We gathered in Santa Barbara this past weekend to celebrate the life and newest edition to the family, Caleb James Cogswell - born almost exactly one month early on July 20th, 2014. Technically, this trip to California was supposed to be my formal introduction to my nephew, the first grandchild in the family. Conveniently for me, Caleb decided to enter the world the day after my sister's baby shower in our hometown, which meant a few calls and a rescheduled flight later, I was miraculously present for his birth. I will be thanking him for the rest of his existence for his early entrance.
With introductions complete, our extended weekend in Santa Barbara revolved around quality family time and hitting up the traditional spots + mixing in some new experiences. The beautiful views never end in this coastal town and neither do the options of things to do.
A trip to the Boathouse on Hendry's Beach is a standard stop whether it be for drinks and appetizers or a full on meal. Situated steps from the sand, it makes the transition from beach to bar apparent and uncomplicated. It is also a great place to catch the sunset!
Mesa Verde: Social media has it's benefits - hash tagging Santa Barbara brought up a picture of 2 mason jars filled to the brim with questionable, but delicious looking concoctions. Further research brought me to Mesa Verde's Plant Based Restaurant menu that had me drooling over the elaboarte vegetarian options and juices. On our last day we stopped by for lunch and I indulged in the Sita smoothie which consisted of nut milk, peaches, goji berries, almond butter, maca, raw honey, cardamom, nutmeg and the black bean, walnut and grilled Kale burger. Needless to say, if I lived in Santa Barbara, I would be a (broke) regular.
McConnell's: oh and to satisfy a sweet tooth? McConnell's, fine ice cream done right. Half scoop dark chocolate paso brittle, half scoop double peanut butter chip, done. Boom. Or, if you're Jared, an ice cream cookie sandwich.
With over 110 member wineries and 55 varieties of grapes growing in SB County's 5 American Viticultural Areas, the residents take their adult grape juice seriously and there are plenty of options to choose from. To make it easy, we journeyed to the Funk Zone, home to over 20 tasting rooms, award winning micro-breweries, new restaurants and old surf shops. Long lines at Figueroa Mtn Brewery had us slipping into Cutlers Artisan Sprits to sample a few spirits, (straight bourbon whiskey was my fav) before moving onto Seven Bar and Kitchen for a double IPA and then onto Drake Wine. I couldn't tell you if the wine was good because I was too caught up in conversation with family and old friends! (Good to see you Robin & Dana!)
The house we stayed in was only a few miles away from Hendry's Beach and the Douglas Family Preserve. With my half marathon less than a month away, vacation could not derail training. Jared and I went for a blissful run on the beach and also circled the Preserve a few times. The trail isn't long at all, but the views of the Ocean made me ok with repeating the loop multiple times to hit my miles.
I was reminded quick the magic of the Ocean when the boys and I paddled out at C-Street in Ventura. Thoughts rushing through my head, ("I need to be closer to the Ocean... I need to move to California... etc") all vanish when you catch the first wave of the day. I can't even find the right words, but the salt water felt healing and restorative and all at once I realized how much I missed it being a part of my everyday life.
But not as much as I miss my family. I am so lucky to be born into the loving and supportive unit that I have. My sisters picked excellent husbands to help expand our family, and now we welcome a little one, bringing our brood to 9. I remember when family vacations consisted of just the 5 of us. Mom, dad and their three girls. Thankfully for my dad we've added incredible men to the mix and a baby to really change up our family vacations. :) Who knows what changes the next few years will bring, but I keep counting my blessings and saying my prayers for more memories like this past weekend.