Wednesday, October 3, 2007

It's Settled...

When we strike it rich, we are moving to Santa Barbara!

Last weekend, Troy surprised me for my b-day with a weekend get-away to Santa Barbara. I had no idea how much I would fall in love with this quaint, little city. I thought I loved Laguna Beach, Corona Del Mar, San Diego, etc....BUT, I think Santa Barbara takes the cake for me!

Troy kept this a secret from me until we were driving up there. He made lodging arrangements at the most darling craftsman bungalow just a walk away from the State Street shops. He also had prepared stacks of information about possible activities we could do while there. I was impressed with all the thought he had put into this

On Friday evening, we strolled down to the Santa Barbara Courthouse (only two blocks from our bungalow). The architecture of this city is stunning! Everywhere you turn, there is something spectacular to look at. We spent some time on the courthouse grounds, and then climbed up the clock tower for some breathtaking views.

We also walked down State Street perusing the variety of shops. We both agreed we could have spent two days on this street. We ate dinner at a Mexican Restaurant tucked away on a side street. Delicioso!

These next few pictures are out of order, BUT...

On Saturday, we woke up early and went for a hike in the mountains above the Mission.
Jack doesn't like being contained in backpacks, strollers, carseats, etc. these days, so our 5-mile hike got cut to about 3 miles. It was still fun to be surrounded by nature. Jack liked it when leaves brushed by his face. Hopefully, it wasn't poisen oak!

We (or I) enjoyed taking some pictures by this old stone bridge at the trailhead. It finally felt like fall to me with the crisp weather and the leaves blowing by. Jack was dressed like he could be a model for Cabelas or some Bass Pro Shop. ha.

After our hike, we went back to the house to relax and nap. We got a call from my parents who happened to be passing through S.B. on their way to Orange County. We decided to meet them for lunch down by the pier. After a walk down the pier, and dreaming of eating fresh crab (which was WAY out of our budget), we decided to eat at a pizza joint. Good times, good company.

After sending my parents on their way, we walked down to the shore to hang out and relax. Jack loved eating the sand, as usual, and the feeling of it sifting through his fingers.

After lunch, we went up to the Santa Barbara Mission and walked around the grounds. The tour cost 10 bucks, so we opted out. Cheapskates, I guess?! I felt we got our money's worth (free) when the modern day monk walked by in his robes.

Here are the afore mentioned pictures from our hike - two separate days. I forgot to mention that Jack loves to pull Troy's hair while he's in the backpack. That could be good for me in the future, seeing how Troy LOVES to have his hair pulled. Now all we need is for Jack to learn how to give me a good back massage and Troy and I would be off the hook completely.

WOWSERS! This is my longest post EVER. Hang in there!

On Sunday we cruised up to Solvang. It is a little Dutch town tucked away in the middle of nowhere. The streets are adorned with colorful, Danish architecture, cute shops, bakeries for your every desire, and windmills. We got there around 9am, so some of the shops were still closed, but let me tell you...the bakeries were hoppin'! We basically made our trip to Solvang a little taste of Denmark. We hopped from bakery to bakery satisfying our tastebuds with buttery pastries. We tried some abelskeivers, which are these little cakey balls topped with raspberry syrup and powdered sugar. Mmmmm!

Our Little Viking!

From Solvang, we drove through miles of majestic countryside. I felt like Thelma and Louise with the wind blowing through my scarf. Miles upon miles of beauty. Oak trees standing alone along dry, golden hills. Crops of every kind...tomatillos, peppers, tomatoes, grapes, fruit orchards. I really loved all the windmills. After every 10 miles, a new winery would pop up. Even Andrew Firestone's (we think, from The Bachelor). It was a wonderful Sunday drive.

We had such a great time in 2 short days! Thanks to my awesome hubby, who planned such a great vacation for our family! Memories like this are the BEST gift!

Believe it or not, I have more of my favorite pictures posted here! There are LOTS, so scroll down. When you take over 300, it is hard to decide which ones to share.


summer said...

I LOVE SANTA BARBARA!!!! Especially in the fall! Bryan and I went for our anniversary 2 years ago in October and it was awesome! We had the BEST time! Isn't the drive so pretty too? Glad you had a nice 2 day getaway. Nothing is better!!! P.S. That is our dream to move there too... maybe we can buy cottages next door... in our dreams huh?

jackman6 said...

very cute pictures. looks like you had a great time. the pictures of the windmills are awesome, and Jack is a very cute model.

amy cannon said...

After seeing those pictures, your trip seems even better then I had envisioned. Way to go Troy, great planning! You guys live in such an amazing state. So glad you had such a fun birthday!

ali degraff said...

Sorry this blog is so screwed up. On my computer it looks great!

sheena said...

As long as you're planning on striking it rich....can you buy us a home there too!!? So fun! I love the pics!!

Leilani said...

I love Santa Barbara as well. I went to college there. One of my favorite memories is running on the cliffs overlooking the beach with my dog. Unfortunately I was not rich and lived in the scuzzy little town of Isla Vista right next to the college where there are lots of shoes hanging from the electrical wires and old torn up couches in peoples lawn....sometimes with drunk college students sleeping on them. :(

Patience Roney said...

Santa Barbara is awesome. My aunt lived there and went to school there. I love it there also. Also, your pictures are amazing. You guys do such a great job. And HAPPY BIRTHDAY!

kelly southwell said...

WOWZERS! Ali, that lengthy blog was very entertaining and made me wish I was in Santa Barbra...and Solvang, eating yummy pastries! MMMMmmm. I am glad Troy did such a good job keeping it a secret for you...and I'm glad you didn't try to sneak it out of him! What a fun Birthday to remember! And, your pictures are awesome, as always.

Ben and Shara said...

Ali, Believe it or not I did remember that September was your birthday month. I kept thinking that I needed to call. That counts for nothing, but just keep in mind that I had you in mind. Was your birthday the 21st or 27th am I even close?
Happy Late Birthday

ali said...

Thanks shara. You're good. I don't remember anyone's b-days.

It's on the 27th.

Celia and Scott said...

Ali, for your birthday this year, my gift is I'm letting you keep your sweet, thoughtful husband for one more year (then maybe it's my turn -- don't tell my husband. or better yet, TELL my husband, then maybe you can keep Troy and my husband will become a Troy act-alike!)

Amy said...

I love your pictures! You look beautiful Ali! Your family is super cute!

The DeGraff 7 said...

Happy Birthday!!! Now I know when your birthday is. Wasn't someone supposed to do a family calendar with all of this stuff on it? Well, I'm sure one of us will get around to it someday. We'll have to keep a hard copy though, to keep adding in all of the adorable lil' ones that keep coming. Michael's birthday is on Wed. he's going to be 13! I am feeling VERY old. He loved the message Uncle Troy left him on the blog and all of the kids miss you all so much.
That's very cool that you guys had the abelskeivers, I just learned how to make them, it's really easy, if you want the info I can email it to you. We miss Jack SO much! He is so big and absolutely adorable! I LOVE Santa Barbara as well. I took a couple of road trips there with friends as a teenager, I also fell in love with State Street (you know me and my fashion fetish) and the architecture. I think I ate at that Mexican restaurant too. Did you get to see the movie theatre there that is like a lil hacienda on the inside and has lights on the ceiling that look like stars, it is very fun to visit. This is more than a comment now it's become a novel. Love you and take care~Hollie