Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Santa Maria, California

During "Alice in Wonderland," I spent quite a bit of time in Santa Maria for work.

Doing some housekeeping today (okay, I'm organizing my work laptop and my file directories), I discovered a folder called "Santa Maria," created over a year ago. This is the trouble with digital files- they're so easy to forget about because they don't physically take up any room or catch the eye.

There were a bunch of photos, taken with my point-and-shoot, of random Santa Maria adventures. I had a weird rush of nostalgia, and then checked myself- do I actually miss that experience?? Good gravy.

Anyway- the photos I decided to post:

I always took PCH on my sojourns to and from the central coast, because I like to see the ocean. The weather wasn't warm, or anything, but water is always soothing and I love that drive.
Just a hop and a skip north of LA, the vineyards start to roll out. There are little hills and small patches of grapes right on the coastline, and this is a typical sight.
 My favorite street, always! "Here comes Santa Claus, here comes Santa Claus, right down Santa Claus Laaaaaane" ... yes, I'm a child. And I love Christmas songs.
This tunnel was always a sign that I was getting close and should prepare myself mentally to deal with the anguish that always awaited me in Santa Maria. I do love these types of tunnels, I think they're fun, with a sort of persistent dusk that I find soothing.
The water tower at ye olde Orcutt, a teeny tiny little ... town? We used to hop on the freeway for about a mile and go to Orcutt for lunch, to get away, whine, and have a drink.
More Orcutt. They obviously like their old-time-y details, like that clock on the street. This is a gas station, all painted up and fancy.
This is just across the street from the gas station. This looks like a fake Hollywood facade, only the Hollywood version would have horses and carriages parked out front and no massage parlor. Such a cute little Main Street.
I remember taking these pictures on my last drive back down to LA. I took a leisurely, meandering drive down small streets and through vineyards because I thought, when am I ever going to come here again? I haven't been to the central coast since this drive.
Shriveled and dry vines, since it was winter (well, the approximation of winter in California) at the time. There is something pretty about the rows of crazy vines and the miles and miles of it.
The winery directory. I like Foxe and Fess Parker, Cottonwood's okay, and I haven't been to the rest. When I first started going to Santa Maria, it was only for two days at a time (one night), and we used to have a driver take us up there and then drive us back to work. We had the same driver a couple of the times we used the service, and he was saying that he does a lot of drives for people on winery tours. That sounded like fun, and I always wanted to do it ... but who has the time, really?
There was just once that I flew to Santa Maria (into the tiniest airport ever, with Fox News blaring from every single TV), and this was the view somewhere over the farmlands of California. I loved that flight, it was so fast and easy.
Sunset from my hotel room. We stayed in two different hotels. This one was the hotel that we "lived" in when I was there six days a week.

Santa Maria, for all the troubles that I had there, was quite beautiful. It's like a peaceful, slower LA, with people that take their time and a small-town vibe with city conveniences.

I have a feeling that when I look back on Albuquerque, I'll feel this way- a little nostalgic, a little bemused, and wondering if I'll ever be back.