The reason for the trip - if one really needs a reason to visit Santa Barbara - was to get a tour of a grand hotel that is in the latter stages of renovation; I'll address that in a subsequent post.
But as the title of this post sets forth, I'm going to write about one feature of Santa Barbara that is quite well known, and then two other less known things.
Santa Barbara County Courthouse
The courthouse competes with the Mission for the title of most photographed landmark in Santa Barbara. Completed in 1929, it replaced an earlier courthouse destroyed in the devastating earthquake that took place in June 1925 and leveled most of downtown Santa Barbara. In the aftermath of the earthquake, the city intentionally rebuilt in the Spanish Colonial Revival style.
Not unlike Yosemite where you can just point your camera and shoot, knowing that any shot will be spectacular because of the subject, the same is true of this manmade structure landscaped in a commensurately beautful way. I never tire of this building and its surroundings.
Here is a selection of exterior and interior photos I took. Is it Spain or is it California? - you decide.
From the El Mirador tower looking to the Santa Ynez Mountains
An interior stairway
Two obscure things about Santa Barbara
From the sublime courthouse we'll switch the light on to illuminate two major enterprises that began in Santa Barbara. One of them is no longer major, but the other one remains so and continues to grow. Both of these are American commercial cultural touchstones.
Sambo's began modestly in Santa Barbara at one beachfront location in 1957.
The original property has held up well over the years, and sports a kind of Polynesian effect what with its palm trees. Quite appropriate for a motel that opened in 1962.