Monday, August 29, 2016

What you Need to Know About the Santa Barbara Mission

Discover the roots of the Spanish heritage that has influenced the stunning architecture and picturesque streets of Santa Barbara with a visit to Old Mission. This breathtaking church sits on 13 acres with gorgeous views overlooking the Pacific Ocean and is a must see for any Santa Barbara getaway. Here’s what you should know:

A little history…
  • Old Mission is the 10th of 21 Californian Missions built and founded by Spanish Franciscans and has been named “Queen of the Missions” for its beauty and prominent position.
  • It was founded in 1786 and has had to be rebuilt twice because of earthquake damage – once in 1812 and again in 1925
  • The original fountain and water treatment systems are still intact today

Plan your visit…
  • Today Old Mission serves as a place of worship, retreat house, wedding venue, and major tourist attraction.
  • Day Trip:
    •  Step back in time and explore the historic grounds. Stroll through the expansive gardens and take a self-guided tour of the church. After you do a little exploring, find a cozy spot to sit and enjoy a picnic lunch!
    • Book a guided tour and get a true appreciation for the history of this special landmark. After the tour stick around and enjoy southern style BBQ from Georgia’s Smokehouse. Their gourmet food truck will be parked out front on select days throughout the summer!
  • Special Event:
    • Host your wedding or special event at the church! The authentic Spanish architecture provides a unique atmosphere that is sure to make any occasion unforgettable.
    • Propose to your special someone! Pack a picnic lunch or find a special spot on the grounds to pop the question.

Join us at our Santa Barbara bed and breakfast and discover the heart of the town with an adventure to this special landmark. Fuel up for the day with our complimentary European style breakfast and take the short drive or walk up to the Old Mission.

Thursday, July 7, 2016

Most Romantic Places in Santa Barbara to Get Engaged

All around gorgeous views, Spanish-inspired architecture and beautiful weather year-round make Santa Barbara the perfect place for an absolutely unforgettable proposal. Here are some of our favorite spots to pop the question:

Butterfly Beach: Pack a picnic lunch with some of your favorite treats from the local South Coast Deli and discover the pristine shores of this breathtaking beach befitting the perfect time to tell her how much she means to you. Reveal the ring from a secret spot with the peaceful sound of the rolling tide in the background.

Santa Barbara Wine Country: There’s something romantic about vineyards and beautiful landscapes – did you ever see “A Room with a View” or “Under the Tuscan Sun”?  Plan a day wine tasting in the stunning Santa Ynez mountains and propose amongst the grapevines.  Discover this guide to Santa Barbara’s best wineries and choose the setting that best speaks to your version of an ideal proposal.

LotuslandStroll through the winding paths of this exotic botanical garden.  Savor the sweet aroma of fresh flowers and take in the Santa Barbara sunshine before you present your offer of marriage.  Be sure you make a reservation beforehand for this one!

Old Mission: Stunning Spanish architecture and 12 acres of beautifully landscaped gardens on a hillside with a view of the ocean make this beloved church an intimate and romantic backdrop for a truly unique proposal.  Perhaps choose an anniversary rose from the scores of individually named roses in the gardens close by.  Be careful not to pick any though as this is not allowed!

Wine CaskFine dining at its best can be found at this established restaurant offering romantic candlelit tables outside on brick patios or at private cozy tables inside – it’s one of our favorites!   Begin the evening with a glass of Santa Barbara’s finest wines and indulge in exquisite California cuisine.  Call ahead and alert the staff of your special evening and advise the chef so he can prepare a special dessert surprise for the big moment

Celebrate with us!  After your thrilling event, retreat to our romantic Santa Barbara Inn for a celebratory glass of champagne and homemade treat before you slip off to your luxurious suite for the evening.

Tuesday, May 24, 2016

Your Insider's Guide to a Romantic Santa Barbara Honeymoon

Your Insider’s Guide to a Romantic
Santa Barbara Honeymoon

Santa Barbara honeymoons are the perfect mix of relaxation and adventure with the laid back vibes, exceptional food and wine scene, and all around breathtaking views. We’ve put together a few of our favorite ways to experience the beauty of this beloved coastal town so you can skip the hectic planning process and jump right into your first getaway as a married couple.

  •  Picnic on Butterfly Beach: Pack up a picnic lunch and head down to Butterfly Beach. Let the salty sea and peaceful sound of crashing waves soak the wedding stress away.
  • Go Wine Tasting: Santa Barbara Wine Country is majorly underrated. You’ll find an array of finely crafted spirits to satisfy even the most discerning palates. Go the vineyard route for stunning views of the Santa Ynez Mountains, or check out the Urban Wine Trail to experience the eclectic vibes of downtown.
  • Stroll Down State Street: Venture over to State Street downtown and explore the diverse shops and cafes that line this pedestrian-friendly outdoor shopping area. Great people watching, beautiful architecture, and charming boutiques make this the perfect laid-back outing.

Pick an Adventure
  • Surfing, Kayaking, Stand Up Paddle Boarding: Try something new together and schedule a private lesson. Choose the experience that sounds most intriguing and get ready to let loose and make some amazing memories with Santa Barbara Adventure Company.
  • Go Whale Watching: Set sail on the Santa Barbara Channel with Condor Express and get up close and personal with humpback whales, bottlenose dolphins, and dozens of other sea creatures.
  • Bike the Town: One of the best ways to experience Santa Barbara is by bike. Rent a beach cruiser or team up on a tandem bike and go exploring. For scenic views cruise along the coast and break for lunch on Stearn’s Wharf or get acquainted with the charm and Spanish flair of downtown – be sure to stop by Old Mission on the way!


  • Breakfast: We’ve got you covered at our Santa Barbara Inn – fuel up for the day ahead with homemade quiche, baked treats, fresh fruit and more in our cozy on-site dining room.
  • Lunch: C’est Cheese – pack the picnic lunch of your dreams with treats from this gourmet cheese shop or pull up a chair in the café for seasonal soups and sandwiches – they make a killer grilled cheese!
  •  Dinner: Bouchon – hands down our favorite restaurant and perfect for celebrating this special occasion. Only the freshest local ingredients grace the seasonal menu, all seamlessly paired with an exclusively Santa Barbara wine list.
  • Dessert: McConnell’s Ice Cream – there’s something so fun and playful about an ice cream shop and McConnell’s has everything you love about this childhood favorite with a twist. Enjoy artisanal flavors like Boysenberry Rosé Milk Jam, Churros Con Leche and Cardamom & Gingersnaps. Yum!


Luxurious suites, romantic fireplaces and private balconies overlooking blooming gardens set the scene for the beginning of your romantic adventure at our cozy Santa Barbara bed and breakfast.

Set aside some time in the afternoon to enjoy wine and hors d’oeuvres on our garden patio or treat yourselves to an in-room couple’s massage.  Whatever your desires, allow us to be your partners in crafting the ideal Santa Barbara honeymoon.

Tuesday, April 19, 2016

The Best Way to Visit UC Santa Barbara

Visit UC Santa BarbaraWhether you’re coming to visit a son or daughter, touring schools to see which one is the best fit, or simply want to get a glimpse of one of the most beautiful campuses in the country, we are the perfect starting point for your UC Santa Barbara adventure.

Prospective UCSB Students – This is a time in your child’s life when they get to start an adventure that is all their own. As you are pouring over the academic course guides and admission requirements, don’t forget to consider the area and the culture they’ll be immersing themselves in.
Get a true feel for the spirit of Santa Barbara and take some time to explore. Experience the vibrant downtown social scene, wander the grounds of the historic Old Mission Santa Barbara, and of course take some time to enjoy the natural beauty of the California coastline - all within walking distance of our charming bed and breakfast.
As long-time Santa Barbara residents, we can give you a local’s perspective on everything from the best restaurants to some of the lesser known but equally amazing spots ideal for studying or unwinding from a stressful week.

Parents and Loved Ones – Get a peaceful night’s rest just far enough from campus (about a 10-minute drive). You’ll wake up to the smell of a homemade gourmet breakfast to power the exciting day ahead.
If you’re in town just to spend some time with your student, treat them to a meal in the town’s hot spot - the Funk Zone. It’s within walking distance of the inn and there’s always something new to try. We’re also a quick bike ride to the beach, so picnic lunches and evening bonfires can easily be incorporated into your trip.
Graduation time? Let us share our favorite family gathering spots to celebrate this major accomplishment. After the festivities, stroll back to the inn and reflect on the day with hot cup of coffee and fresh baked cookies before you slip off to bed in a cozy suite.

Luxury lodging near UCSB
Vacationers – You don’t have to be a student to appreciate this coastal gem. Plan a special day-trip to explore the campus and perhaps check out a soccer game or dance performance. Universities always seem to have a wide array of interesting events and activities, many of which are affordable and benefit a good cause. The best part? This major attraction is a short 10-minute drive away so you’ll be back in time for afternoon wine hour on the terrace.  

Friday, March 18, 2016

Top 10 Things To Do in Santa Barbara

things to do in Santa Barbara
Santa Barbara is a coastal paradise with all of the things you love about California wrapped into one town. Sparkling waters, lush vineyards, and Spanish flair set the scene for treasured memories under the sun. As long term residents, the owners and staff of the Cheshire Cat Inn wanted to provide you with a few of their favorite things to do in Santa Barbara:

      1. Taste the Town: You’ll be hard pressed to find yourself dining at a chain restaurant here, and with all the fresh local options why would you want to? Santa Barbara is known for fresh seafood, coastal-inspired dishes, and killer Mexican cuisine. Check out this guide to find the place that suits your cravings.

2. Wine Tours and Vineyards: Santa Barbara vineyards are absolutely breathtaking – a wine tour is a must for any visit and the diverse flavors and distinctive character of Santa Barbara wines mean you’ll have no trouble finding a bottle worthy to take home.

3. Urban Wine Trail: If the downtown feel is more your pace, the Urban Wine Trail is a great way to get a real taste of the history and charm of Santa Barbara. You’ll sip on wines crafted by the best vineyards in the area as you stroll through the streets of this stunning city.

4. Take a Hike: California-living means lots of outdoor time and Santa Barbara has some of the most breathtaking nature and wildlife around. Top picks: go for a morning hike to the top of the Santa Ynez Mountains or take a more laid-back hike to the San Ysidro Waterfall.

5. Bike the City: One of the favorite ways to see Santa Barbara is by bike – so much more freedom than with a car. Whether you’re looking for a ride along the beach, through the town, or across wine country, the city is bike friendly so ditching the car is no hardship.

6.  Trolley Tours: Hit all of the hot spots in one shot on these charming trolley tours. See everything from the signature Spanish-inspired architecture of the city to the scenic bird refuge at the Santa Barbara zoo –the whole tour is narrated so you might learn a thing or two!

7. Go on an Adventure: A thrilling Santa Barbara activity is the perfect way to try something new. Try stand-up paddle boarding, surf lessons, or even paragliding. Whatever you choose, you’re sure to walk away from these unforgettable experiences with some amazing memories.

8. Sustainable Vine Wine Tours: For a more intimate wine tasting experience that’s also environmentally friendly – this is the place for you. Your tour includes Mercedes Benz luxury transportation, wine tasting at the small, family-owned wineries of Santa Barbara County, and a made-to-order organic lunch.

9. Dine at Bouchon: One of our favorite spots – Bouchon is coastal dining at it’s finest, with the menu designed around their exclusive Santa Barbara wine list. You’ll enjoy thoughtfully paired meals with the areas freshest local ingredients, all in a warm, relaxed atmosphere.

10. The Funk Zone: This area of downtown is all about celebrating the unique character of the businesses and artists that reside there. You can see everything from quaint art galleries to eclectic cafes and wineries. The neighborhood has quickly become a hot spot for locals and visitors alike.

After your exhilarating day exploring this sea-side haven, return to the Cheshire Cat Inn, our luxurious Santa Barbara Bed and Breakfast for a bedtime treat and a peaceful night’s sleep. You’ll wake up to the smell of fresh homemade breakfast, rejuvenated and ready to take on a new day of adventures.