I just love this seal rookery! When we were there in February there were a lot of Harbor Seal mothers giving birth on the beach, and taking their young for swims in the ocean. Harbor seals give birth beginning sometime in January and lasting into May. The dark-colored pups can be born on land or in the water, and the nursing periods last for about...more
At the south end of the state park you will find a rocky area, which when the tide is out contains tide pools. These tide pools contain a lot of sea anemones, hermit crabs, some starfish, snails, sea urchins, clams, muscles, barnacles, and sometimes octopi, although I didn’t see any octopus in the number of times that I wandered among the pools. I...more
There are many different species of gulls and shorebirds that feed along the beach, as well as birds fishing in the waters off shore. A small lagoon at the mouth of the Carpinteria Creek also may offer views of various ducks, egrets, herons, and coots. While we were there we say a white egret, sandlings, crows, marbled godwits, loons, pelicans,...more
Do you like cozy restaurants, and a pool of oil with herbs, spices, and sun-dried tomatoes to dip your bread in? Then you may like Giannfranco’s. This restaurant opened in Feb. 2007 and soon became a local favorite. There is a shaded back patio for warm days, and a small, tastefully decorated dining room for inside dining. The chef, Giovanni A....more
This Thai restaurant is reasonably priced, and serves good food. You will find the typical Thai dishes such as satays, spring rolls, Thai toast, various rice and noodle dishes including Pad Thai, along with various chicken, seafood, beef, pork, and tofu dishes, including curries. If you are a vegetarian they will substitute tofu for the meat in the...more
This is not your ordinary large grocery store. Smaller in size, there are a lot of organic foods, and unique items as well as foods to fit your everyday needs. Trader Joe’s also offers its own recipe foods: frozen, and in bottles, bags, and boxes. The quality of their own products is excellent. They also have a nice wine selection, fresh flowers, shampoos, hand creams, and vitamins. They have frozen fish that is caught and processed especially for them. Most frozen fish in the U.S. is caught and frozen, then sent over seas where it is thawed and cleaned. Then it is refrozen. This affects the flavor of the fish. Trader Joe’s fish is frozen only once, which makes the quality of the fish so much more superior in taste, plus the prices are reasonable in comparison with other stores. Their produce is almost always perfect, rarely will you see half limp or brown edged lettuce of other produce items.
What to buy: They have so many great items, that I can’t begin to tell you all of them. Here are a few that we purchased when in Carpinteria: Peruvian Style Chimichurri Rice With Vegetables, Cranberry and Pumpkin loaf bread, Roasted Garlic Asiago Plain Rustic bread, handmade traditional Green Chili and Cheese Tamales, Baklava Ensembles, Champagne Pear Vinagrette salad dressing with Gorgonzola, frozen garlic fries (potatoes), organic low fat cottage cheese, great Hummus dips such as tomato and Basil flavor or Chunky Olive Hummus, Trader Joe’s Creamy Corn and Roasted Pepper Soup, Plats do Chef Escargot in Brioche which is excellent, Organic Tomato and Roasted Red Pepper Soup, and a lot of other items. (See second photo.)
What to pay: When compared with the huge supermarkets in the area, we find Trader Joe's to be no more expensive, and often their organic products are less expensive then the supermarkets.
Carpenteria has a farmers market once a week in the down town district, a short walk or bicycle ride from the state park. The day we went there were only a few booths, but it had been cold and rainy all day, and I believe this had kept a number of people away. We purchased some very nice baby cauliflower, fresh dill, lemons, and fresh garlic, all of it high quality and farmed nearby.
The Spanish named the area Carpinteria because the Chumash Indian people who use to live in the area built their large seagoing canoes here. The reason that this location was chosen is because there is naturally occurring surface tar that seeps up from under ground, leaving black tar mounds, and small pools of sticky tar on the beach. This natural tar was used by the Indians to seal their boat, making them water proof. The Chumash also used this surface tar to attach shell inlays to stone objects, seal their water baskets, and fasten arrow and spear points to shafts. They also supplied tar to nearby tribes in exchange for other goods. In more modern times area residents used to use the oozing black tar for paving roads in the county. This natural tar deposits seep to the surface on the coastal bluffs and on the sand at the southeast end of the beach, forming bulging, black mounds, which are interesting to look at, but not good to step in. Watch for small patches of tar in the southeast portion of the beach and near the tide pools. You don’t want to step in this, it is sticky, and cannot be wiped off your shoes or feet with just a cloth. If you do manage to get some of this on you feet, try cleaning it off with cooking oil or Vaseline. You should be able to remove most if not all of the tar. If your shoes were light colored, however, you may be left with a nasty dark stain.
Solvang is a town that we only drove through on our way to another state park, but next time when we are in the area, I will make a point of taking a day to drive to Solvang for the day. Located in the mountains behind Santa Barbara, Solvang is about 45 miles from Carpinteria. This is a Danish town, which looks like Europe, with Danish, and German style architecture, windmills, museums, handmade furniture shops, bakeries, restaurants, and art galleries. I noticed that even the sidewalks are like cobblestones, adding to the old world charm of the town. Solvang means “Sunny Field” in Danish. The town was founded in 1911 by a group of Danish educators. Since we just drove through the town, I do not have any photos of Solvang. Visit the web site below, and click the Photo link to see photographs of the town.