The Little City Has It All
By Silvia Uribe
I love living in Goleta! Have I said that before? I wouldn't be surprised if I have. I simply love it. But maybe I have not been completely explicit about the reasons why I feel so enamored of my neck of the woods. So here are some of those general reasons, in no particular order.
Goleta has a small town feel. After working and living in Santa Barbara for several years (and loving the experience) we decided to buy something in Goleta. Frankly, I had my doubts then. Leaving the aristocratic town, which reminded me of a Mediterranean or Mexican village, to go live in a suburb? Suddenly, I was not so sure about our move, but we went through with our plans and that is how I learned that Goleta is no suburb. It is its own thing: a smaller town with a vibrant community that is very involved in the issues that affect the whole area. Goleta doesn't have as much traffic, its views are breathtaking, and one can find all the shopping one needs. What else can a person ask for? But there's more.
Goleta offers all the benefits of living in Santa Barbara at a reduced price. It is difficult to pinpoint how much things such as real estate really cost these days; due to the recession prices are unusually unpredictable. However, the price for the same type of home, say a 3 bedroom 2 bath, could be (under normal financial circumstances) at least 25% - 35% more affordable in Goleta.
But that's not all.
Goleta is only 12 miles away from Santa Barbara and the commute is easy, not only for work but also for fun. Many people from Goleta (like moi) spend seven days a week working, eating, and enjoying Santa Barbara. It's a 20 minute drive under normal traffic conditions and less than that during slower days and times, so many Goletanos make the trip to Santa Barbara more than a couple of times a week to go to the movies, the theatre, or dinner or just to sit at a sidewalk cafe and chat with friends, and do some people watching too. Goleta and Santa Barbara make up a larger community; I consider these two cities extended family to each other.
Goleta beaches are beautiful and uncrowded. This is one of the things I like the most. If you're looking for a place to jog or walk, a place to think and let your imagination fly, or a place to go with your family, or just with your dog, Goleta has a variety of beaches to accommodate your needs. I enjoy walking through the Goleta bluffs down to the beach to relax, exercise, and shed my worries. The beach at the Bacara has closer parking, for when I go with my family and Pancha, our Yorkie. Since our home is rather small, Goleta Beach offers a great alternative when we want to invite family and friends over for a BBQ, maybe followed by a walk on the pier.
But let me close the deal.
Goleta offers great food for the body and for the mind. In Old Town Goleta you can find restaurants offering a variety of food, from Chinese and Vietnamese to Mexican and vegetarian. Now, if you go to the, Marketplace and Calle Real/Fairview shopping areas, you will be able to find Italian, Asian, Australian, Hawaiian, or American food for all pockets, plus coffee and blended drinks shops. But let's not forget about Isla Vista: You'll find anything you want to eat there, plus a lot of the eateries are open until the wee hours, which for a night owl like yours truly, is always convenient.
If we want to talk about food for the mind, UCSB is, of course, the "all you can eat" place par excellence. UCSB's Arts and Lectures offers a menu of conferences (at which I've become a regular), music, dance, films, and theater guaranteed to satisfy the intellectually hungry. Also, the Multicultural Center features movies, talks, and presentations from all over the world.
You must be sold by now!
I know I didn't mention the Monarch butterflies, the opportunities for youth--and for the not-so-youthful--to practice seasonal sports, the bike paths, the neon bowling, and the salsa dancing. Not my fault, no one can write about so many good things in just one column.
Silvia Uribe is a freelance writer with a Latina perspective.