By Ryan Ritchie
9:17 PM EST, February 21, 2014
With a population of about 1,500, the 2-square-mile town of Summerland, Calif., epitomizes the cliché "Blink and you'll miss it." Do your best not to blink as you drive through because this sleepy beach community six miles from Santa Barbara is home to an array of mom-and-pop antiques shops, a handful of local eateries and the sorts of views that make you want to do the good kind of nothing all day. The tab: a king bed at the Inn on Summer Hill begins at $249. Lunch for two can be had for less than $30 at Café Luna and for about $20 at Stacky's Seaside. Parking at the beach is free; the antiques, alas, are not.
Walk to the entrance at Inn on Summer Hill (2520 Lillie Ave.;  969-9998, http://www.innonsummerhill.com), then turn around. What you'll see are the Pacific Ocean and Santa Cruz Island. That's the same ocean and the same island you'll see from the balcony, patio or deck of each of the B&B's 17 rooms. Assuming you tire of the view, this inn also includes morning meals featuring local ingredients, a wine and hors d'oeuvres reception every afternoon, desserts at night and rooms with fireplaces, spa tubs, canopy beds and dining tables.
The diverse menu at Café Luna (2354 Lillie Ave.;  695-8780; no item more than $28) includes pizzas cooked in an outdoor wood-fired oven, smoothies, wraps, pastas, chicken and fish entrees and sandwiches served in a Bohemian setting. If your meal comes with a side, order the salad with fresh, ridiculously delicious greens from the eatery's on-site garden. If you desire a nautical-themed restaurant, head to Stacky's Seaside (2315 Lillie Ave.;  969-9908, http://www.stackysinsummerland.com; no item more than $15.99) for breakfast burritos, milkshakes, hamburgers, salads, pulled pork sandwiches, French dips and fish and chips and marvel at the décor, which features outdoor seating designed like boats. For the drive home, stop at Cantwell's Market & Deli (2580 Lillie Ave.;  969-5893, http://www.cantwellsmarket.com) for a sandwich, produce or a bottle of wine. The market also sells items that are vegan, gluten-free and sugar-free.
It's too easy to say that the view of the ocean is the best thing about Summerland, but it is. That said, the area's shops are also worth the trek north. For example, there's Botanik (2329 Lillie Ave.,  565-3831, http://www.botanikinc.com), a 1920s vintage home operating as a business selling candles, pillows, fragrances and books inside and planters outside. A stone's throw from Botanik is Pine Trader Antiques (2345 Lillie Ave.,  845-2618, http://www.pinetrader.com), where tables, cupboards, armoires and chests from Ireland, England and France make you forget you are on the California coast.
Sometimes, a two-hour drive can feel like a world away.
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