We went to Santa Barbara, California, which is just about my favourite place on Earth. I haven’t seen the whole Earth, but I’ve been to a few places and although there might be places I’d like better, I haven’t seen them yet. My husband attended school in Santa Barbara at the Brooks Institute of Photography many (many!) years ago and they were having an anniversary celebration and reunion which he wanted to attend.
I also made this a “business” trip as I was doing extensive research for my books. Seriously. Walking on the beach and studying the gorgeous oceanside homes is research. Driving into the Santa Ynez Valley and visiting a winery is research. Sitting on an outdoor deck overlooking the harbor with the mountains in the distance and drinking wine is research. I was researching setting of course, as most of my books are set in Santa Barbara.
I did “real” research, too, by visiting the Historical Museum and the library. I’ve started a historical romance set in Santa Barbara — don’t know if I can actually finish it, but hey, I’ve started it! — and I wanted more details on a few things I couldn’t find on the Internet or in books here. They had many books on the history of Santa Barbara in the library and I was able to get some of the information I wanted. Unfortunately, the library at the museum was closed that week (the one week I’m there they close!) but I did make some notes on some of the exhibits and bought a book that should be helpful.
It was a wonderful trip with lots of time for relaxing by the pool, long walks on the beach looking for special rocks, shopping in Paseo Nuevo, trying new restaurants as well as our old favourites (Taffy’s! Derf’s!), whale (and dolphin) watching on the Condor Express, seeing old friends and meeting some new friends and filling my head with images and descriptions and ideas for stories.
Here are a few pictures taken by the hubs:
|Taken from Stearns Wharf|
|One night it got really foggy - the palm trees looked so cool!|
|Taken from the harbor - this is Castle Rock, for which Castillo Street is named, as I now know from my research!|
|Looking back at the city from the wharf|
|The teenage boy looking out over Santa Ynez Valley|
|Olive trees hundreds of years old|