A few weeks ago, Matt and I spent a weekend in beautiful Santa Barbara, California, for the wedding of one of his buddies from high school. Here’s a recap for those of you who enjoy reading travel posts, or for those who are thinking about traveling to Santa Barbara and want some ideas for what to do and where to eat!

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Our trip to Santa Barbara was quick but fun. A huge thank you to Matt’s parents for staying with the kids while we were gone!

We spent most of Friday traveling to California (unfortunately, there wasn’t a direct flight to Santa Barbara from DC so we connected via Phoenix) and arrived just in time for a welcome dinner for wedding guests that evening. I’m already not a night owl so between the time change + a long day of travel I was not exactly feeling energized at this event, but luckily we were able to walk to the dinner from our hotel along the waterfront path and that helped refresh me a bit.

The dinner was at a spot called the Carousel House, which is a beautiful event venue with floor to ceiling windows. Cool space!

I hung in there as long as I could and enjoyed chatting with some of our friends who were also in attendance, and the food was yummy, too. By 9pm west coast time (aka midnight my time) I was very done, though, and thankfully convinced Matt to leave with me!

steak and chicken with veggies and potatoes

On Saturday morning I felt way better and was excited to get out and explore! Matt and I got breakfast in our hotel (the Mar Monte Hotel, which was nice and right across from the ocean), and it hit the spot. Omelette + fruit + espresso for me!

mar monte hotel restaurant omelette and fruit breakfast

After breakfast, Matt headed out to hang out with some of his high school buddies, including the groom, and I went off to meet my friend Gracie, who lives in Santa Barbara, for beach yoga! Gracie and I met through MotherWorthy (amazing program I’ve mentioned before on the blog) and it was such a treat to get to spend some time with her in person instead of on Zoom. 🙂

Beach yoga was wonderful, too! Moving my body after a full day of airplanes felt really good and grounding, and doing it all with a view of the ocean was fantastic (fannetastic!). It was really gray out, but it lent a cozy, calming vibe to the yoga that I didn’t hate. 🙂

santa barbara beach yoga

We took the class through Santa Barbara Beach Yoga and I’d recommend it if you’re ever in the area! We all brought towels to practice on, and the instructor brought headsets for everyone so she didn’t have to yell for everyone to hear her. At first I wasn’t sure about the headsets but I actually ended up loving them – she had soft calming music playing and I had the volume turned down so her voice was really gentle and quiet. I could still hear the waves which was lovely, but it brought me inward and tuned out some of the other noise on the beach which was perfect. A+ experience.

After yoga, Gracie and I biked into the main area of town to get some lunch. Santa Barbara is a gorgeous town that’s really thoughtfully laid out – I loved that the waterfront area was not developed at all (all the hotels and businesses are across the street) and was comprised of a ton of green space and a big biking/walking/running path. It was so lovely!

biking on the waterfront path in santa barbara

My hotel had free bikes for guests which worked out beautifully since Gracie had biked over from her house for yoga, and the main restaurant area would have been a bit of a long walk.

We had lunch at a cute spot called Tamar. I had their Little Gem Fatoush Salad with little gem lettuce, cherry tomatoes, persian cucumbers, pickled red onion, green garbanzo beans, french feta, and crispy pita chips. I added some chicken shawarma to it too, and got some pickled veggies on the side because I can never get enough tart/vinegary flavor.

Delicious! Loved the crunch from the salty pita chips and all the different tastes and textures.

fatoush salad from tamar in santa barbara

After lunch, I said farewell to Gracie and then biked around a bit more on my own to explore before heading back to the hotel to start getting ready for the main event: the wedding!

Funny story: as we were getting ready, Matt realized he forgot his dress pants! Yep. Totally forgot to pack them. Major fail! He ended up gathering all his other clothes for the wedding and sprinting out the door to go to a Men’s Warehouse 15 minutes away to buy some new pants in the nick of time before the ceremony! Womp, womp.

But wait, it gets better: after he bought some new pants that pretty much perfectly matched his coat (lucky!), he took an Uber to THE WRONG COUNTRY CLUB. Yep. He didn’t realize it until making it out to the outdoor ceremony area and seeing some random person’s name on the sign for the wedding! Whoops!

Thankfully he was able to take another Uber to where the rest of us were and sneak into a seat next to me just as the ceremony began. Whew! Nick of time. The ceremony, which was held at the Valley Club of Montecito, was lovely, and the clouds had cleared a bit by this point to unveil a gorgeous afternoon.

We got some photos after the ceremony with our group of friends before heading to the cocktail hour. Whew, Matt has pants! Yay!

anne and matt mauney

Here’s our crew of friends – all Matt’s high school buddies (many of whom I have known for years, too):

The wedding was a lot of fun; it’s always beautiful to witness other couples on their big day. It makes me think back to our wedding, which feels like forever ago!

After cocktail hour we headed inside for dinner, which was delish. Unfortunately it started raining during dinner so the band got rained out, but we still all had a nice time!

Huge congratulations to the groom, Chuck, and the bride, Annie! <3

On Sunday morning, we woke up to sunshine and blue skies – hooray! Santa Barbara was nice in the gray of Friday and Saturday, but it was GORGEOUS once it cleared up.

santa barbara walking path

I mean: stunning, right?

santa barbara beach

Unclear why we don’t live here…

Anyway, we started our Sunday with breakfast at our hotel again. I had a different omelette variation than the day before, plus fruit and espresso again (and forgot to get a picture!).

After breakfast, Matt went back to our room to relax and I met our friend Janice, who was part of the wedding trip crew, for beach yoga again! She was interested in going after I mentioned it to her the night before, and I figured, why not go again, too? So I did!

It was sunny but cool and beautiful out there and it felt nice to turn inward and stretch and breathe after all the upbeat socializing.

santa barbara beach

After yoga, Janice and I met back up with our husbands (Janice’s husband, Tom, is one of Matt’s best friends from growing up, and is also the reason we met as I went to college with him) for a fun hiking adventure: Inspiration Point!

I did some research on different trails and loved the sound of this one because it offers stunning vistas at the top. It’s a 3.4 mile out-and-back with nearly 1,000 feet of elevation gain – eek!

The trailhead is located in a residential neighborhood, and the popularity of this hike meant we ended up parking on the street quite a bit downhill of the main trailhead and walking up to get to the trail start.

hiking inspiration point

Right from the start it was steep and strenuous, but once we got on the actual trail the views were stunning from the get go.

hiking inspiration point

Tom and Janice had actually already done this hike on Friday before we got in, but it was super foggy/cloudy so they were down to do it again to get the actual views!

It was gorgeous and clear on Sunday – perfect day for this hike. And there were other people out there but it didn’t feel crowded at all.

hiking inspiration point

It was mostly an uphill trail, but there was a fun water crossing area!

crossing the stream on inspiration point trail

And, we made it! The views at the top were gorgeous as advertised – well worth the effort!

view from inspiration point santa barbara trail summit

Group shot:

Before starting the hike we had stopped at a spot called Pickles & Swiss to get to-go sandwiches, and when we made it to the summit we found some rocks to sit and enjoy our lunch. I had a chicken and veggie wrap with an Asian-y dressing. It was delicious but super messy!

pickles and swiss asian chicken wrap

After enjoying our sandwiches, we headed back down to the car and our hotels to relax for a bit before going out to dinner with the bride and groom and another couple Matt knew from high school.

Matt and I ended up going to our hotel’s pool/hot tub and hanging out there for awhile, which was lovely!

For dinner, it was Cinco de Mayo, so we ended up at a Mexican spot called Flor De Maiz. We forgot to get a group picture at dinner, but we had a great time and the food was yummy. Our whole table shared a ton of appetizers to start and then Matt and I shared the short rib tacos for our entree because we went a little too hard on the appetizers and were already pretty full!

short rib tacos

On Monday morning, we got up and had one last breakfast at the hotel restaurant before heading to the airport and traveling for the full day.

I had their sweet potato, kale, and chickpea breakfast bowl with fried eggs. It was yummy but needed a sauce or something! I think my avocado crema with lime would have been good here. 😉

del monte hotel sweet potato breakfast bowl

We were sad to say goodbye to beautiful Santa Barbara, but happy to get home and see the kids. Until next time, California!

santa barbara ca palm tree

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