I recently celebrated my birthday!
I’m not sure if it’s because I’m a mix of scorpio and fire horse (Chinese zodiac), but I really believe that my birthday
should be is a national holiday. In fact, I go as far as extending this special day to a full week at a minimum and I have stretched it to an entire season if warranted.
Anyhoo, my Canadian BFF: Cyndi, also celebrates a scorpio birthday so she flew down for a full week of festivities…
And now I give you “The Epic Birthday Week”!
Cyndi arrived in beautiful Santa Barbara late Saturday night…
Next day we took a class at The Painted Cabernet. As my readers will recall, this is a local art studio/wine bar. Our “Venice at Sunset” masterpieces are stunning! AND I won a free class while I was wearing the honorary Birthday Tiara! Following the class, we enjoyed a lovely meal at The Palace restaurant–one of my favorite places in Santa Barbara…cajun food in a happy, festive atmosphere. It was tasty as usual!
Monday we enjoyed a spa day at the Bacara. This 5 star resort is magnificent. They featured a local’s special: Bliss Day. Cyndi got a massage and I got a facial, followed by a complimentary glass of champagne and access to the facilities for the day. It was a spectacular day, so we lounged poolside for hours…felt like we were celebrities on a weeklong holiday! We even managed to dodge those pesky paparazzi that constantly stalk us! 😉
Tuesday we took a glass blowing class with Saul Alcaraz at Santa Barbara Art Glass–always a great experience. We each made 3 spheres with various colors and finishes. Saul expertly lead us through the process and we are both delighted with our globes. So pretty! Thanks Saul! A lovely lunch at the Arts and Letters Cafe and then off to Other World Tattoo for Cyndi’s birthday tattoo! J did a fabulous job! Cyndi opted for a forearm tattoo that says “Courage begins at the wound” in gaelic.
Wednesday we drove up the coast to see Hearst Castle in San Simeon. The weather was idyllic…so sunny and warm. As we approached the castle, I mentioned that there was a legend claiming some of Hearst’s exotic animal collection could be seen in the hills…although I have never seen any, and I have never met anyone else that had. Don’t you know we saw 13 zebra right then! It was amazing! We selected the Designing the Dream tour–it’s a relatively new offering available for a limited time. I recommend it. It’s a longer tour–1.5 hours and a smaller group. We were 6 in our group plus Mary K the guide. She was amazing, having worked there for many many years. We wandered around following the tour, basking in the late afternoon glow.
The Burton Inn in Cambria was our over night destination. We were greeted with a complimentary bottle of wine and recommendations of a nearby restaurant featuring live music and appetizers. Once we settled in, we ventured out to the charming streets of Cambria. An hour of apps and guitar music was followed by a tasty dinner at the Sow’s Ear.
Next morning we headed north to Piedras Blancas Lighthouse…
Sidebar: I have been to that stretch of rugged coastline before and it gave an Ottawa blizzard a run for its money in terms of cold and wind!! Me and my hearty Canadian parents were miserable in spite of the epic views and wildlife!!
Back to Piedras Blancas on this trip…we met up with our guide who toured us around a number of the historic buildings and natural phenomena on the site. Since it is a designated area, no one is allowed to just arrive and traipse around–you must be escorted with an official docent. Lucky for us, a tour was available on Thursday morning! I had prepared Cyndi for a blustery gale…lots of layers and warmth! However, we arrived to a balmy day with light winds and sparkly sunshine. The guide remarked repeatedly, “It’s NEVER like this here!” In fact, he explained that life on this remote outpost was arduous for the light keepers and their families…getting supplies was challenging due to the treacherous surf and high winds. The constant cold also took its toll. However, based on our perfect day, you would never imagine their hardships!
Next we stopped at the Elephant Seal rookery–about a mile south of the lighthouse. It is the season for adolescent seals to congregate. For the most part they lounged around and ignored the adults–typical teenagers! Every now and then one of them would get a little feisty and engage in a tussle….and then return to sleeping and sun tanning!
A meandering drive South and we arrived back home, refreshed.
Friday was an odds & sods day where we did errands and picked up our glass…had lunch at Brophy Bros. to celebrate Cyndi’s actual birthday. And Saturday at the crack of dawn (literally) Cyndi flew home to Canada.
It was a jam-packed epic week of art, creativity, nature, scenery, decadence…I thoroughly recommend it!
I just wonder what we’ll do for next year’s Birthday Week???
How about you? Do you make a fuss for your birthday? Let’s hear some stories!