Are you looking for a nearby idyllic place to
rejuvenate a marriage or ignite a romance? Or
simply a charming place to relax? The Cheshire
Cat Inn in Santa Barbara may be a perfect choice.
The Cheshire Cat is a fourteen room bed and breakfast
made up of two elegant side-by-side Victorian
homes and three California Craftsman cottages
which surround flowered filled gardens, brick
patios, and a gazebo covered spa. The homes, which
once entertained President McKinley in 1894, have
been restored by Christine Dunstan who named the
Cheshire Cat after her hometown in Cheshire, England.
Most every room is named for characters in "Alice
and Wonderland" like the Queen of Hearts,
Mad Hatter, White Rabbit, Tweedledum, and Tweedledee.
The romantic suites and cottages have fireplaces,
hot tubs, or in room Jacuzzis for two. Full breakfasts
with homemade scones and a special eggpuff casserole
are served either on the garden deck or in the
privacy of your room. In the afternoon, there's
wine and hors d'oeuvres. Located just a block
off State Street, the Inn is short walk to the
heart of Santa Barbara's main shopping street
and a mile and a half from the beach.
One of the interesting thing about most bed and
breakfasts are the diaries often left in the rooms,
remembrances of past guests. My room, the "Queen
of Hearts," had three volumes of such writings.
It is perhaps a good way to gauge a hotel's value
by perusing the reviews of prior guests.
I sat in a beautiful English garden shaded under
a large oak tree, beside a bubbling fountain,
next to wisteria arbors and read the creative
notes of guests. These accumulated notes included
love letters, romantic poems, raps, cartoons,
even mini-scripts. I may have ruined the romance
for future readers. I got food on the pages. But
here is a sampling of some prior sojourns at the
"The Cheshire Cat Script:
Fade up on cute Victorian home. Cut to sunny courtyard.
Cut to lush gardens. Cut to beautiful flowers
with sounds of running water in the background.
Close up on white foamy bubbles. Close up on toes
and toes dipping into tub. Shots of other wet
bubble covered body parts.
Maralyn: Oh, Jerry.
Jerry: Oh, Maralyn.
Maralyn: Oh, Oh, Jerry.
Jerry: Oh, Oh, Maralyn
Fade to black. "
Some notes were less creative but nonetheless
"Last night my husband and I fell in love
all over again. It gave us a chance to get away
for just one special night and that's all we needed
to know our love will last forever."
And though the diary was filled with laudatory
notes about rest and romance and bubbles, there
were some disappointments. Here's a poetic one.
"What a memorable trip it was to be. It was
the time to ask her to marry me. We came through
the door. Our clothes hit the floor. We held each
other tight. It was such a delight. She said let's
do it right, we've got all night. We rolled on
the bed. Nothing had to be said. Then she looked
at me and sighed, 'Oh, Fred.' I knew then in my
head, we would not wed." Signed Jim.
Another guest wrote:
"After spending most of the last twelve hours
reading through two large volumes of the many
pleasures enjoyed in this suite, I have decided
that my life, my marriage, indeed my very existence,
is at best a disappointment. Therefore it is with
a sense of sadness and deep regret …. Wait a second!
I just figured out how to work the Jacuzzi."
My wife and I enjoyed our stay at the Cheshire
Cat. And the Queen of Heart's diaries certainly
made for salacious reading.
Why does the Cheshire Cat always grin? The answer
may indeed be here at the Cheshire Cat Inn (805-569-1610).