Los Angeles to Santa Barbara

Trip Start Nov 05, 2009
Trip End Nov 08, 2009

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Where I stayed
Fees Parker Double Tree

Flag of United States  , California
Thursday, November 5, 2009

On Wednesday night my family and I drove 2.5 hours to Newark, NJ where we were going to fly from. We got a "Park, Sleep, Fly" deal from the Best Western Newark Airport Hotel. Our room at the hotel was a decent size. We went to their Crossroads Bar and Lounge to get a bite to eat and watch the Phillies in the World Series. We ordered a large appetizer of mozzarella sticks, buffalo wings, stuffed jalapenos and onion rings and a few beers. The food was decent and the price was reasonable. We made arrangements to leave our car at the hotel while we were gone and to get the shuttle to the airport in the morning.

We had to be up early to catch out 6:30 a.m. shuttle to the airport. I have to say that the beds at this hotel were hard as a rock! We got up hoping to take advantage of their free hot continental breakfast! HUH! We went downstairs to find dried out cornbread muffins, apples and absolutely nothing hot or any juice, or tea. Muffins, water and apples was it...what a joke! Our shuttle driver drove like a maniac and didn't say a word the whole time...frankly I'm surprised we lived to get to the airport! I was not impressed with the Best Western Newark Airport Hotel!

At the airport it was the same old rigamarole to get through security. We found our gate and also found several other family members who were going out to CA for the wedding...we were on the same flight together. We selected a direct flight to Los Angeles which took roughly 6 hours. On the flight we were served a small breakfast and movies were shown. I opted to sleep because I slept horribly the night before.

Once we arrived at the airport and claimed our baggage we took a shuttle to the Thrifty rental car location to pick-up our rental car. We opted for a SUV since we had 4 people and luggage to fit into the car. We got a nice Ford Escape which everyone and everything well. It also had Sirus radio so I ofcourse found the Octane station.

I very wisely brought my GPS along on the trip. We decided to take the Pacific Coat Highway from Los Angeles to Santa Barbara since it is very scenic and avoids the freeways. It was about a two hour drive to Santa Barbara and along the way we went through Malibu, where you could see alot of the mansions, Santa Monica, Oxnard and Ventura. The drive was very pretty and along the ocean front most of the time, we saw plenty of surfers out cathing a wave!

We arrived at our hotel which was the five-star Fees Parker Double Tree in Santa Barbara. My cousin's wedding was being held on the beach across from the hotel and the hotel was hosting the reception so she got the family a discount on staying in the hotel. It is not a cheap hotel but absoultely gorgeous! We were served our complimentary warm chocolate chip cookies at check-in and showed to our rooms.

We were staying on the first floor of the Camella villa of the hotel. The Fees Parker is a large hotel that consists of a main building and several villas surrounding the property. We drove the rental car to our villa to unload our luggage in the room. Our room was very spacious and nice. We decided to get something to eat since it was getting late and also to take some pictures.

We walked over to the main building to decide where to eat, their main restaurant, Rodney's Steakhouse, wasn't open yet. We walked through the hotel until we found the Barra Los Arcos which is their bar. We saw on their menu that they had a limited selection of food so we decided to order. In this area of California people are very active and lead healthy lifestyles. I was happy to see wheat and whole grain bread on the menu and that what little fried food they had wasn't fried using trans fats and other unhealthy oils. I had a delicious club sandwich, everyone enjoyed their food but it was a little pricey.

After eating we walked across the street to the beach to take some pictures. The sun was starting to set so we enjoyed a quick walk on the board walk, the scenry, the ocean, the warm California air before returning to the hotel for the night. It wasn't too late but we were all feeling the jet lag and decided to catch up on some rest before we had to get up early the next day to go kayaking.

Things Learned on Day 1 in California:

1. The Best Western Newark Airport hotel has rock hard beds, a shitty continental breakfast and a crazy shuttle driver with attitude. Stay else where! 

2. Bring a GPS with you to CA. It makes getting around the freeways alot easier!

3. The Pacific Coast Highway is a very scenic drive along the coast of California and avoids the major freeways.

4. All Double Tree hotels serve warm, delicious chocolate chip cookies to their guests at arrival!

5. In Santa Barbara most people lead healthy active lifestlyes. You can always see someone running, walking, jogging, skateboarding, biking, or paddling in the area.

 6. Most of the food options around Santa Barbara are very healthy. We found a diner that served whole wheat buns for burgers and didn't fry with any trans fats.

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