There are no bad days allowed in Santa Barbara. After a few months of sniffing and scratching around this beach town with mountains, I am certain it is both a dog and human nirvana, making it all the sweeter of a paradise for a couple of canines from Canton, Ohio. There is simply too much good stuff worth doing.
There is a world-class, open-air cathedral of rock ’n’ roll right in the middle of town. It’s called the Bowl, and it’s in a neighborhood, and it’s intimate and small and feels like a friend’s backyard, but The Who played there last week, and the tree smelling in Jerry’s Glen is worth the ticket prices alone. The Natural History Museum has the bells and whistles and exotic attractions of a big-city space paired with the warmth and pitch-perfect area-centric view of this unique corner of the world.
As a beast who values his wild animal roots, I typically tuck tail at the mere mention of a zoo. But not here! The Santa Barbara Zoo is absolute family fun. Dot whimpers in her sleep about the baby giraffes, but I’m Team Lucky all the way — that Teva-wearing penguin is pure inspiration be you man or beast or bird.
Yet none of that compares to the whales and the soul-arresting salty odeur of experiencing these huge Bernese mountain dogs of the sea in their natural element. Our day on the Condor Express spent among these animals out in the Channel will forever live in Daug family lore.
We had a similar discovery-filled adventure — not to mention one of the best ways to get quickly oriented to the modern quirks and rich history of this town — with a head-out-the-window t our of S.B. on both land and sea aboard the Land Shark.
We tickled our karaoke bone at Tiburon Tavern every Friday night, me handling the Snoop Dogg standards and Dot, as always, doing her Baha Men thing. I never tire of watching her do her “Who Let the Dogs Out” paw-shaking one night in a hot crowded dive bar and then classing up her act tenfold the next night for the latest Ensemble Theatre Company production at the New Vic or a State Street Ballet show at the Granada. We pulled just such a doubleheader earlier this month with Macbeth directed by Jonathan Fox — nothing like a little blood, greed, and politics during election season to help raise your hackles.
Place to Hear Live Music
Santa Barbara Bowl, 1122 N. MilpasSt., 962-7411, sbbowl.com
Finalist: SOhO Restaurant & MusicClub
Santa Barbara Museum of NaturalHistory, 2559 Puesta del Sol, 682-4711, sbnature.org
Finalist: Santa Barbara Museum of Art
By Paul Wellman