Called the prettiest courthouse in America with good reason, the Santa Barbara County Courthouse is a wonderful combination of function and whimsy. Rebuilt following the destruction of downtown Santa Barbara in the earthquake of 1925, it replaced four structures of varied architectural styles with a daring and extraordinarily expensive prime example of the Spanish Colonial Revival style for which Santa Barbara is famous. The Sunken Gardens is popular for weddings and is the site of many of Santa Barbara's public festivities.
The Moorish elements are to be seen everywhere at the County Courthouse: fountains, ornate metalwork, oversized lanterns, arched doorways, pierced stonework and an abundance of hand painted tile grace the hallways and court rooms.
Taking advantage of Santa Barbara's connection to motion picture studios and using poetic license the murals in the Assembly room depict the discovery of Santa Barbara by Juan Cabrillo in 1542; it features armed soldiers and Native Americans dressed like Hollywood Incas.
No visit to the Santa Barbara County Courthouse is complete without a trip up to the El Mirador Clock tower. With 360 degree views of the city, on a clear day you can see the Channel Islands in the distance. Looking at the roof top views, you'll understand at first hand why Santa Barbara truly has earned the reputation as California's red tile city.
The Santa Barbara County Courthouse is a functioning courthouse; it is both a US Historic Landmark and a California Historical Landmark and occupies the city block bounded by Anacapa and Anapamu streets. Parking is available at the Public Library lot on Anacapa Street across from the Courthouse.
The Bath Street Inn is located one mile from the Courthouse; if you are looking for accommodation in Santa Barbara, we would love to have you and share our passion for Santa Barbara with you. We are a Victorian bed and breakfast; every room is unique, clean and comforfortable. Please phone us at 805-682-9680 or visit our website at www.bathstreetinn.com
The Santa Barbara Channel is a rich playground for all kinds of whales and marine life; the safety and abundant food supply of the Channel make the whales comfortable and that makes whale watching fun and easy just about all the year round. No boating for hours just to get to the right waterways! The Santa Barbara Channel Islands are about 24 miles from shore and occasionally a whale has been spotted less than 2 miles from the beaches.
There are 26 species of whales and dolphins that live or migrate through the Channel so a day of whale watching will typically include sitings of multiple kinds of dolphins, sea lions, sea birds and a variety of whales, depending on the season. Spring time (March, April and May) brings the grey whales and their new born calves northbound from the warm waters of the Baja lagoons to Alaska for summer feeding. The process is reversed in the winter months. The whale watching season for the humpback and giant blue whale seems to be expanding in Santa Barbara, with humpbacks seen as early as March and as late as October, the blues coming into the Channel usually in May.
We take time every year to go whale watching - there's nothing like being on the water, in the sun on a clear day (we have more than our fair share in Santa Barbara.) Our whale watching choice is the Condor Express; we like it for the comfort and range of the ride, the keenly observant spotters and naturalists on board and most importantly, the design of the ship which minimizes disruption of the whale habitat.
If you'd like to spend a night or two in a fine Santa Barbara Bed and Breakfast before or after a day of whale watching, please give us a call or book directly on-line with us. We'd love to see you.
Photo by dickrussell.org.
Deborah Gentry, Innkeeper, Bath Street Inn