June 24, 2017

The California Coast

by Rosemary

We have been to Santa Barbara many times; it's a convenient day trip from Los Angeles. Usually we walk up and down State Street or stroll along the beach, enjoy lunch on the pier, and sometimes visit the zoo. Oddly, in all these years, we have never gone to the Botanic Garden. So that's what we did this time.

The garden is devoted to the native plants of California, divided into sections that represent different parts of the state. California is often symbolized by palm trees, but it's a lot more complicated than that. There are deserts, forests, coastal regions, and mountains.

Some California native flowers Sometimes nature needs a little help

We stayed 15 miles south of Santa Barbara, in more budget-friendly Carpinteria. "Carp" is a friendly town, with a quaint downtown area.

Read the menu carefully before ordering your sandwich.

While the beach itself may be as safe as the mural proclaims, the nearby bluffs are not. Sadly, we came across this makeshift memorial to a young man who had recently fallen from a cliff.

A small section of the bluffs overlooks a harbor seal reserve. Getting there requires crossing the railroad tracks on foot, and following a trail that is sometimes a bit too close to the crumbling edge. This was the wrong time of year to see the seals with their young; we spotted just two or three out in the surf.
We drove up the coast to Monterey. Monterey is famous for its Cannery Row, once a center of the sardine industry, now a center of tourism.

We enjoyed the many fascinating exhibits at the Monterey Bay Aquarium.

Not far from Monterey is the upscale town of Carmel-by-the-Sea, known for its picturesque shopping area, attractive beach, and ex-mayor Clint Eastwood. We kicked off our shoes and took a stroll in the soft white sand, along with several hundred others seeking a cool ocean breeze on a hot day.

Next to Monterey is Pebble Beach, with its exclusive golf clubs, luxurious resorts, and multi-million-dollar celebrity mansions. It is also the site of 17-Mile Drive, where $10 buys admission and a brochure for the self-guided tour.

These trees tell us something about the prevailing winds.

This 250-year-old tree is known as the "Lone Cypress" and is often claimed to be the most-photographed tree in North America. The Pebble Beach Company registered a drawing of this tree as its trademark. Today, the company claims to own any and all images of the tree, whether photographs or drawings, and forbids artists and professional photographers from selling any pictures of it. The company's claim is much-disputed, but not many can afford the legal expenses to fight it. Luckily, amateurs are encouraged to snap away.

A visit to Pebble Beach wouldn't be complete without a stop for refreshments at the Lodge.

Next stop: somewhere north of here.


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