Ebony Escapes! to Santa Barbara

Lysa Allman-Badwin | 8/14/2014, 2:32 p.m.
We started this summer California road trip series in the beautiful city of Santa Monica, driving in a Jucy Rental, ...
This is just one of the beautiful Spanish Revival- and Moorish-style structures you will see along the Santa Barbara Red Tile Walking Tour, featuring 17 stops and 22 historic adobes dating from the 1700s through the 1800s.

The Santa Barbara Courthouse, built in 1926, actually replaced a Greek Revival-style courthouse damaged in the massive earthquake of 1925. Operating as the seat of local government since 1850, the courthouse draws visitors from around the world to view the spectacular craftsmanship and colors found in its mural room, law library, hall of records, clock gallery and observation tower.

Founded in 1932, the Santa Barbara Historical Museum presents a wide array of permanent and temporary exhibitions, education, research and publication offerings spanning more than 500 years of history, including collections from the Chumash, Mexican, Spanish and American periods, making it a wonderful entity in which to learn about the development of the area. The structure is significant in part because it is housed in a steel-reinforced concrete and adobe structure built in 1965, constructed in the adobe plaster-style using bricks made on site.

Other architecturally significant structures and features in town include the Casa de la Guerra, Hill-Cabrillo Adobe, Santa Barbara Museum of Art, El Presidio, Lobero Theater, Orena Adobes and El Curatel, among others. Many of these entities can be found while embarking upon the 12-block Santa Barbara Red Tile Walking Tour, which features 17 stops and 22 historic adobes dating from the 1700s through the 1800s, a great number of which were built in the Spanish Revival and Moorish architectural styles.

Another highly visited attraction here is to the Channel Islands National Park. Only accessible by a short boat ride or small airplane flight, the park, created by Congress in 1980, encompasses five of the eight California Channel Islands—Anacapa, Santa Cruz, Santa Rosa, San Miguel and Santa Barbara—and is home to the oldest dated human remains in North America. The biologic diversity here features more than 2,000 plant and animal species, of which 145 are found nowhere else in the world, plus a wide array of marine life, including the migration of the blue whale. Activities here include exhibits and gallery spaces at the visitor center, camping, sea kayaking, hiking, camping, whale and bird watching and other activities.

There is a great deal more to see, do and enjoy in Santa Barbara coming up.

Lysa Allman-Baldwin writes for numerous online and print publications, including as the cultural travel writer for www.Examiner.com and as a senior travel writer for SoulOfAmerica.com, an Afrocentric travel website. Lysa can be reached at lallmanbaldwin@kc.rr.com.