Home | Biography | Forty-Eight X | Future Books | Stories | Credits | Media | Contact

Barry Pollack's "Going Places"

Cheshire Cat Inn, Santa Barbara

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 Cheshire Cat.
"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 romantic.
"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).