The last weekend before I returned home, R took me up to Santa Barbara. He made it seem like it was impromptu and told me to look up a place to stay, but eventually turned in at a quaint inn along Lillie Avenue in Summerland, called The Inn at Summer Hill. Our room was a quintessential bed and breakfast room, high mattresses (3 step footstool needed), fireplace, and pillows pillows pillows. Since the color scheme was in blue, it avoided being overly girly, but this was definitely not a guys room. I loved it!
We spent two days in town, roaming around Santa Barbara's main attractions - viewing the city from the tower of the Courthouse, taking pictures of the beautiful murals in the courthouse's meeting room, walking around the Santa Barbara mission (one of at least 10 missions up and down the California coastline and a must for any catholic pilgrims out there), eating danish food along State St, then burgers at a diner near the inn, and catching a film late at night. Poked into a dive store with a heated pool inside for those chilly winter lessons, ambled down the promenade by the bay. Somehow it reminded me of the same walk we took down a seaside pier last year in Dumaguete (albeit a bit cooler).
If there's a lesson to be learned in urban planning, consider Santa Barbara's efforts to maintain a unified image - spanish colonial/mediterranean architecture. Very few buildings detract from that style and it helps the city from looking like a mess.
Thanks to R for capping my trip with a lovely memory.