True Western Towns

10 for 10: Santa Barbara, CA

Touring our #6 town of the year, from the historic presidio to Rancho la Patera.

santa-barbra_rancho-la-patera

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1. Santa Barbara was founded at Presidio de Santa Bárbara in 1782 when the Spanish established the last of four fortresses in Alta California to defend the area from foreign invasion. Explore the exhibits, exposed archaeological excavations and the atmospheric adobe buildings.

2. The Santa Barbara Historical Museum houses the city’s presidio and mission artifacts, plus the decorative arts and personal possessions of many prominent Californio families. Next door are two adobes dating to 1817 and 1836.

3. Sit on the outdoor porch, with a view of the presidio, and enjoy Mexican fare at Playa Azul Café. Pearl Chase, who began the presidio restoration project, had her office here during the 1960s.

4. A feast for the eyes and the imagination, the Carriage and Western Art Museum houses over 50 spectacular saddles, many with famous former owners, and dozens of carriages, from mud wagons to Army wagons.

5. Casa de la Guerra was built between 1818-28 by José de la Guerra, the fifth commandant of the presidio and a successful merchant and trader. The...

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