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California Statehood Celebrations: Coming Soon!


Illustration of the flag of California state in America for California Statehood AnniversaryWith California statehood having been bestowed on September 9, 1850, and a 170-year birthday coming up, I thought it would be interesting to find out how California got its name. And the answer is a truly romantic story!

How California Got Its Name

The name “California” derives from a 16th Century romance novel written by a Spanish author named Garcia Ordonez de Montalvo. It was titled, “Las Sergas del muy esforzado caballero Esplandian, hijo del excelente rey Amadis de Gaula,” meaning “The exploits of the very powerful cavalier Esplandian, son of the excellent King Amadis of Gaul.” The novel described an island, very close to the Garden of Eden, full of gold, which was ruled by strong and beautiful black women. This island was also populated by griffins, a fantastical lion-eagle hybrid, which the women kept as pets. Any man who found his way onto this island was killed and fed to the griffins. The name of this mythical island? California (which is derived from the Spanish word “califa,” meaning “steward” or “leader” and makes “California” “land of the leaders.”) “Calafia” implies “female leaders,” hence, the female leaders in the book mentioned above.

Many Reasons to Celebrate in Santa Barbara Year-round

While many communities are already gearing up for the 2020 festivities, Santa Barbara is the perfect location to celebrate California statehood – or anything — all year long. Santa Barbara and its neighboring communities and affluent enclaves have been described as the “American Riviera,” a “playground for the rich and famous” and, quite simply, “paradise.” Situated between the Pacific Ocean and the Santa Ynez Mountains, this is such a special place, those of us fortunate enough to call home wouldn’t consider living anywhere else.

With a population of approximately 90,000 people, the City of Santa Barbara isn’t nearly as large as nearby Los Angeles, for example, but it offers the cultural amenities of LA and many other metro areas. Our Mediterranean-style stucco buildings with red tile roofs reflect the city’s Spanish colonial heritage, which is visible throughout the city. Hundreds of visitors join locals during annual events, such as the Summer Solstice Celebration, Earth Day, the Santa Barbara International Film Festival and the Old Spanish Days Fiesta, among many others. And there is an abundance of fun to be had here.

READ: Get Ready for Santa Barbara’s Summer Solstice Celebration

Santa Barbara is considered part of California’s Central Coast. There’s trendy Montecito, home to Oprah Winfrey and other celebrity residents; the sleepy beach towns of Summerland and Carpinteria to the south; the relaxed sophistication of Hope Ranch; and the family-friendly city of Goleta to the north. In all, Santa Barbara County encompasses nearly 3,800 square miles. This includes four of the five offshore islands that make up the Channel Islands National Park, as well as the official wine-growing regions of Santa Ynez Valley and Santa Maria Valley: homes to around 300 wineries.

Celebrate California’s Culinary Richness In Santa Barbara

One of the best ways to celebrate a birthday is with a delicious meal. And the good news for those who live in Santa Barbara is that California remains at the forefront of culinary experiences. That’s not surprising since our bountiful city is surrounded by organic farms, family-run ranches, avocado and citrus orchards, and the seafood-rich Santa Barbara Channel.

READ: Santa Barbara Farmers’ Markets Farm Stands And Gourmet Shops

Locally, a fresh crop of new restaurants is spicing up our already delicious culinary landscape. Take Bettina Pizzeria, for example. Located in the Montecito Country Mart, this new cozy neighborhood restaurant serves naturally leavened, Neapolitan-style pizza made with seasonal ingredients. Then there’s Bossie’s Kitchen, located in the 1939 Streamline Moderne building on the corner of Milpas and Canon Perdido. Named for the plaster cow perched atop the building, “Old Bossy,” the restaurant specializes in “everyday organic.” Café Ana is another recently opened welcome addition to the town. This restaurant serves a unique take on the fine-casual concept. Yum!

California Statehood Birthday Celebrations Abound

If you live in Santa Barbara and want to join California statehood birthday celebrations throughout 2020, there is a plethora of new attractions, hotels, and restaurants waiting for you, not only in town but also across California. And the good news for Santa Barbara residents is that all the fun is just a car ride away.

Los Angeles 

Santa Barbara residents can take a drive south to discover sports in Los Angeles when the SoFi Stadium opens in 2020. The stadium is the future home of the Los Angeles Rams and Los Angeles Chargers and will host the 2022 Super Bowl, College National Football Championship Game in 2023 and be the site of the 2028 opening and closing ceremonies for the Olympics.

San Luis Obispo

Open-air markets and plazas continue to multiply and expand in the Golden State, providing public spaces for both travelers and locals to enjoy. While we have some of the best farmer’s markets in the state, in early 2020 Santa Barbara residents can travel up the coast to the SLO Public Market. This new spot blends historical buildings from Bonetti Ranch with new construction to create eight buildings featuring shops, restaurants, boutiques, a brewery and a market hall.

Palm Springs

A popular destination 4 hours east of Santa Barbara is the town of Palm Springs. In the fall of 2020, Palm Springs’s Agua Caliente Cultural Plaza will celebrate the history, culture and traditions of the Cahuilla Indians. Highlights include a 48,000 sq. ft. museum and a 40,000 sq. ft. spa featuring the hot springs that made Palm Springs famous. I feel relaxed already!

READ: A Brief Look at Santa Barbara History

San Diego 

Head south past Los Angeles toward the largest beachfront development on the San Diego coastline in more than 20 years. Opening at the end of 2020 in Oceanside, two new resorts will open their doors. The Joie de Vivre hotel will feature 160 rooms and suites; most with ocean-facing balconies. Then there’s the upscale beach house-designed Destination Hotel resort; offering 226 rooms and suites. Most will offer full or partial ocean views. The Graves House, from “Top Gun” fame, is incorporated into the project as a new foodie destination.

READ: Santa Barbara Recognized As One of the Best Small Cities in the Nation

Exciting events such as the ones listed above combined with the convenient location of Santa Barbara make our fine city the best place to live and celebrate the 170th anniversary of California statehood. Most importantly, this amazing community wouldn’t be the same without you! If you are considering moving in the area, please call me at (805) 886-9378 or email me at Happy Birthday, California!


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