Carpinteria is Perfect! What’s it Hiding?

20 Feb
2012
Posted in: California
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Honestly, this town is perfect. Carpinteria (“Carp” if you’re a local) is filled with tiny beach bungalows. The downtown isn’t a bar-free pieland like in Julian. And not only are there bars, there’s a damn microbrewery. And if you’re in the middle of downtown, you can walk to the beach a couple blocks away, or hike straight to Los Padres National Forest and the mountains a few miles away (water proximity and mountain trail proximity were two knocks against Bisbee). You can even walk to a grocery store. Or you can jump on the train and head to LA or San Diego or north to San Francisco. And people live here. Real people, not just people living in some beach fantasy world (La Jolla). It’s amazing.

It also has a bunch of restaurants that look delicious, including a cheeseburger in paradise type place near the beach called The Spot. Carpinteria is within sight of the channel islands, so you could theoretically have a boat here and head over to them whenever you wanted (you’d just have to dodge the oil rigs). There’s an avocado festival in the fall. 80,000 people attend. (Less that 15,000 people live here, so it must be a busy weekend.) There’s the largest Torrey Pine known to exist across the street from the too-cute library and Friends of the Library Bookshop where you can not only browse for books (we picked up six), you can listen to the old lady volunteers complain about not being able to see the magic eye pictures. (“Doris, it’s not working!”) And not only is there an awesome beach, the beach has tide pools and its very own tar seep and is home to a seal rookery. If you tire of the beach, you can head over to the public swimming pool. The damn place has everything. It even has these cutsy street signs that made my heart flutter. Street signs. Made my heart flutter. Something’s fishy here, right?

I mean, it just can’t have EVERYTHING. Sure, there are bums about. Real beach bums. One popped her head in our window while Lisa was taking a nap and I was reading. She looked like a crazy old witch, wrinkled and cursed, but she eventually meandered along. And, if I’m honest, what’s the point of living in California in a town without an In-n-Out? Is The Spot that good? Maybe. And I could complain about the wind and how some of the beach-front real estate gets its view hid by a dune, but that seems quibbly.

If the state park campground wasn’t $35 a night, we’d be here for a while. Somebody must need a house-sitter in this town, right? I wonder if they have Craigslist Carpinteria.

Lisa took some great pics:

Beach tree.

Beach tree.

Camping by the lagoon.

Camping by the lagoon.

Tar oozing out of the bluffs.

Tar oozing out of the bluffs.

A kite surfer wrapping up a windy sunset.

A kite surfer wrapping up a windy sunset.

The largest Torrey Pine...so they do grow outside San Diego County.

The largest Torrey Pine...so they do grow outside San Diego County.

Street signs in Carpenteria. Cue the swoon.

Street signs in Carpenteria. Cue the swoon.

A channel island from the pier near Santa Barbara.

A channel island from the pier near Santa Barbara.