Friday, March 8, 2013

Whale Watching Santa Barbara

The Santa Barbara Channel is a rich playground for all kinds of whales and marine life; the safety and abundant food supply of the Channel make the whales comfortable and that makes whale watching fun and easy just about all the year round.  No boating for hours just to get to the right waterways!  The Santa Barbara Channel Islands are about 24 miles from shore and occasionally a whale has been spotted less than 2 miles from the beaches. There are 26 species of whales and dolphins that live or migrate through the Channel so a day of whale watching will typically include sitings of multiple kinds of dolphins, sea lions, sea birds and a variety of whales, depending on the season.  Spring time (March, April and May) brings the grey whales and their new born calves northbound from the warm waters of the Baja lagoons to Alaska for summer feeding.  The process is reversed in the winter months.   The whale watching season for the humpback and giant blue whale seems to be expanding in Santa Barbara, with humpbacks seen as early as March and as late as October, the blues coming into the Channel usually in May. 

We take time every year to go whale watching - there's nothing like being on the water, in the sun on a clear day (we have more than our fair share in Santa Barbara.)   Our whale watching choice is the Condor Express; we like it for the comfort and range of the ride, the keenly observant spotters and naturalists on board and most importantly, the design of the ship which minimizes disruption of the whale habitat.

If you'd like to spend a night or two in a fine Santa Barbara Bed and Breakfast before or after a day of whale watching, please give us a call or book directly on-line with us.  We'd love to see you.
Photo by dickrussell.org.



Deborah Gentry, Innkeeper,  Bath Street Inn

Friday, May 25, 2012

La Purisima Mission

 La Purisima Mission State Historic Park is a hidden gem and a must see for anyone interested in the history of early California.  It's a delightful day trip, easy to combine with wine tasting or a round of golf in the Santa Ynez valley later in the day. No longer a working Catholic parish church (unlike Missions Santa  Barbara and Santa Ynez) La Purisima is the most complete mission restoration project in California.  You can feel the ghostly presence of the hundreds who lived at the Mission as you linger in the cool adobe of the padres' quarters and the refectory, sense the workers in the blacksmith's shop, the pottery shop and saddlery, the weaving room and mission office. Imagine how a guest might have felt riding in from the coast or other missions. You can almost smell the bread baking in the beehive ovens behind the main structure, or hear the children laughing in the Chumash Indian village or singing in the chapel. The gardens of the mission were designed to be historically accurate (to the 1820s) and have been featured on Huell Howser's California Gold.  Over one hundred volunteers and docents (Prelado de los Tesoros) create Living History Days, special events and lead daily guided tours.

La Purisma Mission is in Lompoc, a pretty 50 minute drive from Santa Barbara, making it an ideal day trip and worth including in your Santa Barbara vacation. If we can help you with accommodation in a Santa Barbara Bed and Breakfast, please give us a call, we'd love to hear from you.





Deborah Gentry, Innkeeper Bath Street Inn

Monday, April 23, 2012

Shoestring Winery Solvang

 A cool Spring morning in Santa Barbara encouraged us to go exploring and try a new-to-us winery in nearby Solvang where the temperature was a warm 90 degrees.  We had long heard of Shoestring Winery and discovered that if you are a red wine lover, this family-owned boutique winery definitely deserves your attention. The Craigs own 60 acres, planted their first vines in 1999 and sold their first wine, a  2002 Sangiovese in 2004.  Their reds are aged a minimum of 20 months in oak and they've been medalling in various competitions for years now.  We tasted their new releases; the 2010 Pinot Grigio, their only white, crisp and thoroughly chilled, will be a lovely summer wine, and the 2007 Sangiovese, aged in oak for 28 months.  We bought a bottle of that; very complex and smooth, we preferred it to the 2007 Merlot which was great in its own right (gold medal winner in San Diego 2011).
The winery is on Highway 246, down a little driveway and physically located in a big, well chilled, insulated barn.  As you taste, you're looking at the barrels that will be wonderful wine next year and years to come.  Thumbs up! 


Deborah Gentry, Innkeeper Bath Street Inn

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Santa Barbara Orchid Show 2012

The International Orchid Show of Santa Barbara has a long and happy history partly because Santa Barbara has such an ideal climate for growing orchids.  Not surprisingly, we typically have 3 orchid events each year in various locations around town, Spring, Summer and Fall.  This year, our Spring event, the 67th annual International Orchid Show takes place March 16th, 17th and 18th at the Earl Warren Showgrounds. There will be plenty of orchids to admire including hybrids, rare species and juried exhibits of orchid related art work for purchase. Free workshops on orchid care.

Our Summer Orchid event is the 32nd Annual International Orchid  Fair, sponsored by the Santa Barbara Orchid Estate.  ( A great place for gardeners to visit almost any time of year.)   Also held at the Earl Warren Showgrounds, the dates for 2012 are July 13, 14 and 15.

If you're traveling to the Fair or have family and friends visiting and need accommodation, we'd love to have you at our Santa Barbara Bed and Breakfast

  

Deborah Gentry, Innkeeper Bath Street Inn

Monday, November 28, 2011

Savory Egg Casserole Recipe

Ok, for all those folks out there who have loved the Mediterranean Egg Casserole that we have served up lately and have requested the recipe but haven’t received, my apologies, I tend to be a bit of a rebel and a fly by the seat of my pants kind of gal when it comes to cooking at times, a bit more of an eyeballer than a level teaspoon type of person.

HOWEVER, I have some time today to sit down and really think about what goes into that scrumptious breakfast and share it with all of you.  As most of you know we make a real effort here at the Inn to accommodate everyone’s dietary needs.  Occasionally we have a few guests in house that are unable to eat dairy and generally we can  scramble up some eggs for breakfast for them since most of our egg casseroles do have milk and cheese in them.  One weekend I was faced with about half an Inn of guests not able to eat dairy and well honestly that is a lot of folks to scramble eggs for in our small kitchen on a busy Sunday so I needed to come up with an alternative and hence the Mediterranean Egg Casserole was created!  It was a hit, whew, and I figured if it was a hit without dairy just think how much better it would be with cheese, for those of us able to eat it of course.  So it has been a work in progress and I think we have come up with a winner.

 Originally I had put the kalamata olives in the casserole but noticed a few plates returning with them pushed to the side, they are a fairly strong olive which some don’t like so for a while I left them out.  I also noticed that the feta seemed to get lost taste wise baked into the casserole so eventually those two ended up as a garnish which guests could choose to have or not to have and the tomato sauce? Well again that is my “ let’s see if this works” attitude and low and behold it worked!  So please enjoy the recipe, which is great to make ahead for large gatherings such as holiday brunches and for a family get together.  For me a recipe is framework…you can add and subtract and embellish to your hearts desire. 

~Marti  Gorton
Innkeeper Bath Street Inn

 
Mediterranean Egg Casserole

30 eggs
1 cup milk
3-4 cups cottage cheese
2 cans artichoke hearts drained and squeeze of all water, finely chopped and added to cottage cheese
1 package frozen spinach, thawed, drained and squeezed
¼ cup sun dried tomatoes, with most of oil blotted off -chopped
½ cup roasted bell peppers (we use the Trader Joes  brand with red and yellow pepper which has some nice chunks of garlic as well)- chopped
1 cup cheese…can be anything really
½ cup Parmesan cheese
1/2 t garlic salt
1 t basil
1 t oregano
1/2 t pepper

Topped with a tomato sauce ( we use the Trader Joes vodka tomato sauce) but I have made my own as well. Crumbled feta cheese and chopped kalamata olives.

This will make a dish that can serve 18-24 people.  Coat a baking dish with non stick spray and bake for about 90 minutes 325-350.  It is ready when a knife is pulled out clean.

We put this together the night before and put it into a cold oven in the morning and then turn the oven on.

Can be made dairy free by omitting cheese, doubling spinach and substituting water for milk~just as tasty!


Saturday, October 29, 2011

Arctic Sanctuary Exhibit Santa Barbara

 The Santa Barbara Natural History Museum recently opened its newest photography exhibit, Arctic Sanctuary.  The US Fish and Wildlife Service's nation-wide traveling exhibit celebrates the 50th anniversary of the creation of ANWR, the 19+ million acre Arctic Natural Wildlife Refuge in Northeast Alaska.   The exhibit is filled with stunning images by naturalist photographer Jeff Jones. Jones has been a pioneer in landscape wilderness photography in the Arctic and is no stranger to ANWR, having hiked to remote areas of the Sanctuary for years to capture the beauty of this seldom seen natural world.  The museum bookstore carries the accompanying book filled with photos and essays about this unique and precious place.

The Arctic Sanctuary Exhibit runs through January 8th, 2012; entrance is included in the price of admission to the Museum, $10 for adults.  The Museum is closed on Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Year's Day.

If you've come to the museum as part of a getaway to Santa Barbara consider our fine bed and breakfast for your accommodation.  We'd love to see you. 


Deborah Gentry, Innkeeper Bath Street Inn

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Lotusland Santa Barbara


Remember that Lotusland closes on November 15th for three months, so if you are planning to visit the gardens, jump on it now.   Something is always in bloom every week of the year in several of the 13 themed gardens that comprise the 37 acre estate. October blooms in Lotusland's  Fern Garden include the Cashmere Bouquet  and the Freddie Begonia by Rudy Ziesenhenne.  November brings the fruits of the persimmon trees in the Deciduous Orchard Garden and pomegranates at the entrance to the Cactus Garden.  The tours cost $35 per adult and are docent led.  They take about 2 hours of pretty constant walking, so good shoes are a must. Reservations are required, no drop ins accepted.  Phone 805-969-9990 to book a Lotusland tour.

 If you are planning a trip to visit Lotusland and need a fine Santa Barbara Bed and Breakfast, we'd be happy to talk with you.  Call us at 805-682-9680 or book online, your preference.


Deborah Gentry, Innkeeper Bath Street Inn