Santa Barbara-Summer Solstice

Also known to many as the hippie parade. I don’t care. It’s cool. I love a parade in general as y’all may have figured out by now but I especially love the Summer Solstice parade in Santa Barbara because their floats are always so beautiful and colorful. The parade itself is a relatively young tradition, maybe only 15 years old or so, but it has grown to be a great tradition in charming Santa Barbara. You can’t ask for a more beautiful location which is right in downtown SB on State Street, followed by a great festival in the park after the parade is over. Every time I have gone it has turned out to be a beautiful day to welcome in the summer season.          

While in Santa Barbara, there are some Bed and Breakfasts worth checking out that I have recommended to people for quite some time. One in particular is The Cheshire Cat, located in a residential area one block off of State Street. It is small and charming with a quiet, neighborhood feel to it. As expected, it has references to the Cheshire Cat in Alice in Wonderland but it’s subtle and not overdone in a theme park kind of way. Just simple, elegant, quiet, and lovely the way a B & B should be.       





The other property I have always found to be a little bigger than the Cheshire Cat but also very charming is the Upham Hotel.  Also located just off of State Street, it’s in a residential area offering plush bed and breakfast accommodations. This is a hotel but does not have a big hotel feel to it. It’s still very quiet and does not lack in charm at all.         


If  you’re into good BBQ, one of my favorite stops is the Santa Barbara Chicken Ranch. I know, it sounds like something you might find in the Nevada desert somewhere but they serve up some really great BBQ. Check it out if in the area.          

There is so much in Santa Barbara and the Santa Ynez mountains. This is a really special area that I visit yearly and there will be many more posts because there is so much to do. In the meantime, you can check out more photos from the beautiful Summer Solstice Parade.          

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San Francisco Pride-40 and Fabulous!




San Francisco Pride has been going strong for 40 years. I have always loved the joy and diversity the Pride Parade brings and love how it evolves every year. This year marked the 40 year anniversary of Pride and the event was nothing less than absolutely fabulous!        

I don’t go every year but when I do go, I tell everybody not to miss the Dykes on Bikes. This kicks off the parade and it’s simply awesome. Market Street is filled with every type of motorcycle you can think of, which to my dismay is now including Vespas. Don’t get me wrong, I love Vespas. I think they’re precious and even a Vespa is too much for me to handle. But in the old days, Market Street would shake from the overwhelming sound of Harleys revving up at the same time. That noise would have scared the crap out of the Road Warrior. No matter. The more the merrier. Strength in numbers, girls.  

Gavin Newsom in the hood


  Gavin Newsom showed up but we thought it was kind of weird because we saw the car with his name on it but no Gavin. He was actually walking in front of his car, among the crowd so he could get up close and personal. He still pisses me off sometimes but the man knows how to work a crowd.      

Some of the recognizable names in the parade were the Backstreet Boys, Andy Bell from Erasure, and the author Alice Walker, among other local favorites like Reverend Cecil Williams of Glide Memorial church. Love him.       


There are many different groups marching in the parade representing various organizations but I took notice of all the beautiful families participating in the parade as well as observing. I also loved the major corporations who showed up in huge numbers such as Kaiser and Google, whose crowds were as crazy and excited as everyone else, and happy to take part in the celebratory atmosphere. It’s definitely something that not everyone can appreciate and that is fine. Change the channel if you don’t like it. But if experiencing something colorful, joyful, fun, creative, inclusive, and downright happy is not for you than you’re simply missing out. I’ll be back for more next year!      


Happy Pride to EVERYBODY!!!!       

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I have more photos on Flickr.       

Carnaval-San Francisco Style

I can’t imagine that there is a better Latin neighborhood than the Mission in San Francisco to celebrate Carnaval or Carnivale. Which ever way you spell it, mixed with a beautiful sunny day in the city, there is nothing more vibrant.  This is how we went to the Caribbean and Latin America for the day. More can be seen on my Flickr photo stream.

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