In Santa Barbara County, all fourth-graders are invited to come tour Lotusland, the incredible nonprofit botanical garden.
I was lucky enough to score a chaperone spot, which is kind of like winning a Willy Wonka golden ticket.
I volunteered at Lotusland for a good 6 or 7 years, and to be able to see it through the children’s eyes was inspiring.
These thirty-six acres in Montecito host plants you can’t find anywhere else in the world.
Madame Ganna Walska was so dedicated to the garden that she sold her jewels to buy plants — wait, don’t give my husband any ideas!
But wait, there’s more…once the school bus dropped me off, I met dear friends at the Casa del Herrero.
This is a day that would have made Jackie O proud — two treasures in one day.
The occasion was my dear friend, Justine’s birthday. It was her request to see this masterpiece of Spanish Colonial architecture.
I’ve served on the board for “The Casa” and was happy to share my passionate love of this treasure — the exterior, interior and grounds have all been beautifully maintained since the first owners moved in back in 1925 (there was a 6.8 earthquake on moving day, and The Casa stood strong!).
When your day-to-day route is of the school/Von’s/Pierre Lafond variety, it’s great to be reminded of the treasures right around the corner. Sharing places with first timers makes you see it with fresh eyes, too. Santa Barbara locals, both of these gems are worth a visit, they make great outings if you have out of town visitors. If you don’t live here, what are you waiting for? Come visit!