Epow's Cross Country Guide
EPOW’S CROSS COUNTRY GUIDE
Words and photos by Emily Powers
As I write this I am, appropriately, on a break. Spring break, to be exact. While on spring break I am currently working on a project, which is ironic. But plot twist, I'm taking a break from said project by writing this article. Breakception.
While I may be doing work, I cannot complain, I am writing this from a town that I am lucky enough to get to call home, Santa Barbara, California. Saying that living in a vacation destination definitely has its perks, but I haven't lived here all my life. I've moved every five years. I've lived in Los Angeles, California, Greenwich, Connecticut, (Suburban) Chicago, Illinois, Santa Barbara, California, and now I reside in New York, New York. It's a blessing and a curse to have moved all over, but if there's one thing I've picked up along the way is how to take a break in each place.
Los Angeles, California
When I lived in L.A. I was a toddler, so my whole life was being on break. I envy my younger self. I had no idea how good I had it, but that's also because I was 5. But my favorite activities then are still my favorite activities now, which is anything creative, food related, or scenic. Props to places that achieve all three. Since being 5 years old, my list has evolved as I go back and visit.
I love lacma. You get to walk around and look at beautiful art. It makes you feel like a smarter person for a solid 24 hours. Post a photo. Your friends will be like "Wow. That Matisse looks amazing" you take partial credit because you slapped a VSCO filter on it so now it's a collaborative work. Pat yourself on the back.
A Warehouse Rave
A break can most definitely be partaking in borderline illicit activities too! Great music and dancing in abandoned spaces at questionable hours of the night while wearing sunglasses inside the function is synonymous with euphoria. Being aware of nobody else caring that you're wearing sunglasses inside is the ultimate power trip. You think "wow." And that's it because you're not really thinking. Break accomplished.
Alright. It's Sunday. You need to refuel and revive yourself. Sunglasses are no longer for appearing cool but because now you are hungover and sunlight is your enemy. Even if you're not hungover and you just want a delicious brunch place, then I got you. Is super yummy (and healthy!) my favorite thing to get is the bison bowl. It's great because it's delicious and also the fact that there's bison in it sounds so assertive. Top it off and TREAT YO SELF with one of their gluten free chocolate chip cookies! Or say fuck it to being gluten free and get one of their other pastries. Life is more fun with gluten in it. Unless you have celiac disease- that sucks! I'm sorry.
Greenwich is lowkey a great weekend getaway if you live in New York City. It's a quick train ride and can be easily done as a day trip. The food and shopping are phenomenal.
I always say if I end up on death row then garden catering will be my last meal. No exaggeration, their potato cones create a whole new definition for oral sex. They're lightly fried potato cones that have the perfect crunch to fluff ratio. Order a high school special with cones and thank me later. It is basically just chicken nuggets, french fries, and the aforementioned cones, but with this mystery seasoning that I have actually kept on my nightstand. I am not kidding. I had a container of it just sitting there for 6 months. I’m disgusting. Anyways... they also sell shirts that say I <3 Nuggets! You can eat your food and make a fashion statement. Everybody loves a 2-in-1.
Tod's point isn't your average beach. It used to be the grounds of some super wealthy guy named J. Kennedy Tod. He built a bunch of buildings and cottages and invited his friends to come and hang out. Then he felt like his “friends” were taking advantage of him so he blocked the fakes and made it invite only. Major power move. He and his wife died but the buildings and lands still remain, the exclusive vibe also stayed as you need a permit to get in (don’t worry you can get day passes.) As a kid I used to go to remnants of where a stone mansion once was and walk in rows of flowers and catch butterflies. It really doesn't get much more idyllic. Also just imagine an eight year old cherub child (me) running around catching butterflies? Adorable.
Suburban Chicago, Illinois
I was in middle school during this time, arguably one of the worst times in life, so breaks were necessary. Enough said.
Chicago Botanic Garden
There's a bike trail that actually takes you to the botanical gardens. Once you're inside it's amazing. The grounds are vast and there's so much to explore. Going here with my mom was always beautiful and calming for my pre teen soul.
Go ahead and try some deep dish! Full disclosure, I actually hate deep dish pizza, but I’m still going to encourage you to try it. It's gross and makes no sense. What kind of sociopath decided to put THE SAUCE ON TOP ?! That being said, a lot of my friends actually like this weird concoction. Try it for yourself the next time you’re in Chicago, which is the only place you should get deep dish.
Santa Barbara, California
This entire town seems to be taking a break at all times. The community is always calm, probably because they are stoned. Despite the mellow mood there's actually a lot to do.
Rori's Artisanal Creamery
This ice cream is next level. Most people will direct you to go to McConnell's ice cream but it's because they're uncultured swine (McConnell's has good froyo though, don't attack me.) Rori's is truly where it's at. They have the most delicious range of flavors, my personal favorite being the Biscoff cookie. That's right. COOKIE BUTTER ICE CREAM!
The wharf is easily one of the most underrated parts about town. You can do everything! You can indulge in a sugar coma at the candy store! you can enjoy a delicious lunch at longboards on their roof deck! you can get your fortune told by Madame Rosinka! You can feed unsettlingly aggressive seagulls! The world is your oyster! I always ended up at the wharf when I least expected it but I was always happy to be there.
The Funk Zone
Yes. This is an actual name of an actual place. The Funk Zone is a part of lower Santa Barbara where new restaurants are constantly popping up. It is the new epicenter of Santa Barbara’s food and art scene. I’ve attended gallery shows, music performances, and plays in this area. From what may look like warehouses from the outside, there is probably something interesting and unconventional on the inside. It has been amazing to watch this area grow, but parking is still a nightmare. I recommend getting there a la uber pool. Sometimes your surprise co-passenger is hot so then you can go hit the town together! I am both a tour guide creator and match maker.