Random Photos from an April Socal Road Trip

 My February road trip to the central and south coast of California was disappointing in the weather department. I enjoyed my trip but there were plenty of horticultural activities that  were rain-outs. After returning  home I  decided to re-do the trip in April.It was a somewhat fiscally irresponsible decision -I was basically shelling out the bucks for the same trip , two months apart. It was worth it, and I have no regrets. My only disappointment this time around was that there were no rooms available in the hotel of choice in Santa Barbara, so I had to fall back on my Best Western option in Carpenteria. I was ok with that-who cares much about the lodgings when you have Lotusland and the Taft Garden on the agenda.

 At some point during my February trip I read information about the renovation of the Skyview Motel in Los Alamos. Anyone who has traveled US-101between Northern and Southern California in the last several decades will recognize this iconic hilltop 1950's motel with it's neon beacon looming above  the highway. When I was a child (which was some time ago) I dreamed of staying here, way up on the hill overlooking the coast ranges , with a Heated Pool -back then my number one criteria for a motel. The renovation looked promising and how can you not tick off a childhood bucket list item ?

I must say they did a really nice job , and were probably only able to make it work due to proximity to the Paso Robles and Santa Ynez Valley wine country. But the plants ! Heavy on Agaves, grasses, Palo Verdes and Citrus.

 Our California hills were still wearing their winter green, but I love the golden brown of summer too.

 This is the  Best Western Hotel where I sometimes  stay in Carpenteria . I always get a courtyard room on the ground floor which gives me a little patio -I hate being cooped-up inside. This is not a great photo, but the exterior architecture of the hotel is really nice-these are classic wood French doors with patios and balconies overlooking a central courtyard of tropical plantings.

 On this stay I saw this--stacks of Jeld-Wen vinyl sliders staged on the corners of the courtyard. Take a look at the photos above and imagine the wood patina replaced by these cheap-o replacement doors. What a mistake. I can understand the maintenance issues , but this will completely ruin the architectural integrity of this building in my opinion.  The architecture of  historic buildings is a feature of the Santa Barbara area (along with the Pacific Ocean) and one of the reasons that it is a popular tourist destination.

 I will have a post dedicated to my Lotusland visit soon, but I will share here the Origami exhibit in Madame Ganna Walskas' residence. I happened upon it quite by accident.

 I won't even try to explain this portion of the gallery;suffice to say this Origami piece was about 3 feet across and was suspended from the ceiling in an empty room-there were several others of different sizes. It was kind of mesmerizing . Adding to the atmosphere was the fact that there was not a single other human in the gallery .

 An Origami cactus.

 Origami Agaves-you can guess who came to mind when I saw these !

 An Origami Columbine

 Rill in the courtyard outside Madame Ganna Walskas boudoir.

 The latter part of my trip was spent in the Morro Bay area and I made a brief stop at Mission San Luis Obispo to see what there might be in their gardens.

 The garden itself was in a small courtyard and featured a couple of nice succulent vignettes , mixed in with those plants  that are common to public landscapes.

 I'm staying home now until Garden Bloggers Fling takes me to Denver in June. I have plenty to do in my own garden and there are some local Garden Conservancy tours that will tide me over til Fling.


  1. You did well all around on this trip, Kathy. Origami cactus and agaves! Didn't Loree and Gerhard visit Lotusland on their recent trip? Did they miss the special exhibit? Curious bloggers want to know.

    1. We got to see the exhibit Kris! Our lectures took place in the main house, just across the courtyard from the exhibit, so we were able to wander in and out on our breaks.

    2. I believe we were at Lotusland 1 day apart or maybe 2 at the most. I should have left a greeting somewhere !

  2. I loved the origami, what a fluke that I happened to be there to see it. I'm so glad you did a repeat, and yes "who cares much about the lodgings when you have Lotusland and the Taft Garden on the agenda"! Those new windows are so sad...

    1. I took several more photos of the Origami but they turned out incredibly dark. The windows, a sad state of affairs.

  3. I've stayed at the Best Western in Carpinteria a few times now and find it a good option in the SB area--in the winter their prices are a bargain. Too bad they might replace those beautiful wooden doors!

    The Skyview Motel in Los Alamos looks awesome. Thank you for putting it on my radar!

    1. It was fun to stay at the Skyview, and I drove directly to Lotusland from there so it worked out well. The room I stayed in had no fridge , but I was only there one night so my small travel cooler was ok.


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