Carpinteria is not Santa Barbara. Some might call it a suburb, and from the single freeway running through it, which connects Ventura to Santa Barbara, it goes fairly unnoticed. I like it this way: subtle. And so I’ve returned, this being my second time.
Two days is enough to explore this town of just over 13,000 residents. Carpinteria’s main community is a quiet, family-oriented neighborhood bordering a notably calmer section of the Pacific Ocean and Carpinteria State Beach. From here the town spans eastward to the base of the Santa Ynez mountains, one of the only mountain ranges in the United States to run east-west. In these foothills lie lush but often private orchards, hidden estates and occasionally a stretch of white vinyl fencing indicating the presence of equestrian activities.
Carpinteria was my last stop during a life-changing move from Seattle to San Diego in 2011. In the course of that evening I bade farewell to my last sliver of life as a carefree college girl under parental wings. In the coming months, I would begin my career and enter adulthood, but on this night I did not yet know my future; instead I had driven by the beach and been too in awe of the sun and the sand to consider such serious things.
Today – four years later – Carpinteria is my safe haven. I go here and I am just Colette in a small town. Nobody knows me; I am not a flashy publicist when I walk these streets; I am beautifully, anonymously human again.
Learn more about Carpinteria here.