I love to discover new places. I guess you knew that already.
It seems logic than in order to satiate my thirst for novelty, I cannot visit the same places over and over. I have been to some awesome cities and, I am not going to lie, I feel the gravitational pull to revisit many times. But, from time to time, I escape the force and break free to discover places outside the “famous” or “popular” belt.
One time while driving down the CA-101 from San Luis Obispo, my husband suggested a rest stop in Santa Barbara. Our bodies were taking a robotic consistency after being inside the car in the same position for more than two hours.
I said, “Let’s stop in Carpinteria instead. It is just 10 minutes south of Santa Barbara”.
Hmmm, Carpinteria. A not so well know town in Santa Barbara’s backyard. I read about it in a magazine and have been itching to check it out for some time. This was the opportunity I was waiting for.
Turns out, I made a good decision. Carpinteria is my kind of place.
First, it has a peculiar name (I love name origins too). When the Spaniards arrived to the area, they noticed the native Chumash had a canoe building enterprise in the beach. The tribesmen used naturally occurring tar to seal the canoes. Spaniards started to refer to the place as “La Carpinteria” or the carpentry shop.
Today, Carpinteria is a peaceful beach community with many nearby natural attractions. A seal and sea lion rookery is located along the bluffs area. There are tide pools full starfish, anemones and urchins. The tar pits are still visible today in one of the city’s park.
Without doubt, the main attraction in here is the beach which some call the “world’s safest” because of its calm waves. Camping spaces very close to the water is available.
Linden Avenue is the main artery in the city. The street has the classical California look: tall palm streets, colorful shops, all sorts of eating establishments, bicycle lanes and slow moving traffic yielding to pedestrians. The main difference is the pace. Relaxation is breathed everywhere. The place is chic, cool and warm but it is not congested like Santa Barbara or Santa Monica. You have the street all to yourself.
Oh boy, and there is this wonderful candy store called Robitaille’s. The home made mints of this family owned business were selected as the official candy of the 50th Presidential Inauguration. All their chocolates, fudge, mints and brittles are handmade (no machinery). The selection in the store is mind blowing. Let me warn you. It is really difficult to select what to buy.
There is a pretty Japanese Pavillion.
Even dogs are allowed inside churches.
There are beach shacks in the middle of the main street.
And delicious food is served everywhere. I wanted to try some burgers sold near the beach. However, the line was pretty long and I was too hungry. I wonder how those burgers taste.
See, I really liked this place. I can even say it is on my favorite small towns list. Let’s see when I can go back. Remember, there are a lot more places like this waiting to be discovered.
Hint: Stay in Carpinteria if you want to avoid the high accommodation prices in Santa Barbara.
Have you been to Carpinteria? Let me know in the comments sections below.