Traveling Beyond the Canyon
Secret Garden Inn and Cottages
By Donal Harris
Aug 21, 2005 - 11:15:00 AM

Seldom a Bed and Breakfast truly catches your attention, especially in a surf-side community like Santa Barbara, which seems almost overrun with attractive quarters. But the Old Yacht Club Inn personifies the quiet elegance expected from LA's northern neighbor.

Eilene Bruce, who purchased the Inn five years ago from the original owners, believes the great location and gourmet food keep the customers coming back. The Inn serves a warm, sit-down breakfast every morning, a welcome change to the sparse Continentals that have become commonplace. "It is a fabulous business and we have a great location. It doesn't even seem like work most of the time," she said.

As the only beach-side Bed and Breakfast, the Old Yacht Club Inn offers complimentary beach chairs, towels and bicycles for the enormous path that stretches the length of East Beach.

The main house is a wonderful California Craftsmen built around the turn of the century. The walls of the Inn breathe the building's history. In the 1920s, it housed the Santa Barbara Yacht Club, but when the clubhouse was washed to sea in a winter storm, the tenants moved on. The Inn opened in 1980 as the first true B&B in Santa Barbara.

The Inn's second building, The Hitchcock House, epitomizes the classic European and early American style; hardwood floors, beautiful fireplaces and an expansive rear patio deck characterize Santa Barbara's charm.

The lofty trees that surround the buildings create an illusion of unadulterated privacy, though visitors are in easy walking distance to State Street shopping or the cool breeze of the ocean. Also, innkeepers provide an informal social hour in the afternoon to allow guests to make acquaintance. Local wines, fresh brewed coffee and various snacks help spark conversation in front of the beautiful brick fireplace.      

The Arrington Bed and Breakfast Journal made no mistake when it voted Old Yacht Club Inn a "Top 15 Bed and Breakfast." Do not let your getaway be forgettable, and experience the subtle wonders of Old Yacht Club Inn for yourself.

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