I was booked to speak on a social media panel for the Santa Barbara CVB conference. The program took place at the Santa Barbara Museum of Natural History, which was neat to tour around inside and out. FYI: The other panelists were Gabe Saglie (Travelzoo), Al Bonowitz (Hawaii Westways), Eric Hiss (Wandermelon), Jen Murphy (Food & Wine), John Vlahides (Lonely Planet), and Malcolm Griffiths (DCI).

What’s nice about going to Santa Barbara, besides that it’s GOD’s country, is that it’s an easy two-hour drive from my home in Los Angeles. They put most of us up at the Canary Hotel (CanarySantaBarbara.com), which is the sister property to Shutters on the Beach in Santa Monica. Yep, it’s swanky. The Canary is a member of Leading Small Hotels of the World.

The hallways and rooms were beautifully designed, and I loved the high four-poster bed–it was so tall I almost needed a pole vault to get on it. I just wasn’t a fan of its squishy pillows, or that I could hear hallway traffic. However, the tile in the bathroom was impressive, as were their toiletries. But the weather wasn’t cooperating, so I didn’t get a chance to take one of the towels up to the top deck where their pool is located.

The hotel is centrally located in downtown Santa Barbara (across the street from Greyhound) and next to the Spectrum Club, which guests get free passes to workout. Three blocks away is the Santa Barbara Court House (SBcourts.org), which is probably the city’s best free place to tour around.

Also nearby is Tupelo Junction Café (TupeloJunction.com), which serves one of Santa Barbara’s best breakfasts, and Julienne Restaurant (RestaurantJulienne.com), which is owned and run by a 28-year-old chef and his wife. I dined at both, and the latter is where our whole panel (minus Gabe) went. We all enjoyed their fine Santa Barbara wines and bread, and we sampled each other’s salads, pasta, beef, fish, and soup (and of course their desserts).

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