The Glow of Santa Barbara Part I

Tuesday May 17th   Santa Barbara

Santa Barbara Harbor

Britt and I walked the boardwalk together and decided we should top off our remaining time together with  ice cream. We stood at the railing overlooking RD and the anchorage, licking our ice cream and feeling like we were on the Queen Mary’s promenade rail (not the Titanic please). Following the final lick of ice cream we hugged and said au revoir, and I dinked back to RD to leave town.  Several hours later, looking back at how a distant night Santa Barbara glowed in the sky, I smiled at how perfect the metaphor was.

I arrived in Santa Barbara on Friday May 13 and departed on Tuesday May 17, and in between fell in love with this California coastal city I could enjoy to eternity.

Santa Barbara long marina dock
Santa Barbara marina





As a mariner I like that I can either take a slip in the marina or an acre in a large anchorage. I choose the latter by preference to enjoy the clean water, a swim off the boat, and the view from my back porch — the broad beach and the panoramic view of the Santa Ynez Mountains are my backdrop. And as a landlubber I can never catch up with all the cornucopia of ongoing activities, events and places to go and to see.

I had been here six months previously on the southbound “Adventure”, and I was looking forward to returning for two reasons: (1) Santa Barbara sets a very high bar for the rest of the California coastal towns, and (2) the opportunity to visit Britt Iliff, a friend with an uncommon joie de vivre and enthusiastic follower of my voyage.

The only “problem” with socially and culturally vibrant Santa Barbara is you can’t do it all.  City days are filled with too many scheduled theater, museum, art and special events (car show this week).

As a landlubber of sorts two very special and different places we visited stand out:

The Indian Show at the Santa Barbara Museum of Art

Britt, Michelle, Theo


Traditional Indian Dance
Courtyard socializing
Traditional Indian dancer
Michelle & Theo
Britt and Howard

It was reminiscent of East Coast galas I attended during Princeton and following years — where men wear a blue blazer, an open blue or white shirt, khaki trousers and dress shoes, and where no one would drink a beer but every cocked arm carried a glass of wine.   The ladies have permission for more individualism in their dress code. However they come adorned with sparkling accessories and ready for a high fashion show.

I carry one such outfit on Raven’s Dance suitable for a wedding, a funeral or such an elegant event.   Bear in mind I just left six months of sailing in Mexico where shirts and shoes are never required in restaurants.   My idea of formal dress is put on a shirt and a warn pair of Sperry Topsiders.

The event was the West Coast’s version of “evening at the Met”.– in warm open air.   Suffice it to say it was upscale, refined, formal, elegant, and above all enjoyable. All this socializing was wrapped in authentic Indian dancing, free authentic Indian food and an international-quality museum show makes for a memorable evening (no  photos allowed inside the museum). If you are looking for Ivy League West you will find it in Santa Barbara. I come away with the feeling that the last vestiges of the F. Scott Fitzgerald era have been successfully replicated in Santa Barbara, and anyone with the $25.00 for a ticket can purchase an evening’s worth.

I liked living the high-life for the evening. I was one of the actor’s in the play; I met interesting people and entertained a few; clapped for the dance presentation and became more aware of the India’s rich culture and heritage (a culture about which I now know a bit more). Then I returned to RD to bag and store my costume, while it waits for the next event (which I pray is anything but a family funeral).


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