Friday, July 14, 2006

Christmas in July- Santa Claus California

By the Sea on 101 where all cars stop.
High above the picturesque wishing well and water wheel, a smiling Santa waves to all who visit his California Center.

Perhaps one of the coolest roadside attractions in southern California, Santa Claus housed a dozen shops and restaurants. But to be honest, the last time I was at this place was when I was 10 years old. I believe that there is nothing there now that resembles its former self. I really did not enjoy the place when I was younger because it did not have rides like Santa's Village did (When I get the time to scan my old photos of the village's final weeks, I will share them). The train was gone by the time I visited, and I was not told of its departure beforehand by my grandparents who took me. There was a giant Santa statue who waved at everyone as they drove past the 101, I remember seeing it when I was older during trips to Santa Barbara, but now that is gone too, although preserved twenty or so miles south in Oxnard.

Santa Claus Lane, Santa Claus California on Hwy 101, 10 miles south of Santa Barbara, is a fantasyland with a dozen shops, restaurants, and attractions with a joyful "Forever Christmas" theme. Enjoy breakfast lunch or dinner in Santa's Kitchen or a gourmet live Maine Lobster or Cherrystone clam "Shore" dinner or charcoal broiled steaks in the candlelit, elegant Reindeer Room overlooking the ocean with generous cocktails and nightly entertainment.

The famous homemade pastries and breads, fresh daily, come from the Sugar Plum Bakery right next door. Santa's Date Shop offers taste tempting brittles, candies and fresh date shakes. And children of all ages can ride the miniature train while mother can enjoy shopping in the Whistle Stop boutique.

Your hosts - The Happy group at Santa Claus Lane

This second postcard shows a more contemporary feel to the lane. I really need to do some research to see what is left of this place. The road is still called Santa Claus Lane, but I have no idea how it looks today. Can you say road trip? Maybe I can get pictures of the restored giant Santa as well.


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