalination Plant

 Charles Meyer Desalination Facility Sign

Charles Meyer Desalination Facility Sign

“This grant provides a direct financial benefit to our customers,” said Joshua Haggmark, city water resources manager.

“Now in the seventh year of drought, the cost of providing water service has risen dramatically to ensure sufficient water is available to meet the needs of the community," he said.

"This grant will go a long way in helping to minimize the need for a large rate increase in the near future while providing much needed funding for water infrastructure,” he said.

DWR’s Round 4 Water Desalination Grant Program is funded by Proposition 1 which was passed by California voters as part of the Water Quality, Supply, and Infrastructure Improvement Act of 2014.

Proposition 1 provided $7.5 billion in funding to improve California’s water reliability through increased water supplies, protection and restoration of watersheds, water quality improvement, and increased flood protection.

Of that funding, $100 million in grants were set aside for brackish or seawater desalination projects.  

The city would like to acknowledge and thank State Sen. Hannah-Beth Jackson for her support of Prop. 1 and her support of Santa Barbara’s work toward drought resiliency and desalination.

Jackson was instrumental in making it possible for the city to compete for the grant funds given the accelerated scheduled for reactivation of the desal plant.

“As we work to address our region’s ongoing drought, it is critical that we invest in maintaining a reliable and safe water supply. I am proud that I was able to assist the city of Santa Barbara with securing this grant, as it helps ensure the city has a diverse and drought-resilient water system,” Jackson said.

For more information on the desal plant, visit www.SantaBarbaraCA.gov/Desal or call the water resources division, 564-5378.

— Madeline Wood for city of Santa Barbara.

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Beverly Palmer, Santa Barbara

Green Program Expands to Bike Fix-It Stations

The Towbes Group, as part of its green program, has installed a bike fix-it station at Pacific Oaks Apartments, corner of Hollister Avenue and Pacific Oaks Drive, adjacent to the new bike lanes installed by the city of Goleta along Hollister Avenue.

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This is the second, of five bike fix-it stations installed to date. The Towbes group said it expects to complete the installation of bike fix-it stations across the residential and commercial properties in Goleta by August.

Many residents at Towbes Group communities throughout Santa Barbara County live within biking distance to their work locations.

The Pacific Oaks Apartments community is within five miles of Goleta’s major employers.

Among working Pacific Oaks residents, 68 percent work within five miles of their apartments. A larger group, 84 percent of working Pacific Oaks residents, work within 12 miles of their apartments, the Towbes Group reports.

These figures are consistent with all Towbes apartment communities in Goleta, Towbes Group said.

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The proximity of Pacific Oaks Apartments, along with the new and modified bike paths in the city of Goleta, makes bike commuting from this and all Towbes Group properties in Goleta easy, Towbes Group said.

“We want to foster a community that uses alternatives to driving, and the investments of bike fix-it stations, bike parking, and miles of bike paths around us are further evidence of what businesses, municipalities and individuals can all do to make it easier to leave the car at home,” said Craig Zimmerman, president of The Towbes Group.

The Towbes Green Program is a company-wide initiative to meet, and in some cases exceed, energy- and water-efficiency standards at new and existing properties; support alternative modes of transportation; and encourage environmentally-conscious living, Towbes Group said.

Currently, nearly 60 percent of the Towbes Group residential communities are Green Business certified, with two new certifications earned each year, the company reports.

To mark the installation, and bring awareness to the importance of bike use on the Central Coast for a positive impact on the environment, a commuter bike was donated by The Towbes Group. Bici Centro and the Santa Barbara Bike Coalition donated a commuter bike-apparel kit. Both were raffled.

By Jessica Doss for the Towbes Group

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Beverly Palmer, Santa Barbara

#805Strong: What to Do and How to Help

The biggest question most of us are asking concerning the #thomasflood in Montecito, is what can we do and how can we help? Below are a list of disaster relief events that you can support, which will go towards various relief funds and will help rebuild our city after the devastation. Let us stand together to see #santabarbarastrong again. 

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1/22: The 37th Annual Messiah Sing-Along This event will be presented as a statement of unity and solidarity of our community in the wake of the recent devastating disasters. All proceeds will go toward the Unity Shoppe. 7:30pm. First Presbyterian Church, 21 E. Constance Ave. $15-$20. Call 965-4122.

1/26: Metal Concert for Victims of the Thomas Fire and Mudslide Ventura metal band Bone Maggot will headline this concert to raise funds for the recent disasters. Also performing will be bands Dark Vital Flames, Mulholland, and Slow Down. 8pm. SOhO Restaurant & Music Club, 1221 State St. $8-$10. Call 962-7776. sohosb.com

1/27: Santa Barbara Strong Benefit Concert Area high school students have come together to put on a benefit concert where all proceeds will be donated to the United Way Thomas Fire and Flood Fund. Enjoy performances by soloists, Jazz Villains, and Dos Pueblos Jazz Choir. 7pm. Elings Performing Arts Ctr., Dos Pueblos High School, 7266 Alameda Ave., Goleta. Donation: $10. Email santabarbarastrong@gmail.com.

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1/28: Quire of Voyces: The Mysteries of Christmas: A Healing Concert for Our CommunityThe Quire will sing music that soothes and heals. Firefighters and first responders can receive free tickets. 3pm. St. Anthony’s Chapel, Garden Street Academy, 2300 Garden St. $15-$20. Call 965-5935. quireofvoyces.org/concerts

1/28: SoCal Strong Concert for Thomas Fire Victims Fund More than eight bands, including the Tearaways, will perform to raise money for victims of the recent fire. 3-11pm. SOhO Restaurant & Music Club, 1221 State St. $25-$200. Call 962-7776. sohosb.com

2/3: Thomas Fire Benefit Festival! The concert includes the Kevin Costner Band, Olivia Newton-John, Colbie Caillat, Big Bad Voodoo Daddy, and more. VIP includes food, wine and beer (for ages 21+), and the concert. General admission is for the concert only, and kids get in for free. VIP: 2-10pm. $200. GA: 4-10pm. Free-$50. Plaza Park, 651 E. Thompson Blvd., Ventura. $50-$200. thomasfirebenefit.com

2/25: Kick Ash Bash Say thank you to our heroic first responders at this massive celebration. All funds collected will go toward all first-responder organizations. Ticket price and on-sale date are to be announced. Noon-6pm. Nesbitt Bella Vista Estate, 2800 Via Real, Summerland. kickashbash.com

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ONGOING: Zodo’s Bowling & Beyond Zodo’s is offering free bowling to residents affected by the mudslide in an attempt to offer a safe and uplifting place to spend time with family. Up to six people can share a lane. Show your ID (with zip code) and receive one complimentary game and shoe rental. 5925 Calle Real, Goleta. Call 967-0128.

ONGOING: S.B. Yoga Center Call to find out about the free and discounted services such as yoga, massage therapy, acupuncture, and cupping for first responders and those affected by the Thomas Fire and mudslide. Specific offers continue through January 31 and February 28. 32 E Micheltorena St. Call 965-6045.

List of events courtesy of Independent.com

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Do you know anyone who is displaced from their home due to the floods and needs help, if so please let me know? 

Beverly Palmer, Santa Barbara

Holiday Traditions

Have you ever wondered where the tradition of putting up a tree for Christmas came from? Or why we light a menorah for Hanukkah? Find out about the interesting origins of many holiday traditions right here.

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Christmas tree: Christmas trees have a long history. During the pre-Christian era, trees symbolized a connection between heaven and Earth, according to AllThingsChristmas.com. Similar ideas are found in the Old Testament - trees symbolized wisdom and life. The first known electrically illuminated Christmas tree was done by Edward H. Johnson, an associate of inventor Thomas Edison, on Dec. 22, 1882. Trees did not become widely popular in the U.S. until the middle of the 18 th century, but have grown steadily in popularity. Every year, between 25 and 30 million Americans celebrate Christmas with trees.

Menorah: Menorah is a Hebrew word meaning "candelabrum." It refers to the nine-branched ceremonial lamp in which the Hanukkah candles are placed and then blessed, according to JOI.org. The menorah originated as a religious symbol in biblical times. Originally, oil was used in the menorah. Over time, candles were substituted for the oil. Today, the menorah is displayed in the window of most Jewish homes.

Christmas Tree

Mishumaa Saba: The Seven Candles, called Mishumaa Saba, are a staple of Kwanzaa tradition. These are ceremonial objects with two primary purposes: to re-create symbolically the sun's power and to provide light. Mishumma Saba is three red, a black and three green candles. The black candle is a celebration of being black, of the unique qualities each person brings to the whole family or community. The green candles are vision candles - candles of hopes, dreams, and promises for the future. The red candles are struggle candles, past candles, candles the color of blood and courage. According to www.OfficialKwanzaaWebsite.org, all seven candles help African-Americans to remember a long struggle against injustice.

Mistletoe: A revered plant, Mistletoe is interesting since it has no roots yet remains green during the cold months of winter. According to AllThingsChristmas.com, Scandinavians associated the plant with Frigga, their goddess of love, and it may be from this that we derive the custom of kissing under the Mistletoe. People believed, and still do now, that those kissed under the Mistletoe had the promise of happiness and good luck in the following year.

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Giving gifts: Giving gifts is a complex and important part of human interaction, especially around the holidays, according to the NYTimes.com. The exchanging of gifts is one of the core aspects of the modern Christmas celebration, making the Christmas season the most profitable time of year for retailers and businesses throughout the world. Christmas gift giving was banned by the Catholic church in the Middle Ages due to its suspected pagan origins. It was later rationalized by the church on the basis that it associated St. Nicholas with Christmas, and that gifts of gold, frankincense and myrrh were given to the infant Jesus. Today, gift giving is a staple of the holiday season, regardless of religious affiliation.

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Beverly Palmer, Santa Barbara