|400+ year-old Chumash Indian paintings|
We packed so much into our fourth Furlough Foray! We headed up the 101 freeway to the 154 and up the San Marcos Pass. Almost an hour after leaving our house, and winding and twisting our way for two miles up Painted Cave Road, we came upon the the Chumash Painted Cave State Historic Park. It was like we’d traveled to another place – in a short period of time, we went from the beach to a hilly forest where it was only 55 degrees outside.
We must have driven right past the turnoff to Painted Cave Road dozens of times on our way to Santa Ynez, Los Olivos, and Solvang, and never given it a second thought, but nestled at the side of a one-lane country road is this remarkably well-preserved piece of California history.
|Painted with Ocre, Charcoal, and ground Shells|
|These paintings may describe a solar eclipse in 1677|
The Chumash Indians enjoyed life throughout what is now know as Santa Barbara and Ventura Counties and the Channel Islands for thousands of years. Their tribes began to diminish when missionaries introduced diseases from Europe which their bodies had no natural immunity to. They were an amazing tribe who left a lasting legacy in this coastal region. This cave is believed to a sacred place. It is absolutely worth the 20 minute detour from the San Marcos Pass to see these rare Chumash Indian paintings.
|Just look at the color of the water!|
Next, we stopped at Cachuma Lake. The water level was very low as we live in a constant state of drought in Southern California, but it was so turquoise and beautiful! The Bradbury Dam is a Federally-managed Water Reclamation project. Although it is known for camping, sporting, and fishing, we just stopped to enjoy the view.
|Greek Food with California Flair|
|Lovely courtyard setting|
We continued along the 154 until we reached Los Olivos, then turned left onto Grand Avenue. By this time, it was 80 degrees outside – quite a contrast from the cave! We usually eat at the Los Olivos Cafe, which is excellent, but decided to try something different and had Greek food at Petros. The food was good (except for the Tzatziki which had way too much garlic in it!), but the setting was exceptional. We had lunch in a beautiful garden courtyard, tucked away from the busy main street.
|Gyro with French Fries and Tzatziki|
The Gallery Los Olivos is an artists’ cooperative and we really loved the artwork of Sheryl Knight and Linda Mutti. (This gallery definitely warrants a post-furlough visit!)
The lovely ending of our day trip was a wonderful dinner at Arch Rock Fish in Santa Barbara. It was our first visit to this restaurant but will definitely not be our last. The service was great and the food was so fresh and delicious. We started with the best Calamari we’ve had in ages. After salad, John had Seabass and I had Rainbow Trout. We enjoyed our meal with a bottle of Italian Pinot Grigio and finished it all with a shared piece of homemade apple pie.
|Grilled Rainbow Trout – fabulously fresh!|
|A perfect end to a perfect meal|