Posted by ws1 on:
I was flagged down by a car full of Swedish tourists last week while walking on Victoria Street. After thirty or so seconds of of pidgin english and euro-hand gesturing, I figured out that they were asking for directions to a nice park where they could lay down on the grass and picnic. Naturally, through a veil of (I'm sure) equally cryptic gestures, english, and surprisingly creative pointing, I was able to direct them to Alameda and Alice Keck parks (for all I know they could be lost in the foothills behind the Riviera now).
This got me thinking about parks that aren't frequented by tourists that much - where you might go for a quiet barbeque with friends, or shoot some quiet hoops with your dog. My mind immediately went to Ortega park. Maybe not. Too many syringes and broken beer bottles. Franchesci? Too many snogging teenagers and no grass or post-dusk hanging out. Oak park is nice, but often too filled with Medieval people having faux sward fights, or someone blasting by on their Harley. Of course, I could name a few more but that's about where I run out of ideas.
So I went back to my office (happy to have something to procrastinate with) and started searching Goolge Maps for the one or two Santa Barbara parks that I knew I was missing. I was shocked (ok not shocked, but definitely impressed?) to discover that there are over 30 parks in Santa Barbara proper - many of which were on the West Side that I had never even heard of.
So I hopped in my car and headed to the West Side for a little 'research' (did I mention I'm self employed?). I visited 3 parks that day that were previously unknown to me, but that hasn't satisfied my curiosity - I just came away with more questions. Why is there a 15 foot tall black security fence surrounding 90 percent of Escondido park (which appears to contain only a unused reservoir)? Where is the 'rest' of the Hilda McIntyre Ray park (there's a huge discrepancy between the geographical size of the park and it's 'official' perimeter).
I may be the only man in town who finds this fascinating, but in the next few weeks I will be attempting to do a little bit more digging to find the answers to these and other questions in my upcoming posts.
** the above picture is from the Hilda McIntyre Ray park overlook (and yes, there were in face two snogging teenagers in a parked car just to the right).