I woke up on Sunday with my ears ringing and my head clouded. While it was more likely a severe case of “I celebrated too much last night and there are pictures of me drinking wine straight out of the bottle because I’m a classy lady like that”, I’m going to chalk it up to just overstimulation of noise and laughter and excitement from my going away party.
While I love to be social and go out on the town and dance to loud music, sometimes I crave a day of quiet alone time. Believe it or not, I’m actually quite the introvert and I occasionally need to spend an entire day to myself; a day without talking to anybody, getting back inside my own head, and indulging whatever whims I fancy. While I didn’t have that luxury this past weekend as I had to spend the day packing instead (and confronting the reality that I’m moving out of Santa Barbara this Saturday), a few weeks ago I was able to take refuge as I explored the serene and beautiful Santa Barbara Mission and crossed another item off my Santa Barbara Bucket List. It was just what I needed to satisfy the reclusive side of my nature and recharge my energy.
I was pleasantly surprised by the size and loveliness of the Santa Barbara Mission. Within the Mission’s walls are several sprawling and well tended gardens, a mausoleum, the church, a museum, and a cemetery dating from 1789 that contains the burial sites of early Santa Barbara settlers and Native Americans. Adjacent to the Mission I wandered through some wrought iron gates and stumbled upon a quiet dirt path that meandered its way through a grove of olive trees and bushes of bright pink bougainvillea.
The Santa Barbara Mission is one of the most iconic landmarks of Santa Barbara and is typically a bit of a tourist trap, which is why I’ve been hesitant to visit it; for some reason, I prefer to avoid the places like that. But on the lazy Sunday afternoon that I moseyed through its halls, only a handful of people dotted the rustic corridors and I was able to spend the afternoon slowly exploring. I left feeling charmed and contented, having soaked up the history of one of Santa Barbara’s most important cultural sites.
I highly recommend a visit to the Santa Barbara Mission. The Mission is located at the corner of Los Olivos Street and Laguna Street and boasts a beautiful ocean view. In front of the Mission are sprawling lawns and the scenic rose garden, where people often come to picnic, play games, or even sometimes get married. The Mission is open for tours everyday from 9:30am-4:30pm. Entrance fee for self guided tours are $5 for adults; docent guided tours are $8 for adults (discounts are available for seniors and youth). For more information, visit the website http://www.santabarbaramission.org/.