The Center is free and we were given a tour by a Center docent. We saw a movie about President Reagan’s presidency, policies and life at his nearby ranch. The Reagan ranch, Rancho del Cielo (Ranch of Heaven) is not open to the public.
During his presidency the ranch became the Western White House. He loved spending time there chopping wood, clearing brush, chopping up telephone poles for fences, riding horses and reading in the evenings by the hearth. Reagan loved the ranch, the land and all it represented.
The Center has a chapel room with President Reagan’s favorite verse printed on the wall. This was was his mother’s favorite verse, the verse he mentioned during his inaugural address in 1981, and the family Bible was open to this verse when he took his oath of office. His mother, Nelle, had written in the Bible beside the verse, ‘A wonderful verse for the healing of a nation”.
Next up was the Moreton Bay Fig tree, the largest fig tree in the United States. A seaman visiting Santa Barbara in 1876 gave an Australian Moreton Bay fig tree seedling to a local girl who planted it.
Last we toured the Santa Barbara County Courthouse, without a doubt the most beautiful courthouse we have ever visited. It was completed in 1929 after the first courthouse was destroyed by an earthquake. It is a Spanish Colonial Revival style architecture and the Spanish influence is everywhere.
The courthouse is composed of four buildings with red tile roofs, a four faced clock tower, beautiful arches and a sunken garden. On the grounds are plants and trees from 25 countries. You enter the main building and see wrought iron chandeliers and railings and colorfully tiled floors. Even the walls around the water fountains are tiled as well as the elevator doors.
Bill did a panoramic shot of the room. If you click on the image and then again the arrow and move the picture (up/down/left/right) with your fingers, hopefully you can see around the room. Click this link to see panorama interactive image
What a great day, and we were pleased that none of the places we visited today charged a fee and Santa Barbara provides plenty of free parking. The only annoying part of the day was the rush hour traffic jam we got in on US 101 on the way home.
We really enjoyed our time on the beach in Ventura watching the surfers, viewing the amazing sunsets and going to sleep each night to the sound of crashing waves.
Next up: lots of fun things in the Los Angeles area