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In this scary new world we’re living through right now, it’s hard to imagine anyone employing any version of that hackneyed old Dickens lead. But here goes: It was the best of times-for economic woes-and it was the worst of times-to cherish consumer dreams.
Superlatively speaking, isn’t this town the best? Not too big like that megalopolis to the south, or too teeny-tiny like the host of little villages sprinkled between Buellton and Old Cuyama. Surprisingly cultured for a town its size, with great museums, lively stages, and resounding music halls and clubs, it’s also a good place for eats, which comes as a result of its part-time job as a tourist town. We’re well-educated as well, exposed to many smart people from two colleges and a major university. It’s a land of parks and beaches and mountain trails and sunsets over red sails. But beyond all these generalizations is a town full of individuals who go to work, keep their homes nice, barbecue, and get out in the fresh air whenever they can. From those individuals we gleaned a list of voted-upon preferences in 225 categories of daily life here, in maybe a not perfect but definitely best of many possible Southern California worlds.