FAQ ~ FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
About Our Neighborhood and What's Nearby
Close enough to walk to, but far enough so you can still enjoy your peace and quiet in our 'hood. The restaurant section of Santa Barbara begins around the 1300 block of State Street, which is about 1.7 miles from Suite Peas. Many of our guests walk down for dinner and then Uber or Lyft home ($7-9).
The airport is a 15 minute drive from Suite Peas ($17-23 by Uber or Lyft).
UCSB is 13 minutes and is a beautiful University of California campus to explore.
Most of Goleta can be reached in about 10 minutes.
We are about a 6 min. drive from SB's best beach: Hendry's. Yes, you can find hotels closer to the ocean in SB, but they are not close to the best beaches. We give you the best access to this (while keeping you out of the fog that hugs the coastal hotels most mornings).
Our favorite beach is called Hendrys Beach. From Suite Peas, drive left 1 mile and left again 3.6 miles and there you are. There is a nice little restaurant there (The Boathouse) and good parking and you can walk the beach all the way out to UCSB when the tide is low. This is also a great beach for high tide, as it is so wide. It also does not feel like a commercialized beach. It's still pure California beach-side.
The other main beach area is East Beach, by Stearn's Wharf, at the end of State Street. This is only 3.3 miles from Suite Peas. Stearn's Wharf is full of action and is much busier, though there is a good beach for walking too. The wharf has many shops and restaurants on it, and is also close to the Harbor. It's fun to walk the breakwater and see all the sailboats and fisherman at work. You can also hire boat trips or get a paddle board lesson from the Harbor. And Sunday mornings there is an Art Fair that sets up along the park to the side of Stearns Wharf with dozens of booths and artists showing their work from 10 am to dusk. Across the street from Stearns Wharf you can hire a 2-4 person covered bike surrey or boogie board.
A bit of a drive north or south gets you to other great beaches as well. Our guide book in the room will tell you more about each spot in detail:
- El Capitan State Beach - 24 minutes drive, Highway 101 North - private, more rugged
- Refugio Beach - 24 minutes drive, Highway 101 North - private, more rugged
- Gaviota State Beach - 33 minutes drive, Highway 101 North - private, more rugged
- Carpinteria State Beach - 35 minutes drive, Highway 101 South - great public active beach, active seal rookery (seasonally)
We have each lived all over town, in virtually every area of SB and Carpinteria - but we've settled on Mission Canyon as our favorite, and we look forward to sharing it with you.
While the coastal areas of town and the Mesa can be socked in with fog, we are just high enough to usually be in the sun.
We're close enough to walk to downtown, yet far enough away to avoid traffic and noise. It's very quiet here!
We are near great hiking trails in the nearby mountains, yet close enough to get to the beach in 6 minutes. Perfectly in the middle.
We can walk to the Mission or the Natural History Museum within 10 minutes.
Many of our guests opt to go car-less and enjoy walking or use Uber or Lyft to get around.
Suite Peas is not far from the center of town. It's about a half hour walk, and is one of our favorite things to do. And when you get to the top of the downtown area of State Street, you can also catch the Waterfront Shuttle to take you to the beach and the length of State Street. The shuttle is on a 10 minute loop all day until dusk. Here is more info on that: waterfront-shuttle .
Two public bus lines (6 and 11) both stop at State and Alamar, which is about a mile from our house, and they go directly downtown to the main bus station. (more info)
Many of our guests who use Uber or Lyft to or from Suite Peas find that they can get almost anywhere around town for about $7-$9.
We have a couple bikes you could use as well (18 gear hybrid), with helmets and locks. You will find a couple bike books in the Suite.
Trader Joe's - less than 4 minutes away. Directions: as you leave the gate, turn left onto Foothill Road. Turn left at the first traffic light onto Alamar. Cross State St and turn right onto De La Vina. Trader Joes will be on your left. 3025 De La Vina
- Whole Foods - about 6 minutes away. Directions: as you leave the gate, turn left onto Foothill Road. Turn left at the third traffic light onto Ontare Road. Turn right onto State St. Go one block and turn left onto Hitchcock and right into the parking lot for this wonderful market and deli. 3761 State Street.
- Gelsons - full service grocery store. less than 4 minutes away. Directions: as you leave the gate, turn left onto Foothill Road. Turn left at the first traffic light onto Alamar. Cross State St and turn right into the parking lot. 3305 State Street. Just to the right of the market is also a very nice French bakery named Renaud's with very fresh croissants.
About The Guest Suite
Yes of course it is. You are welcome to explore the entire grounds. In fact, our guests often go out to the veggie garden to pick their own greens for a salad. There are comfy chairs to sit and read in the sun with the sound of the waterfall to accompany you. And in the snack basket we offer you a little bag of food to hand-feed the koi fish too.
Beginning mid-2016 we converted many of our raised vegetable beds from dirt to hydroponic installations, and your private balcony will look over these remarkable growing beds. For a preview and more information about our adventure into hydroponics, please visit HydropodicsSB.com, or as we like to call it (because we are known as The Pods) hydroPODics.
Yes, of course we have free wi-fi - the highest speed available in Santa Barbara. We have super fast, high bandwidth wi-fi for your use. Our speeds are typically 350 Mbps (or more) download and 30 Mbps upload. In fact, most people find it to be significantly faster than any they have experienced before. It is also very high bandwidth.
So are we! We offer you three main choices for making coffee.
(1) A Nespresso machine with a supply of 16 capsules in varied roasts;
(2) A Keurig machine with both caf and decaf K-cups;
(3) A large thermos-style French Press, with both caf and decaf ground beans in the refrigerator (not shown in the picture below).
If you have a particular bean you love, you may want to bring your own supply or buy it locally. Beyond the supply we start you with, additional K-cups are available at local nearby markets such as Whole Foods, Trader Joes and Gelsons. And we offer additional sleeves of Nespresso pods for $10.We have a rather strong love of all things coffee − in 2011 we started saving our used Nespresso pods, as well as collecting them from people and business all around town to "upcycle" them. See our online ‘photo album’ of some of our creations − many of which you will see during your stay at Suite Peas:
Yes, the Suite is on the second story, overlooking the gardens.
As you leave your car you walk down a short flat walkway and then have 2 steps up to a patio level. You walk about 10 feet over the patio and then climb a two half flight of steps with 7 inch risers. The first half flight has 6 steps up to a landing (36"x42"), then there is 1 step up to another landing (also 36"x42"), and then there are 8 steps up to the balcony of your Suite. There are no steps or changes of elevation once you are on your balcony overlooking the gardens.
We have also created a pulley system to raise heavy suitcases up to the second floor balcony for you. We are more than happy to rig this up upon your arrival and effortlessly hoist your bags up for you if you would like us to, and down upon your departure as well.
Yes! We have an amazing air conditioning system in Suite Peas. It is a highly efficient Mitsubishi air conditioner / heater that quickly and silently cools or heats the Suite. The thermostat is on your table so you control your own settings. The unit operates electrically so it is powered by our solar panels - a very green solution. Additionally it is ductless so the air is very clean.
Suite Peas also enjoys the best natural cross ventilation of anywhere on our property, so you will seldom need the air conditioner.
We do not have laundry facilities here for guest use, but the laundromats are very nearby and one is next to our favorite ice cream store in town, so you might end up really enjoying doing laundry! Here are the three best rated nearby facilities:
- Happy Laundry is located at 1911 De La Vina St and is open 22 hours a day, from 6 AM to 4 AM. It's 2 doors down from McConnell's Ice Cream, which is on the corner of Mission and De La Vina.
- Sterling Laundry on 3433 State Street is very nearby. Just drive down Las Positas (2 lights to the left of Suite Peas), turn right on State Street and then left on the next street, Broadmoor Plaza. They’re in that little shopping center with plenty of easy parking. Open 5:30 am - 11:00 pm daily.
- Modern Laundry, 1015 De La Vina. They are in the shopping center on the corner of De La Vina and Carrillo, about 2 blocks from the main downtown area.
Yes we do. We have brand new pillows awaiting you that are a synthetic down. They really do have the luxurious feel of down, but are totally hypo-allergenic, so you should be fine. The comforter/duvet is also a synthetic down. Oh, and by the way, we have several different pillows in the cabinet for you to choose which kind you like best - soft or firm.
Our Favorite Restaurants
Reservations may be a good idea at the higher end and/or most popular restaurants in town. Here are a few worth looking into that we enjoy:
- Sunday Brunch at the Four Seasons Biltmore (www.fourseasons.com/santabarbara) The Ultimate Sunday Brunch. On the beach in Montecito (yelp)
Pretty much all the other restaurants in town will not require advanced reservations. We have a list of several more restaurant recommendations awaiting you when you get to Suite Peas.
Here is our own personal compilation of what we consider the best restaurants in town and the surrounding areas. This list comes from our own experience and we also ask all our guests about where they've been and what they thought. An asterick* after the restaurant name means that we haven't personally tried it yet, but have heard good things about it from friends or guests.
Generally speaking, reservations are not required for most SB restaurants, with a few exceptions noted in each listing.
- The Lark (www.thelarksb.com) - in the trendy new Funk Zone. Very hip. Delicious food. Reservations a must (yelp).
- Loquitas (www.loquitasb.com) - in the trendy new Funk Zone. Very hip. Delicious Spanish food. Reservations a must (yelp).
- The Wine Cask (www.winecask.com) - downtown, excellent service and food.
- Bouchon (www.bouchonsantabarbara.com) - downtown, excellent service and food. All our guests have raved about this.
- Barbareno* (www.barbareno.com | yelp) - new, happening, looks great, people are saying good things about it.
- Stella Mare (www.stellamares.com) - by the bird refuge, lovely garden atrium, always reliably good food and service. (They also have a restaurant close to us. The food is good but it is not as atmospheric.)
- Handlebar Roasters (Handelbar Coffee) - YUM! They also roast on Mondays and Thursdays if you want to delight your smell as well as taste Also offer a small but tastey breakfast and lunch menu. 1.3 miles, 25 minute walk (left on Foothill, left on Alamar, left on De La Vina). There is also a smaller downtown location.
- Dawn Patrol - downtown, great hash specials. (yelp | DawnPatrol) • 324 State St
- Jennine's - 3 locations - great bakery. Delicious Eggs Benedict (yelp | Jennines)
- Biltmore - Big Fancy Brunch - Montecito (yelp | Biltmore)
- Renaud's - authentic French bakery - great croissant - (yelp | renauds) - near SuitePeas
- Meun Fan: best Thai in town, near Lazy Acres.
- Empty Bowl Noodle Bar: SB Public Market, 38 W. Victoria (Nothing fancy for atmosphere, but great noodles. Fun, fast, festive)
- Your Choice: 3404 State St. Very close - 4 minutes away. Good neighborhood Thai option (we like Meun Fan better, but this is closer).
- Los Arroyos – (www.losarroyos.net) always reliably great. We love the 'rajas'. Fast service, very casual atmosphere. Several locations around town; closest 14 W. Figueroa.
- La Super Rica - (yelp). Atmosphere like an outdoor fast foods place - food that is out of this world. One of Julia Child's favorite restaurants and ours too. 622 North Milpas St.
- Corazon Cocina (yelp) - in the Public Market, 38 W. Victoria St.
- Los Agaves - (yelp) Several locations around town, the closest is 2911 De La Vina, about 5 minutes away. Food is very good, though it tends to get busy and loud.
- Sunday Brunch at the Four Seasons Biltmore (www.fourseasons.com/santabarbara) The Ultimate Sunday Brunch. On the beach in Montecito (yelp)
Los Olivos / Solvang / Los Alamos / Buellton
- Full of Life Flatbread - (fulloflifefoods.com) superb pizza, huge oak fired oven. Worth a drive from SB just for dinner. Seriously!
- Industrial Eats - (industrialeats.com | yelp) - Buellton - Fun and funky atmosphere, great food!
- Bell Street Farm - lunch and afternoon snacking - Los Alamos (bellstreetfarm.com | yelp)
- The Succulent Cafe (www.succulentcafe.com) casual dining, handcrafted care
- Sides Restaurant* (www.sidesrestaurant.com) - a.k.a. Sides Hardware and Shoes. Good burgers, casual.
- The Ballard Inn (www.ballardinn.com) - french, old-fashioned upscale.
There are now a few options in Santa Barbara for food delivery to our area. We haven't used any of them so can't speak from experience, and the reviews for them all on Yelp are mixed, but you can look at their websites and see what you think. Here are direct links. We will have instructions for you in the room how you connect with them to open the gate when they come, so we maintain the privacy of the property. The easiest way to view the available menus is to browse each site online:
Fun Things To Do In Santa Barbara
When you check-in you'll find our welcome book, which is full of tips for fun things to do in Santa Barbara and the best local resources. We'll also have a copy of the local weekly newspaper, The Independent, waiting for you - which is one of the best places to find the current events for the week. And we have 3 great books for you to look thru - two on local hiking trails and one about all the places to visit and things to do in the area.
The Funk Zone has become a lively spot for lots of live music all night. Just walk the streets in this area of town and the music will pull you in.
Here are a few other suggestions:
- El Encanto - very upscale resort with spectacular city and harbor views, very close to Suite Peas.
- Four Seasons Biltmore - very upscale resort in Montecito. Near the ocean but not really a view location.
- The Rosewood Miramar - very upscale new resort in Montecito right on the beach.
- Piano Riviera Lounge - we haven't been there yet, so not sure about it...
There is a local weekly newspaper called The Independent, which is one of the best places to find the current events for the week.
In addition, these events happen every year:
- SB International Film Festival. January-February - 5 days - lots of stars from LA come up. Here is the website: sbiff.org
- Lucidity Festival - mid-April. Live Oak camp - 40 minute drive. website: lucidityfestival.com
- Summer Solstice Parade - the Saturday nearest to June 21. Website: solsticeparade.com
- Music Academy of the West (on a par with Tanglewood or The Aspen Institute) - Internationally respected advanced program. mid-June thru mid-August. Website: musicacademy.org
- Old Spanish Days Fiesta - 4 days early August - parades, music, great food, rodeos. Website: oldspanishdays-fiesta.org
- I Madonnari Street Painting Festival - end of May. 7 minute walk, at the Mission. website: imadonnarifestival.com
- Live Oak Music Festival - outdoors in the hills above SB, about 40 minute drive - Mid-June. Website: liveoakfest.org
- SB Polo. International venue, beautiful grounds by Summerland. 18 minute drive. Every Sunday at 1 and 3 pm from May-October website: sbpolo.com
- French Festival. mid-July/Bastille Day. Oak Park, 5 minute drive. Website: frenchfestival.com
- Greek Festival. early August. Oak Park, 5 minute drive. Website: santabarbaragreekfestival.org
- Lemon Festival - late September - Goleta - 10 minute drive. Website: lemonfestival.com
- Vintners Visa and Harvest Weekend - October, local wineries
- Early October. Avocado Festival - Carpinteria - 20 minute drive. website: avofest.com
Outdoor Fun In Santa Barbara
There are five really beautiful courses here that are all open to the public. We recommend calling in advance for tee times:
- Santa Barbara Municipal Course is very lovely and very close - about 4 minutes from Suite Peas.
- Sandpiper is often called the Pebble Beach of the south coast - beautiful! About 13 minutes from Suite Peas
- Glen Annie - challenging. About 15 minutes from Suite Peas
- Rancho San Marcos - on the way up to Solvang, 20 minutes north.
- La Purisima - 55 minutes north in Lompoc. Gorgeous and very challenging.
We have a couple bikes you could use that are in the garage just under the guest suite (18 gear hybrid), with helmets and locks. You will find a couple bike books in the Suite, and here is a link to a local map of downtown bike routes we have customized for you:
Marked Bike Map
Bike maps of adjacent areas
In the apartment, you'll find two very complete hiking trail books you can look through for ideas. If you want to enjoy a nice walk that you can start right from here - a few of our favorites include:
- The Botanic Gardens: (Main Entry: 1212 Mission Canyon Rd.) It's a 16 minute walk to the main entry from here. Once you are inside the garden, there are many paths and fun things to explore. Directions: Turn right as you leave the gate. Walk straight along Foothill Rd., crossing Mission Canyon Road, and turning left at the firestation. The street names change right there, so as you turn left you're actually continuing on Mission Canyon. The garden entrance is half a mile further up the road. If you enter thru the main entrance, there is a small visitors' fee requested ($6-10). For more info, see the website: sbbg.org
- Tunnel Road Trail: One of the closest trail hikes is very near Suite Peas. It is called Tunnel Road and offers a nice hike to Inspiration Point. We recommend driving to the trailhead (about 5 minute drive) and then walking from there, rather than walking from here. Directions: Turn right as you leave the gate. Drive straight along Foothill Rd., crossing Mission Canyon Road, and turning left at the firestation. The street names change right there, so as you turn left you're actually continuing on Mission Canyon. In 1/4 mile, take the fork in the road to the left, up Tunnel Road. Drive all the way to the end. Parking can be a little challenging. In the summer, watch out for rattle snakes. Stay on the path and you'll be fine. (map to trailhead)
- Mountain Drive: One of our favorite walks is not on a trail, but on a wide, quiet road that runs along the foothills of Santa Barbara. The views are fantastic the whole way, and the walk itself is fairly flat - just mildly up and down. This is a great walk for visiting with friends and chatting as you go, because it's easy to walk side by side in safety. And there is Parma Park adjacent to the road as well if you prefer natural trails. It's a 4 minute drive from Suite Peas. Directions: Turn right as you leave the gate. Drive straight along Foothill Rd. past the firestation and up the hill. Continue left at the intersection with Mountain Drive. (map) Turn left at the Sheffield Reservoir park, at the intersection with Mission Ridge Rd, and drive up that short hill. You can either park at the pullout area at the top of that road, and start walking to the right from there - or turn right and drive a bit further along Mountain Drive. In about half a mile you'll find another good dirt pullout where cars often park to pick up hang gliders. This is an out and back walk - so walk as long as you like and reverse your tracks to head home. We often do a 4 mile route, turning back at the 2 mile point (from the first parking area) where you'll discover a wonderful mailbox and artistic house. Of what? We'll let that be a surprise for those who discover it.
- Downtown: One of our favorite walks is actually just to walk downtown for dinner. In about 30-40 minutes we're at the upper end of the main downtown stretch of shops and restaurants. It's slightly downhill and it's delightful to pick different routes each time and enjoy the Santa Barbara architecture along the way. Tip: over time we discovered that the walk home, which is slightly uphill the whole way, was just a bit longer than we wanted to walk. We started saying 'Are we home yet?' right about at the Mission. So we got smart! Now we drive 1 minute down to the Mission and park in their free parking lot and walk from there. On the way home, we are always so delighted to have our car waiting for us right there for that last little bit. Or walk down and Uber/Lyft home.
Tours In & Around Santa Barbara
Santa Barbara County has because famous for its wines with over 130 wineries within an hour drive. You can do your own tour of the area or take advantage of letting a professional company show you around and take care of the driving. In this way you can have more freedom to sample the delicious wines in our area without worrying about navigating and driving back home.
Some of the best tours do fill up in advance. We haven't taken their tour personally, but we hear great things about Sustainable Vine Wine Tours, as winners of the 2014 SB Independent Newspaper's "Best Of" in this category (website) - you may want to book with them in advance if you are considering this. They offer private or group tours. A few other tour companies are listed here.
If you want to take your own tour, you can use the resources from the Santa Barbara Vintners website to plan your day. They list which wineries are currently offering tours.
There are also a number of wine tasting rooms right in the heart of the Santa Barbara in the Funk Zone.
Most of Santa Barbara can be easily explored on foot. If you like a more complete tour you can try:
- A guided Segway tour (xpert guided Segway Tours around Santa Barbara featuring beautiful beaches and flower-lined city streets)
- Historic trolley tours (A narrated Downtown Tour, which begins and ends at Stearns Wharf, showcases many historic sites in the area including De la Guerra Plaza, the Presidio and the Mission.)
- Downtown-Watefront Electric Shuttle (operated by the City, 50¢ each way. The Downtown-Waterfront Shuttles provide frequent service along State Street and the Waterfront area. Shuttle buses and bus stops are marked with blue and black sailboat symbols and the shuttles travel on State Street from Sola Street to Stearns Wharf and along Cabrillo Boulevard from the Harbor to the Zoo. State Street service includes a stop every block and runs daily every 10 minutes between 10am and 6pm. )
- Free Guided Walking Tours And avid-historian offers free (donation-based) tours of two great areas of the town, The Waterfront and the Funk Zone. Reservations recommended.
Santa Barbara is a prime area for whale watching because of the favorable conditions created by the Channel Islands just off the coast. In addition to whale watching many tours also offer sunset cruises and evening party cruises. Click these links for more information:
Santa Barbara is home to some great architecture. One of our favorites is Jeff Shelton - be sure to check out his work. You can take a self-guided walk thru downtown and see many of their buildings.