Skip to content

Your Cart

Your cart is empty

Travel with Kathryn to Santa Barbara

I am just returning from 72 glorious hours of adult-vacation in Santa Barbara and Montecito with Nick and am feeling rejuvenated and also inspired by all-things Coastal California. The fresh food, outdoors-y lifestyle, clean living, and pared back / simple dressing makes me feel ready to embrace the basics (and lots of wellness) as we approach summer. (No I did not hang with Gwyneth while in Montecito but sure feel like I got a dose of her medicine!). Find below all my tips on where to stay, shop, dine, and explore. Happy Travels!

How to Get There:

We flew direct to LAX (left on the 7am flight and were in before 11am!) and drove up the 101 to Santa Barbara. The drive is scenic and pretty easy if you avoid LA rush hour traffic (which we did). In-the-know-friends have told us flying in / and out of Santa Barbara's small regional airport is also an excellent option.

Where to Stay:

Nick booked El Encanto Hotel (we were celebrating our anniversary) and it was perfect. The grounds were gorgeous, the service was excellent (attentive but not stuffy), breakfasts were delicious, and I could have spent our whole trip in the room/pool/spa had I not been eager to explore more of the surrounding town.

Where to Eat: 

We could have stayed for another week dining on all the fabulous recommendations that a few friends sent in advance. We will need to return to check more off our list but we loved everywhere we dined. Some favorites include:

Field and Fort: We loved our stop at Field and Fort en route to Santa Barbara (about 15 minutes away in the town of Summerland - now that's where I want to live!) The retail space + cafe is a feast for the eyes (and taste buds), they sell all things home (gifts, kitchenware, pantry items) and have a delicious adjacent cafe. 

La Paloma Cafe: We had dinner here our first night and arrived to the sweetest anniversary note from the restaurant (and complimentary tequila cocktails and dessert!) The restaurant celebrates the cuisine of the Californios, early Californian settlers who incorporated Spanish and Mexican influences into indigenous ingredients cooked over fire.

: We didn't realize when joining friends for dinner that Loquita is actually the sister restaurant of La Paloma, but weren't surprised at how much we also enjoyed this meal!

Honor Bar: A few friends recommended Honor Bar and it did not disappoint. The chic corner space in Montecito is perfect for al fresco dining and people-watching or (as we did) sitting at the vibrant, happening bar for cocktails and a bite.

S.Y. Kitchen: S.Y. Kitchen is about 40 minutes north of Santa Barbara in the old cowboy town of Santa Ynez, which kind of feels like it's still stuck in the 1800s. The restaurant however is fresh and modern and delicious. Our pasta and steak salad (post-horse ride) might have been my favorite meal of the trip.

Lucky's Montecito: Last but most certainly not least, we capped the weekend off with Saturday dinner at Lucky's. We were thrilled to even get a table as this was most certainly the happening spot in town. The dirty martinis - shaken with all the theatre you'd want and expect for a fancy cocktail! - and steaks and sides were delicious. Our waiter was phenomenal and the entire experience felt like a throwback to a more glamorous era.

Where to Shop:

There is no shortage of shopping in the Santa Barbara / Montecito area. My favorites included: 

Whistle Club: Whistle Club has carried yours truly for almost all of the 10 years that they've been in existence and embarrassingly, I had never been to the boutique before. It was even better in person! I've always admired owner/buyer Rebecca's thoughtful edit of some of my favorite designers (Rachel Comey, Lou Lou Studio, Eolas, and more) so seeing it IRL was super special. I walked away with a fab new outfit that's perfect for both coasts!  

Upstairs at Pierra Lafond: I had always heard of beloved Santa Barbra / Montecito boutique Wendy Foster (which I certainly recommend visiting for their breezy mix of linens and California-inspired clothing and accessories) but wasn't familiar with the home and gift shop upstairs which features covetable linens, home and gift products from around the globe, and a darling kids section. This is the kind of store that I can't leave empty-handed (resulting in a well-worth-it candle purchase that had me stopped at TSA for over 20 minutes!)

Jake and Jones: Nick was feeling left out from all of my shopping discoveries, so we stopped by the men's store of Jake and Jones. But not before I found their women's storefront (around the corner). They carry a superb brand mix (Marni, Lemaire, Pleats Please, and some French and Japanese brands I wasn't familiar with but excited to learn about). I was reminded of the delight of "discovery" when shopping from small, multi-brand boutiques.

The Nurture Cottage: Because we left Johnny home (with Ruby) for the weekend, we had to stop by the cutest kids' store for a souvenir or two. The Nurture Cottage is adorable and has an impressive selection of tasteful toys and clothes.

 A Little Adventure: There is a lot to do in this area and we certainly didn't have enough time. I wanted to hit up the famous Saturday AM farmer's market, go wine tasting in the "Funk" zone, and do some hikes but will need to return for all this! We did however drive out of town for a half day of horse riding and exploring beautiful Santa Ynez about 45 minutes to the north. 

I am so glad I discovered Vino Vaqueros, a private horseback riding tour in the heart of the Santa Ynez Valley. I relished in feeling very far away from the hustle and bustle of city life and soaking in the expansive, hilly, and peaceful surroundings.    

There is a lot to explore in this area of Santa Barbara wine country - more reasons to return!



Read more

Travel with Lizzie to Bermuda

Travel with Lizzie to Bermuda

I was looking for a long weekend destination where we could spend Peter’s 40th birthday & stumbled upon Cambridge Beaches. A 90-minute flight from NYC (I mean, it’s taken me longer to get uptow...

Read more
Travel with the Twins: West SoHo, NYC

Travel with the Twins: West SoHo, NYC

Our friends at the Dominick Hotel in SoHo recently invited us for a blissful 24-hour staycation in our own backyard. Kathryn and I love this part of West SoHo, where the streets get a little quiete...

Read more
Brand certified