Thursday, December 18, 2014

Best Wishes for a Happy Holiday Season to our Past & Future Guests

It’s not too late to visit our festive city which is alive with beautiful decorations and where the shops and restaurants display their wares with flair and enthusiasm.  It truly is a magical time to visit and a wonderful chance to pick up all  of your last minute holiday gift purchases as well as attend some premier events such as the “Nutcracker Ballet” presented at two different venues, the Arlington and the Granada Theatres.    Seasonal plays include “La Pastorela” and an” Irish Celebration of the Winter Solstice” both widely celebrated by locals.  Alternatively, check out the Permanent Collection of Casa Dolores featuring works of art in clay, leather, wood, textile and silver representing the vast regions of Mexico and artisan craft traditions of the 20th century.  Or take in the Degas to Chagall exhibit on loan from the Armand Hammer Foundation housed at the small and well organized Santa Barbara Museum of Art.

Boasting shopping options ranging from the luxurious department stores of Saks & Nordstrom’s to the small independent boutiques and shops with everything in between, Santa Barbara is your one stop shopping experience.  Outside malls offer stress free purchasing and a tranquil environment to sip a holiday latte or enjoy a light lunch.  Our favorites include Pascucci  offering a variety of pasta, pizza and salads as well as Anderson’s Danish Bakery featuring a host of Scandinavian delicacies. 

Our Santa Barbara Inn can provide you with the quintessential

accommodation within walking distance and or tram stop of most downtown shopping.  Comfortable guest rooms await your return from a day out and invite you to relax in style whether in our front of our warming fireplace in our main house or in one of our Jacuzzi rooms perfect for soaking your tired feet.  Delicious hors d’oeuvres and deluxe morning breakfast completes the consummate getaway. 
And before you leave, why not pickup one of our gift certificates, an ideal present for a family member, friend or office buddy.

We look forward to welcoming you back to your home away from home in 2015.


Christine Dunstan & Jack Greenwald   

Friday, October 24, 2014

Queen of the Missions

Mission Pilgrimage

One of the most interesting historical trails within California is the “Mission Pilgrimage” consisting of 21 missions built during a period of 54 years.  Over 200 years old and constructed before the discovery of gold and even before California was a state and referred to as Alta California, these outposts of Spain were founded to spread Christian doctrine and consolidate and extend the empire. Stretching from San Diego in the South up to Sonoma in the North, all are still standing despite natural and manmade disasters.  Each have their own architecture and history contributing to the fabric and texture of modern day California.

Established on December 4, 1786 and named after the patron saint Barbara, the 10th mission along the trail, commands a beautiful position framed by the Santa Ynez mountains with views of the Pacific Ocean earning her the well-deserved reputation of  “queen of the missions.” An easy but energetic walk from the Cheshire Cat Inn, a visit is highly recommended. A suggested departure time is just after a delicious breakfast when the air is still cool and the mission still quiet before the tourist buses descend. Your stroll takes you through a leafy neighborhood adorned with typical Santa Barbara architecture.  An impressive structure with 2 bell towers and a fa├žade modeled after an ancient Latin temple in Pre-Christian Rome, her beauty can be admired from a distance.  Surrounded by beautiful gardens and an extensive rose garden where locals walk their dogs and meet up with friends and neighbors,  the mission’s property contains the Mission Gardens, church and cemetery and houses an archive of significant and rare documents describing the living conditions of the Padres and Chumash Indians during their day. Testament to the wisdom of the Padres, the Mission is equipped with its own fresh water system. Although not drinkable today, water was directed from a creek in the mountains via a stone aqueduct to large tanks within the mission property providing water for all its inhabitants.  Today, sections of this elaborate and complex system are still part of the Santa Barbara water works.

The Mission still exists as an active church and hosts a list of local events including the opening ceremony of Fiesta Days which is one of Santa Barbara’s most beloved celebrations.  Another traditional favorite is attendance at the beautiful Christmas Eve Mass where children can also enjoy the live nativity scene held on the grounds. I Maddonori, the Italian street painting festival, invites people from all over the world to admire the exquisite chalk drawings. There is no doubt that  our “queen of the missions”  remains the iconic symbol of Santa Barbara.

Innkeeper Cheshire Cat Bed and Breakfast Inn

Thursday, September 18, 2014

Santa Barbara’s Best Kept Secret

One of the most fascinating works of nature is fast approaching.  It’s the yearly migration of thousands upon thousands of monarch butterflies which gather amongst the beautiful blue eucalyptus trees of the magnificent Ellwood Park to find their mates.  This is a spectacular event which occurs between November through March and is an easy 20 minute drive from the Cheshire Cat Inn.  Located in the Ellwood Preserve, you can see these beautiful creatures hanging in clusters resembling bunches of grapes and dancing about in the late morning hours. It is a feast for the senses to see their fantastic colors and feel their soft fluttering motion – be careful not to touch them though as the oil from your skin can damage their wings. 

Monarch Butterfly Migration

A very popular pastime with  Santa Barbara’s,  Christine Dunstan owner of the Cheshire Cat Inn, suggests spending the day enjoying the entire park which not only includes the Butterfly Preserve but also Ellwood Bluffs and Ellwood Beach.   After a breakfast of cereals, fresh fruit, tasty homemade scones and the signature hot dish of the day, you embark on your day of discovery.  Easy directions are given out by our knowledgeable Innkeepers guiding you to the entrance of the park.  From there, meander through the grand forest of trees which house the butterflies to the flora and fauna of the pasture land ahead.  Trails abound which entertain dog walkers, families and college students alike and culminate at the rugged bluffs and exquisite beach below; a perfect time to have a picnic lunch.    The South Coast Deli, voted the best sandwich shop in Santa Barbara and only 2 blocks from the Cheshire Cat Inn, offers yummy “sammies’ to go such as roast beef with horseradish or a chicken chipotle club.  Relax and watch the ocean tide but don’t be too late to miss the wine and hors’ doeuvres hour from 5-6pm back at the Inn.    Chilled white Chardonnay alternating with Sauvignon Blanc, both from our local Santa Ynez Valley region is poured by our resident Innkeeper who offers restaurant choices for the evening ahead.  Enjoy easy conversation while chatting with other guests who share their day’s adventures and the ones ahead.  You might want to keep your day out a secret though so as to preserve Ellwood Park as one of Santa Barbara’s hidden treasures!  A perfect ending to a fabulous day.

We look forward to seeing you soon and hope you will be able to delight in the truly magical experience of the Butterfly’s annual pilgrimage. 

Ellwood Park
Innkeeper Cheshire Cat Bed and Breakfast Inn

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Magical Evenings at The Granada Theatre in Santa Barbara

As the end of summer comes to an end, we look forward to the city’s cultural and musical season ahead with particular fondness for the Granada Theatre.  Home to the Santa Barbara Symphony and host to a vast array of musical events from opera to ballet to pop culture, this theatre is truly a venue for all.  Beautifully restored and gracious in every aspect, your experience is bound to be special.  Entering this elegant theatre takes you back in time to a period of gentility where people still dress up, almost a lost art these days.  There isn’t a bad seat in the house and the acoustics are first rate.  The 2014/15 schedule promises wonderful performances along with some special events presenting Tony Bennett, Manuel Linan attending the Flamenco Arts Festival and Winston’s royal roost, modeled after the popular jazz night club of the 1950’s, the “Royal Roost”. 

The Granada Theatre in Santa Barbara

Upcoming Events at The Granada Theatre, Santa Barbara
  • September 4, 2014 @ 8:00 Russell Peters - stand up comedy.
  • September 8, 2014 @ 7:00 Bugsy Malone 
  • September 18, 2014 @ 8:00 Winston's Royal Roost
  • September 20, 2014 @ 8:00 Colin Mochrie and Brad Sherwood: Two Man Group
  • September 27, 2014 @ 8:00 Compania Manuel Linan - Nomada (Flamenco Arts Festival)
  • October 2, 2014 @ 7:00 Tony Bennett
  • October 4, 2014 @ 8:00 Big Bad Voodoo Daddy
  • October 9, 2014 @ 8:00 London Philharmonic Orchestra
  • October 14, 2014 @ 8:00 Winston's Royal Roost
  • October 18, 2014 @ 8:00 and October 18, 2014 @ 3:00 Rachmaninoff and Chopin
  • October 21, 2014 @8:00 Michael Lewis 
  • October 25, 2014 @ 7:30 Scheherazade (street ballet) 
  • October 28, 2014 @ 7:00 Joshua Bell (violin)

A perfect evening can begin with tasty hors d’oevres and a glass of wine during the Cheshire Cat’s early evening social hour where you can mix and mingle with other guests before an easy walk down to the Granada.  This 10 minute stroll leads you past lovely buildings whose architecture is reminiscent of the city’s history and Spanish heritage.  Small boutiques and lively restaurants pave both sides of the main drag, State Street, offering early dining options and evening cocktails.  A favorite is Carlitos, a local establishment located just 2 blocks from our Santa Barbara bed and breakfast. Offering traditional Mexican cuisine, the food is delicious and is complemented with great service and atmosphere.  For a more fine dining experience, try Downey’s, just 1 block further down State Street whose reputation places it in the top echelon of Santa Barbara restaurants.  Owner and master chef John Downey creates wonderful dishes which tantalize the taste buds.  Having opened their doors at the same time as the Cheshire Cat Inn, we share a common bond of warm hospitality and have thus created the Santa Barbara “Great Escape” package including 1 night’s accommodation as well as dinner for 2.

There’s certainly no shortage of theaters in our small but “culturally rich” city  including the Lobero, Arlington & Victoria, each offering their own distinct flavor but the Granada holds a special place in our hearts and is truly the “grande dame”  We hope you will come and visit us by taking advantage of our midweek  packages  to experience the Granada first hand.

Monday, August 4, 2014

Wine Tasting at the Funk Zone in Downtown Santa Barbara

With the world class shopping, restaurants and attractions that downtown Santa Barbara has to offer, we are all too aware that it’s hard to tear yourself away for even a day to go wine tasting out in the valley. Why do that, when steps from the heart of downtown is The Funk Zone; a hip, exciting neighborhood teeming with eclectic shops, innovate restaurants, and over 14 tasting rooms. This vibrant area is the perfect choice if you only have a few days in the city and don’t want to spend a lot of your day (especially after imbibing a fair amount of wine) stuck driving in your car. Perfect for the urban explorer who wants to discover some hidden pockets of Santa Barbara.
Wine Tasting

After a restful night's sleep and a fantastic breakfast at the Cheshire Cat Inn, enjoy a morning discovering the amazing history of Old Mission Santa Barbara, strolling or cycling along the beach-side path, or visiting the multitude of downtown shops. There are so many options, but they are all just a precursor to your focus of the day. Now it’s time to meander down for wine tasting at The Funk Zone! The Santa Barbara Winery was the first winery in the county, and is a wine we are proud to pour during our daily afternoon social. Take a visit to this friendly spot, and discover the many other pours available.  Another favorite of ours, especially for their exquisite reds, is Kunin. From personal experience you will not be disappointed with any Funk Zone establishment. They all boast an inviting atmosphere and incredibly friendly and knowledgeable staffs. You can even mix it up with some award winning micro-brews or an artisan distillery.
Artisan Distillery
There are so many tasting rooms to choose from and they are all within blocks of each other. Be careful though! It is not unheard of to miss out on the other offerings of The Funk Zone by overdoing it. For a fantastic meal, we cannot recommend The Lark any more highly. Using locally sourced and seasonal ingredients, the chefs here will craft you the ideal culinary experience to end your downtown adventure. Stroll, cycle or drive back to the inn and enjoy a soak in your in-room Jacuzzi or a late evening respite in our beautiful garden before you end another perfect day in Santa Barbara.

Innkeeper Cheshire Cat Bed and Breakfast Inn

Wednesday, July 2, 2014

Fourth Of July, 2014

Are you coming to the beautiful coastal town of Santa Barbara while you celebrate the 4th of July holiday weekend! With the 4th falling on a Friday this year, it’s the perfect time to schedule a Santa Barbara getaway weekend at the Cheshire Cat Inn. We’ll use our over 30 years of hospitality experience to make sure you have a memorable and relaxing stay. Cheshire Cat Inn is located close to the heart of Santa Barbara, so you will be near all the action. Wrap yourself in the lap of luxury at our Victorian Inn, and take advantage of our delicious continental breakfast or join us for our wine and hors d’oeuvres hour as you take in some of these 4th of July holiday festivities in Santa Barbara:
·        Spirit of ’76 Parade: The parade will take place on Friday July 4, with a grand march beginning at 1:00 p.m. at Micheltorena Street and proceeding down State Street to Old Town Santa Barbara, concluding at Cota Street. Over 175 nonprofits will participate, with this year’s parade theme focusing on safeguarding our nation’s Bill of Rights.
·        4th of July Fireworks Display: The City of Santa Barbara will again host the traditional beachside Independence Day fireworks show on Friday, July 4. Food vendors will be at the West Beach waterfront from 11am - 9pm, so bring a picnic blanket and set up for a fun day at the beach! The fireworks show will start at 9pm and will last for 25 minutes; West Beach is open to the public during the day's festivities.
·        Free Concert at the Courthouse Sunken Gardens: Don't miss this free concert of inspiring and patriotic American orchestral masterpieces presented by the West Coast Symphony Orchestra at 5pm Friday, July 4th in the historic Santa Barbara County Courthouse Sunken Gardens. The early performance will allow plenty of time for dinner downtown, and a walk to the fireworks show off Santa Barbara Harbor. The concert is made possible by the support of the Cielo Foundation for the Performing Arts.
·        Butterflies Alive!: Experience the magic of Butterflies Alive! at the Santa Barbara Museum of Natural History as you stroll through a beautiful garden filled with flowers, luscious greenery, and hundreds of free-flying butterflies. See one of nature's most beautiful ambassadors and reconnect with nature. Entrance into the exhibition is included with Museum admission.
Make your reservation now to spend the 4th of July holiday weekend celebrating America at one of Santa Barbara's premier Bed and Breakfasts. Be sure to ask about our Inn Specials.

About The Cheshire Cat Inn - Located at 36 W. Valerio Street in Santa Barbara, the Cheshire Cat Inn is known for its perfect combination of location, ambience and comfort. Winner of a 2013 TripAdvisor Certificate of Excellence, the Inn’s spa treatments, quaint Victorian charms, and special hotel deals make it perfect as Santa Barbara’s Great Escape. Visit the website and Facebook page or call 805- 569-1610 for more information

Innkeeper Cheshire Cat Bed and Breakfast Inn

Sunday, March 16, 2014

Spring Into St. Patrick’s Day With a Cheshire Cat Inn Getaway

Cheshire Cat Inn Getaway On St. Patrick’s Day

If you're a guest staying at Cheshire Cat Inn on St. Patrick's Day, we've put together a handy list of things to do in Santa Barbara.

St. Patrick’s Day is a fun time to stroll around Santa Barbara and reminds us that a lush, green spring is just around the corner. The weather has been fabulous lately; feels like summer arrived early!

Below is a list of Santa Barbara activities you may wish to consider while staying at the inn this St. Patrick's Day.

  • Urban Wine Trail: Taste some of the finest wines produced in Santa Barbara County, all within blocks of downtown and the beach. Created by a group of like-minded wineries, the Santa Barbara Urban Wine Trail offers both novices and aficionados the opportunity to learn about and taste wines of many different varieties and styles crafted from Santa Barbara County’s best vineyards.
  • Waterhouse Gallery houses paintings from nationally known artists from the Western states and are members of the California Art Club and Oil Painters of America.  
  • The Museum of Contemporary Art Santa Barbara is where adults can learn from Santa Barbara artists during their ever popular living room conversations, panel discussions, and lecture series. 
  • Fuzion describes itself as a “hybrid retail store” that focuses on glass art pipes, men’s underground fashion, and street art culture. The store’s glass collection is a particular source of pride as they focus mainly on American made pieces. 
  • Sullivan Goss represents the works of American artists from the 19th century to today. They have spent the last 25 years curating a collection of over 3000 works featuring the best in paintings, sculptures, watercolors, drawings, prints from artists labeled as luminists, impressionists, expressionists, and modernists.  
  • Santa Barbara Museum of Natural History has twelve exhibition halls that feature a life-size 72-foot Blue Whale Skeleton, birds, insects, mammals, marine life, paleontology, and the Chumash Indians. Guests experience the wonder of space exploration in the Gladwin Planetarium. The Museum also owns and operates the Ty Warner Sea Center located on historic Stearns Wharf.
  • Santa Barbara Zoo is always a great option, with plenty of fun family activities. With 30 acres and 500 animals, visitors need a map to be sure they see Condor Country, the pair of realistic high-tech dinosaurs in the “Dino Doc” show, the two baby giraffes, and many more animals in naturalistic habitats.
  • Santa Barbara Land and Sea Tours is Santa Barbara’s original amphibious tour vehicle. Guests climb aboard the LAND SHARK for a personally narrated 90-minute land and sea tour adventure and enjoy exquisite views of the Santa Barbara coastline, the American Riviera, and the Santa Ynez Mountains as seen only from a boat at sea.
  • Susan Quinlan Doll & Teddy Bear Museum & Library is dedicated to the love of dolls, teddy bears, books and the support of doll and teddy bear artists. 
  • Chase Palm Park Antique Carousel in Santa Barbara was made in North Tonawanda, New York, by the Allan Herschell Company in 1917. Herschell was the largest manufacturer of these flights of fancy during the Golden Age of carousels. Old-fashioned calliope music plays as the carousel turns. 

Don't forget to mark your calendars for the upcoming Santa Barbara Vintners Spring Weekend - April 10 – 13. This is a long weekend filled with special events held at wineries, vineyards, tasting rooms, and restaurants throughout Santa Barbara County. The Festival Grand Tasting held on Saturday, April 12 has wine tasting from all 100+ member wineries, an Art Walk, Farmers Market Pavilion, and the Connoisseur Club Pavilion.

The Cheshire Cat Bed and Breakfast Inn offers tempting breakfasts and cozy accommodations in The Main House, The Eberle House, The Coach House or Bramhall, Mobberly, Prestbury and Woodford Cottages, each with its own unique charms and revitalizing atmosphere. We have relied on our 30 years of hospitality to create a relaxed and inviting atmosphere so you can simply relax and revel in the small town warmth and charm of Old Santa Barbara. If you’re looking for a little more fun, Cheshire Cat Inn is also located close to Santa Barbara wine country, downtown and within minutes of fine dining, shopping, and beaches, with plenty of Santa Barbara activities close at hand.

We look forward to welcoming you on your next visit. Best of all we’ve got some great Cheshire Cat Inn Specials that include options for in-room luxurious massages or fine dining at some of Santa Barbara’s tastiest restaurants.  

Happy St. Patrick's Day from all of us at Cheshire Cat Inn,

About The Cheshire Cat Inn - Located at 36 W. Valerio Street in Santa Barbara, the Cheshire Cat Inn is known for its perfect combination of location, ambience and comfort. Winner of a 2013 TripAdvisor Certificate of Excellence, the Inn’s spa treatments, quaint Victorian charms, and special hotel deals make it perfect as Santa Barbara’s Great Escape. Visit the website and Facebook page or call 805- 569-1610 for more information.