On a spectacular stretch of California coastline, vineyards, gorgeous beaches, markets and Mission-style architecture beckon.

With its Mission-style facades and showy tropical foliage, Santa Barbara could be a commercial for the California good life. It can be easy to underestimate the struggles of a place so seemingly flawless. But Santa Barbara has had a tough few years. From the devastating wildfires in 2017 and 2018 to the flooding and mudslides that followed, the county has experienced more than its share of trauma. Yet if it weren’t for the charred chaparral faintly visible on the surrounding hillsides, the average visitor might never know. This is, after all, a place that’s good at reinventing itself. That spirit is on display at the new Hotel Californian, which sits on the site of a grand beach resort that was destroyed — just weeks after opening — by the 1925 earthquake that defined modern Santa Barbara’s architecture and character. Smack in the center of Southern California’s spectacular coastline, the county is surprisingly rural. In its multigenerational ranches and farms, its remarkably undeveloped public beaches, and the expansive Los Padres National Forest, Santa Barbara County offers glimpses of California before it got crowded. ( via NEW YORK TIMES)

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