The White and the Light and the Sea

I’ve always loved visiting Santa Barbara, as everyone knows it’s one of the most beautiful places in the world.  Usually my trips there have been to visit family and during free moments I was inevitably attracted to the sea.

View of East Beach from the Bath House

View of East Beach from the Bath House

The palm-lined beach promenade, the pier, the coastal hills, and the weather are an intoxicating combination unlike any other place I’ve been.  On a recent trip I had the luxury of several hours to myself and I decided to focus on a different part of Santa Barbara; it’s architecture.


Old Mission Santa Barbara-The Only Mission with Twin Bell Towers

The Old Mission Santa Barbara was my starting point, where my husband dropped me off, and then from there I’d walk along State Street down to Stearns Wharf.

Old Mission Santa Barbara

Old Mission Santa Barbara

I had driven by this Mission many years ago but had never stopped to really take a look.  It’s been toted as the most beautiful of the Missions, which I agree, and the only one with two bell towers.


Old Mission Santa Barbara Self-Guided Tour

Old Mission Santa Barbara Self-Guided Tour

When I arrived there were several tour buses but surprisingly I was able to shoot photos and take the self-guided tour of the grounds and museum without a crowd.

I spent about an hour exploring the Mission and felt the $7 entrance fee to the Museum and Church well worth the time.  But even if you only have a few minutes to stop by and look at the Mission from the outside I’d recommend it.


Our Lady of Sorrows Church

After leaving the Mission I headed on foot toward State Street.  I really didn’t know what I’d find but I enjoy the Spanish style architecture of the city and I looked forward to discovering some great photo ops.

#5IMG_4668bWhat struck me right away was the shadows of the palm trees cast against the stark white walls.  It was so striking and unusual.

Trinity Episcopal Church Labyrinth

Trinity Episcopal Church Labyrinth

I discovered a lambyrinth in front a church on State Street.  The Episcopal Church is constructed of stone.

#2 Court HouseIMG_4746

Santa Barbara Court House- Front Entrance

One block over, on Anapaca Street, I came across the Santa Barbara Court House.  When I first laid eyes on it’s enormous archway I knew I was in for something special.  This was another stop for the tour buses but luckily for me the large group headed back to their ride just as I arrived.

designed by William Mooser III and completed in 1929

Santa Barbara Court House-Designed by William Mooser III and completed in 1929

#1 Court House IMG_4771

Santa Barbara Courthouse-View from Santa Barbara Street

The Court House occupies an entire block.  It appeared enormous and spectacular.

This was the first time I had been to the Court House, previous trips had been spent focusing on the sea.  Next time I will look forward to exploring the City again for other undiscovered treasures.










2 thoughts on “The White and the Light and the Sea

  1. Nice “article” with really good pictures to accompany it. I, too, love Santa Barbara but never took the time to meander beyond State street. The Mission and the Courthouse are really very beautiful architecturally. Their pictures tell a story or at least beg to have one told.

    Your writing and pictures leave me wanting more. Next time in Santa Barbara I hope to include these two sites in my visit.

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