And we’re off! After a final supplies stop at the glorious Wholefoods Venice mega-store we leave the bright lights of LA in the rear view mirror of our rented Kia Sportage and hit the road.

Not just any road. Perhaps the greatest of road-trip roads there is. Highway 1.


The first leg of this stunning drive takes us out of the city via Malibu, which you will reach in about half an hour.


From here you’re a bit over an hour to Santa Barbara. Also know as the American Riviera for its gorgeous Mediterranean style and architecture.

Naturally, for a run down of what to do in Santa Barbara we got in contact with the amazing Ellie from Have Some Decorum. Not only is Ellie a super courageous human and blogging legend, she has style in spades and tons of great local recommendations.

As directed, we had our late lunch bite at Pierre Lafond in Montecito. This is where Ellie says the locals lunch. House made focaccia + crisp local Sauvignon Blanc – if I lived here, I’d lunch here all the time too.


Just look at the stunning afternoon light.


Next up, we had a quick look at William Layman antiques on the corner of East Valley Road and San Ysidro Lane.


I purchased this little gold leaf tray as a momento.


I think we’ll be really happy together.

The light was quickly fading so we hot-footed it down the road for a look around the stunning town of Santa Barbara itself.


Isn’t she a beauty?!

We had a little peak at the excellent shops along State Street. The architecture is full of character. Very charming.


We found a great little consignment store called The Closet Trading Co. It’s full of very nice second hand designer pieces. Miss A picked up a chic black Theory sweater for very reasonable $$$.

Sadly time did not permit us to visit some of Ellie’s other recommended spots, although these two look fantastic for a future visit:

  • Luckys for a weekend dinner;
  • San Ysidro Ranch hotel for a special occasion dinner. It looks like an incredibly stunning place.


Wishing we had longer to linger in this gorgeous town, we we’re off to the tiny town of Cayucos, another two hours north and our home for the night.

Trip Notes:

  • We rented our car at Alamo right near LAX. Rates were definitely cheaper than renting a car in Australia.  There is an easy to find shuttle that will take you to Alamo, departing right outside the international terminals. Don’t let them talk you into upgrading your vehicle if you don’t need to though! They were pretty insistent about our chosen small SUV not being big enough for our group and bags. Not true! Turns out a Kia Sportage is both a delightful and nicely sized road trip vehicle.



  • A GPS navigator is a good idea to have, but this is a pretty easy drive to figure out. All you really need to do is keep the ocean to your left and try to stay on the coast roads for the most scenic route. Keep in mind that even Highway 1, known for being the coast road, will veer inland for a bit in various parts.





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