We were fortunate to take a tour of the botanical garden, Lotusland, in Montecito. The garden, now a non-profit, was the estate of an eccentric Polish opera singer who, if I remember correctly, married six different men over the course of her life, four of whom were the wealthiest men in the world at the time. She then invested her resources in plants. The result is a truly awesome garden featuring a number of exotic collections, including ferns, cyads, cacti, succulents, and bromeliads. Reid’s assessment: “It was even better than Costa Rica.”
Bri indulged the little boys by bringing his One Wheel (Back-to-the-Future-I’m-a-rad-uncle toy) to Cali to play. Sal treated us to a blast from the past Amtrak ride along the coast, and we all rode bikes together in Santa Barbara one day. Lots of fun with wheels!
Locals complained of cold during our week of highs in the low 60s in California, but we were quite happy–kids wore shorts, the rest of us pulled up our hoods, and we all relished the sun. I enjoyed morning walks with Dad and Reid, runs with Bri, and with everyone, lots of outdoor outings to the zoo, the seals up the beach, the public pool, and a surfers’ beach.
The kids and I made our first visit back to California since our move to Maine 7.5 years ago. We were joined by Sal, O’da and Bri in Carpenteria, south of Santa Barbara. The kids’ home state allowed us to re-live so many fond memories: winter sunshine, Mexican food on every street corner, mountains, vibrant February community gardens and farmers markets, loaded citrus trees, tart dried apricots, friendly strangers, Amtrak rides, outdoor winter swimming, seals and pelicans. All of this combined with time with our Quirk family made the week pretty perfect. If only Tim and Anna, who had to stay home for work, had been there!