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New York Times

36 Hours in Santa Barbara County – By Freda Moon for the New York Times

On a spectacular stretch of California coastline, vineyards, gorgeous beaches, markets and Mission-style architecture beckon.

With its Mission-style facades and showy tropical foliage, Santa Barbara could be a commercial for the California good life. It can be easy to underestimate the struggles of a place so seemingly flawless. But Santa Barbara has had a tough few years. From the devastating wildfires in 2017 and 2018 to the flooding and mudslides that followed, the county has experienced more than its share of trauma. Yet if it weren’t for the charred chaparral faintly visible on the surrounding hillsides, the average visitor might never know. This is, after all, a place that’s good at reinventing itself.


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