2022 Luther Congress Excursion

Wednesday, August 17, 2022

At the conclusion of the morning session, we will board a luxury coach for a 1.5 hour trip to the heart of the California Riviera, Santa Barbara.  On the way, we will drive through the fertile Oxnard Plain, known for strawberries, raspberries, celery, and other crops.  At Ventura, we will begin to travel along the Pacific Ocean’s longest stretch of southern facing coastline on the west coast and the rugged hills of the western Transverse Ranges.  

Notable on the way:  Rincon, #24 on the top 100 surf spots in the world; and the western Channel Islands of Anacapa, Santa Cruz, Santa Rosa and San Miguel.  Santa Barbara and the neighboring community of Montecito have long been associated with celebrities.  The Douglas Family Preserve is an oceanfront park in honor of Kirk Douglas who had a home here, established by his son, Michael, who attended UCSB. 

The San Ysidro Ranch, covering 500 acres at the foothills of the Santa Ynez Mountains, is rich in history.  Famous guests include Winston Churchill, Audrey Hepburn, Bing Crosby, John Huston, and Lucille Ball. Vivien Leigh and Laurence Olivier got married there in 1940, and John and Jackie Kennedy honeymooned there in 1953.  In June 2019, Katherine Schwarzenegger, grandniece of JFK, married actor Chris Pratt there.  Famous residents of the area include Oprah Winfrey, Kevin Costner, Katy Perry and Orlando Bloom, Jeff Bridges, Natalie Portman, and in 2020 Prince Harry and Meghan left their Royal duties to make Montecito their home. On the northern side of the Santa Ynez Mountains, Ronald Reagan and Jimmy Stewart had their ranches, Bo Derek still does, among many others. Michael Jackson’s Neverland ranch is also located there.

In Santa Barbara, we will have a guided tour at the Santa Barbara Mission, “The Queen of the Missions,” which was founded on December 4, 1786, the feast day of Saint Barbara, as the 10th of 21 missions established for the religious conversion of the indigenous Native American people.  Mission Santa Barbara is the only mission to remain under the leadership of the Franciscan Friars since its founding, and today is a parish church of the Archdiocese of Los Angeles. We hope to have a representative of the local Chumash tribe present with us at the Mission.

The next stop will be the Santa Barbara County Courthouse, where you can enjoy the Mural Room and the clock tour with amazing views of the city, famous for its Spanish Colonial and Mission Revival architecture. The Santa Barbara Museum of Art is located right next to Courthouse. It is home to both permanent and special collections, the former of which includes Asian, American, and European art that spans 4,000 years from ancient to modern.

From here, you may continue exploring State Street, the heart of the city, or head south to the beach and spend time on Stearns Warf or wine tasting in the Funk Zone.  (Recommendations will be provided.)  Plan to be at the beach by 7:30 to see the sunset.  Then we will board the bus for the trip back to campus.