Friday, September 29, 2017

Glamping at El Capitan Canyon, 15 miles north of Santa Barbara

The Canyon Vision

Santa Barbara Beach Camping

Today we consider it a great honor to carry on the role of protecting and sharing the beauty of the California coast with our guests. Our goal is to nurture an environment in harmony with the nature and history of the Canyon while allowing our guests to enjoy a relaxing Santa Barbara beach camping experience. The camp is designed to be an antidote to all that is excessive, formal, artificial or contrived. By focusing on the essence of things, we hope to offer you a welcomed retreat in tune with the spirit of the Canyon.

El Capitan Campground Resort

Through the decor and amenities, El Capitan campground resort provides a measure of comfort and pampering-from healthy Saturday night dinners to a variety of wellness treatments. But, we have purposely avoided attempting to duplicate the conveniences of home. Instead, we invite you to step outside into the canyon. Smell the wild sage in the early spring blossoming. Observe the monarch butterflies mud-puddling in the fall. Listen to the frogs all year round. There is something for each season. Feel the ocean breeze, see and hear the rhythmic waves. This is a personal encounter with nature here at El Capitan Canyon resort. Look, marvel, be enlightened. And take home a sense of serenity.

Activities Directory

Southern California Coast Lodging

Something for everyone isn’t just a saying at El Capitan Canyon – it’s our mantra. Our spectacular southern California coast lodging with magnificent views of the Gaviota Coast, Pacific Ocean and Santa Ynez Mountains provides a myriad of opportunities for activities, recreation and adventure.
Lodging guests have unique opportunities to commune with nature for exploration, entertainment and, of course, relaxation. Some activities are complimentary, while others carry a small fee. Additionally, our staff will gladly arrange off-site day trips with our local tour and adventure partners so you can experience all that Santa Barbara has to offer.

Santa Barbara Coastal Beach Camping

Throughout the seasons, guests can hike the canyon, explore the beach and surrounding areas on trails and bike paths or just relax and enjoy Santa Barbara coastal beach camping at its best. Or try your hand on our challenge ropes course with both low and high ropes, a great confidence building exercise.
Santa Barbara’s famous wine country is less than an hour’s drive from El Capitan Canyon so be sure to schedule in some tasting time.
On property, we offer activities such as yoga, story-telling, Saturday night barbecues and concerts in the summer, stargazing, etc. Or, perhaps perfect the art of doing absolutely nothing at all but getting lost in a great novel, lounge by the heated swimming pool or indulge in a massage treatment.

Canyon Concert Series

Saturday evenings, May through September, guests and neighbors gather at the front Market Lawn for a night of blues, jazz and bluegrass. Admission is free to guests staying overnight in the Canyon, and a fireside BBQ dinner is just $20 per person ($14 per child). Click for a schedule of performers.

Beach Cruiser Bikes

Complimentary adult-size beach cruiser bikes are available for guests on a first come, first served basis. Call the Canyon Kiosk via (866) 352-2729 with any questions.

Thursday, September 28, 2017

Santa Barbara Architecture Tours October 7th

 Santa Barbara Architectours Saturday October 7th.


Every year, on the first Saturday in October, AIA Santa Barbara hosts ArchitecTours, a self guided tour and celebration of local architecture and local identity. This year's tour will celebrate "Living with Water." Our community benefits not only when water is managed as a limited resource, but also when water creates a multi-sensory experience within a structure, in a landscape or in a vista. It is the goal of this year's tour to demonstrate how water can be successfully integrated into the built environment. The six sites on the tour showcase the depth of knowledge and expertise of AIA architects in urban design, sustainability, accessibility, structural improvements, building materials, and historic renovation. Making architecture more accessible to the public, the tour offers a rare opportunity for a behind-the-scenes look at these exceptional properties. Tour participants will observe first-hand how architects transform ordinary spaces into customized environments using a variety of design solutions, and be inspired on how to embrace water conservation and management in their homes.
ArchitecTours is a self-guided tour, followed by a Tour Party from 4pm-6pm at SBCAST

Early Bird Tickets — on sale from August 15th through Tuesday, September 26
AIA Members & Seniors: $55; Public: $65; Students: $25
Full Price — on sale from September 26th to October 7th
AIA Members & Seniors : $70; Public: $80; Students: $25
Tickets on sale through EventBrite at this link.

Here are the projects on tour:
Barnick Residence
Warner Group Architects
Jorgensen Ranch House
The Warner Group Architects Inc. recently completed this 10,143 square foot bluff-top residence in Hope Ranch. The overall design is inspired by, and serves to showcase, the property's view of the Pacific Ocean. To celebrate the ocean view, the contemporary residence features expansive glass walls encased by a clean, white façade and hardwood accent paneling. A travertine runway flanked by illuminated pools leads to the entrance, from which living spaces are visible through the glass, each intended to convey a sense of calm. In the living room at the center of the home, a custom fireplace surround by artist Simon Raab is an abstract homage to the Channel Islands, which are in clear view from the property. Custom in-wall aquariums divide the foyer from the dining room, and the main living room from the family room / kitchen / bar. The home opens to an outdoor terrace with a pool, cliff-side seating area and fire pit. A private path descends down the bluff to the beach, a final connection to the "Living with Water" theme emphasizing the importance of water and the surrounding environment in the home's overall aesthetic and design.

Toro Canyon Residence
Barton Myers Associates
The Toro Canyon Residence is integrated into a terraced landscape. Barton Myers FAIA designed the roofs of the pavilions to function as shallow, gravity-fed ponds that terrace down the hillside. Water is a distinctive and integral element of the design. Seen from the flank of the hill, the pools merge visually with the ocean in the distance. Each roof pool spills into a holding trough, which can also be used as a backup reservoir for protection in case of fire. The use of the onsite water is not only aesthetically pleasing to see and hear, it also functions to provide insulation and thermal mass while creating a deepened lap pool for swimming at the edge of the pond in front of the main house.

AB Design Studio Inc.
SB Courthouse
Made from an innovative combination of shipping containers, architectural concrete, and steel, HO:ME is a model of sustainability. Four 40-foot containers comprise the second floor, which AB Design Studio and Barber Builders bifurcated with a glass hall the master suite from the other bedrooms. On the main floor, a 20-foot container serves as a pantry behind the kitchen. The all glass southern façade opens to an expansive patio and pool area offering breathtaking views of the canyon. Solar panels power the home, heat the pool, an charge the electric car. Water resources are conserved through greywater diversion, bioswales, a drought tolerant landscape, and rainwater capture, and low-flow fixtures throughout the home.

The Greenhouse
Thompson Naylor Architects
Braille Institute
This Montecito home is a replacement for the original 1940's-era house on the site. The owners wanted a family home to serve their needs and also be an example of resourceefficient building in our region; it is on track to achieve LEED Platinum certification. Knowing that drought conditions are ever increasing in southern California, the owners and design team sought to aggressively address water conservation. Main water-conserving features are attractive, low-flow fixtures; underground storm water infiltrators that recharge the water table and capture 100% of runoff; grey water irrigation providing 99% of landscape needs plus a 1,250 gallon cistern in the crawl space below the house that collects rooftop rainwater; 100% subsurface drip irrigation system reduces spray evaporation; and, a landscape with drought adapted plants reducing the need for irrigation by over 50%.

AB Design Studio Inc.
An ArchitecTours ticket does NOT provide entrance to the museum.
ArchitecTours access will be limited to the exterior ground level only.
The Wolf Museum of Exploration + Innovation promotes the spirit of discovery and creativity within a whimsical, yet rigorously designed building located in the heart of Santa Barbara. The original concept design for the sand castle exterior was by late architect Barry Berkus, AIA. AB design studio has taken his vision and merged it with a modern interior that accentuates the original whimsical design. Water conservation elements were important in obtaining MOXI's LEED Gold rating – the first for a museum in Santa Barbara. A water harvesting system was designed to take advantage of the rainwater as it falls on the roof, capturing it and routing it toward two large cisterns. Roof and second-level planters are incorporated into the building to capture, filter, and reduce both rain water and storm water. The water passes from the roof level, through planters and then into the cisterns that release it slowly back to the water table and replenish aquifers.

Greek Inspired Residence
Thompson Naylor Architects
The Contextual Contortionist
This small footprint home built in the 1990s overlooking the Coal Oil Point Bluffs in Isla Vista represents one of the earliest examples of local green building in Santa Barbara County. The owners wanted to minimize the use of water and energy, and to maximize the use of recycled materials. Acting as their own contractor and searching for reclaimed materials and products, they worked with Thompson Naylor to consciously design the house as a model for low-impact living in our region. Key water conserving elements include a Mediterranean garden with olives and fruit trees; all roof water drained to four 1,000 gallon underground cisterns; and, a grey water system from the sinks, showers, and washing machine supplies water for the landscape.

Saturday, September 23, 2017

Art Walk at the Museum of Natural History September 23 and 24

Santa Barbara Artwalk
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Iwerks Art artwalk Santa Barbara

Artwalk - Indoor & Limited Outdoor Show
Saturday & Sunday, September 23 & 24
10:00 AM-5:00 PM
Admission $10 - Museum Members Free
Artist Reception ticket holders and children under 12 are free
The Oak Group is one of the first groups of artists exhibiting to preserve open spaces. They work to protect land for wildlife, recreation, ranching, and farming. The artists make visual records, drawing public attention to land we stand to lose and they generate funds to protect them.
The group began meeting over thirty years ago, a few friends who gained inspiration and camaraderie from working outdoors together. They quickly grew in number and in their dedication to save Santa Barbara County’s remaining open spaces, they donate money from exhibitions to non-profit environmental groups.

All works displayed at the show are for sale and event proceeds support Museum programs.

Artist & Patron Reception
Friday, September 22
6:00-8:00 PM
Tickets $60/person
RSVP 805-682-4711 ext. 110 or buy online at
Information: or call 805-682-4711 ext. 110.

Wednesday, September 20, 2017

Five Beautiful Santa Barbara Gardens and Parks

Santa Barbara is one of the most BEAUTIFUL Cities in California featuring amazing parks and gardens many open to the public for free. Here are some of my favorites:

1.  Alice Keck Memorial Gardens, 1500 Santa Barbara Street

Alice Keck Park Memorial Garden features a large botanical collection of 75 different tree and plant species included in the Alice Keck Park Memorial Garden Self-Guided Tree & Plant Tour; koi pond; sensory garden with audio posts and interpretive Braille signs; low water-use demonstration garden, walking paths, picnic areas; and GazeboDesigned by local Landscape Architect Grant Castleberg (who also designed Shoreline Park), this was the location of the El Mirasol Hotel.  I actually attended one of the last weddings held there.  When Alice Keck died, she deeded the property to the City of Santa Barbara with the intention of the grounds becoming a public park.  A beautiful and informational book was written about the history of the property and the gardens by Anne-Marie Castleberg, wife of the Architect, "Alice's Garden".  Available on Amazon. 

The newest garden within the park is the sensory garden area where visually and physically impaired visitors can enjoy the variety of scents and sounds as well as the interesting textural variation of the foliage of many plants installed here. A butterfly garden has been installed and includes host plants for butterflies and moths.
For more information visit this location on the map.

2.  Alameda Kid's Park, Located on the corner or Garden and E Cota Streets.

The playground at Alameda Park is known as Kid’s World. It is among our largest and most popular playgrounds. The Santa Barbara community was involved in the design and construction of Kid’s World in 1993, and it remains a major attraction for families. The various parts of the playground are designed to accommodate children from 2-12 years of age. There are nearby restrooms and reservable and drop-in picnic areas, and Alice Keck Park Memorial Gardens is right across the street.

The playground will be temporarily closed to the public from September 5 to December 15, 2017 as it undergoing complete renovation.

Photo of Alameda Park - Santa Barbara, CA, United States

For more information visit this location on the map.

3. Santa Barbara Courthouse  and Sunken Gardens, 1100 Anacapa Street

Occupying an entire city block, the grounds contain a collection of palms and specimen trees from more than 25 countries. The courthouse hosts many events, particularly at the Sunken Garden, site of the 1872 courthouse.

The Courthouse (known as the most beautiful public building in America) also offers tours of the Courthouse and Clock Tower (recently restored).
The courthouse is composed of four buildings, totaling 150,000 square feet (14,000 m2). It includes a Jail Wing, which is no longer used to hold prisoners. Visitors may take elevators to the summit of the 85 ft (26 m) "El Mirador" clock tower, which has labeled photographs that show what the viewer is looking at in all directions.
Currently, the Santa Barbara County Courthouse is undergoing several restoration projects in the various wings, and just finished restoring the disintegrating fountain in the front.  (information from Wikipedia)

4. Mission Rose Gardens - Across the Street from the Santa Barbara Mision

The A.C. Postel Memorial Rose Garden, adjacent to the Santa Barbara Mission, contains over 1,500 rose plants and is maintained throughout the year by Rose Society members, Parks Division staff, and volunteers.
For many years the All-American Rose Selections designated the A.C. Postel Memorial Rose Garden as one of 130+ demonstration rose gardens throughout the country, displaying the top performing new rose varieties developed and selected each year after an extensive two-year trial program where they are judged on 15 characteristics – from disease resistance and flower production to color and fragrance.  A significant portion of the roses displayed in the garden are past A.A.R.S. winners.
For more information visit this location on the map. Click here for directions.
5.  Santa Barbara Botanic Gardens - 1212 Mission Canyon Road
9 am to 6 pm ~ March – October
9 am to 5 pm ~ November – February
Garden Shop & Garden Growers Nursery
9 am to 5:30 pm ~ March – October
9 am to 4:30 pm ~ November – February
$12.00 Adults
$10.00 Seniors (60 + years)
$8.00 Children 13 – 17, college students and active military with ID
$6.00 Children 2 – 12 years
Admission is free for the following:
Children under 2
Active military personnel in uniform
Garden members with valid membership card
Dogs on leash! 

for detailed information, click here

Saturday, September 2, 2017