We were in Santa Barbara this past weekend for some fun in the sunshine & to hang out with some of our closest friends. We didn’t have a ton of time since it was just a weekend trip, but I definitely felt that we made the most of it; it really felt like a good getaway & a relaxing trip. (Although I could have done without all of the time in the car … Time for Santa Barbara to have a more reasonably priced airport?…)
We spent part of our first day exploring the California Mission in downtown Santa Barbara, which is one of the larger California Missions that I’ve visited. It’s a very pretty place & the clouds that threatened to rain on us all day (but never actually did) looked absolutely amazing against the backdrop of the Old Mission.
It was only six dollars to get inside for the self-guided tour & definitely worth it. I was surprised at how MUCH there was – they have two large buildings which you can sort of wander through & some garden in between that you can look at but not really go through & then a LARGE garden with a huge & gorgeous tree, which you can definitely wander through.
Then later on in the tour, there are a bunch of buildings that act as museums for some of the artifacts from the “old days” of the mission. I was a little bit overwhelmed by some of the things that went on between the Fathers who ran the Mission & the Chumash Indians who were housed in the Old Mission & did all of the building & gardening & so on. They definitely had a lot of power & while the museum at the Mission doesn’t go into it a ton since it’s not the nicest side of colonization, it did remind me of some of the things we learned about ages ago in school.
Despite the background, I do love the California Missions. They’re all done up in this stunning old world + new world Spanish style & it’s very pretty. Also, I love the open wood & the turquoise, corals, & hand painted details. I would work details into my home inspired by the Missions!
We didn’t get a chance to check out the church since they were closing it for a wedding. Who knew it was still a functioning church & one that you could rent out for special occasions at that?! (Hint: it is)
If you ever get married there, please do call me. I’d love to photograph your wedding!
Outside, the homes & surrounding area is just as pretty. There are definitely requirements in Santa Barbara, especially near the Mission or downtown, that keep everything in the same style. Do you like when a city gets together & agrees on something like that? It certainly creates a distinct aesthetic!
The grounds at the Old Mission are big & the rose garden is a must see. I didn’t take a ton of photos since roses don’t photograph quite as well as they SMELL, but we loved wandering around the flowers & sticking our noses into them. There were a bunch that were as big as my head, some bushes that had all roses of the exact same color, & one particularly fragrant rose that, while small, packed a seriously intoxicatingly amazing scent of citrus & rose. Swoon!
The rose garden is open to the public & would be a great place for a picnic. We actually ran into some friends of ours from the Bay Area (small world!) who were celebrating a birthday & playing charades in the sunshine. Too fun. 🙂
Some of the vegetation in front of the mission is very cool. I love the cacti – the colors & the shapes are just too interesting, don’t you think?
Anyways, good spot! Worth a visit if you’re in Santa Barbara. 🙂
VISIT / Old Misson Santa Barbara, 2201 Laguna Street, Santa Barbara, California 93105 / Admission is $6 cash or credit for a self-guided tour, the gardens are free for all to use & there is a gift shop open to all.
All photography in this post by Simone Anne