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With Highway 101 reopened, these 10 top Santa Barbara spots are easy to reach again

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Santa Barbara County highlights include (clockwise from top left) the mission; the Cold Spring Tavern; the empty coast at Jalama; and the miniature horses at Quicksilver farm.
(Wally Skalij, Richard Derk, Christopher Reynolds, Catharine Hamm / Los Angeles Times)

It took Caltrans just 12 days to reopen Highway 101 in Santa Barbara — a remarkable feat if you saw footage of the Jan. 9 mudslides that killed 21 people and overwhelmed the freeway along with dozens of homes and businesses in Montecito.

As cleanup continues, the streets of Montecito are still closed and beaches in and near Carpinteria remain closed and littered with debris. But beyond Carpinteria and Montecito, most of Santa Barbara County has returned to business as usual. And the return of tourists will be crucial to the area’s economy.

Here are some prime Santa Barbara County options we covered in the course of our 2017 California Bucket List research. (For destinations near Montecito, be sure to call or check the web in advance, beginning with the Santa Barbara tourism office.)

1. Tri-tip and acoustic blues at a tavern in the mountains above Santa Barbara.

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Cold Spring Tavern
The Cold Spring Tavern got its start as a stagecoach stop in the 1880s and has been owned by the same family since the 1940s.
(Richard Derk / Los Angeles Times )

2. Memories of the real Karana and “Island of the Blue Dolphins” at Mission Santa Barbara.

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Santa Barbara mission
Old Mission Santa Barbara is a hive of activity with Franciscans on the scene, a museum, lectures, archives and gardens.
(Wally Skalij / Los Angeles Times )

3. Amtrak’s Pacific Surfliner, which stops in Santa Barbara on its journeys between San Diego and San Luis Obispo.

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Amtrak rails through Del Mar.
Its travels along the California coastline, like here in Del Mar, make the Surfliner one of Amtrak's most picturesque routes.
(Christopher Reynolds / Los Angeles Times )

4. La Super-Rica in Santa Barbara, once one of Julia Child’s favorite Mexican places.

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Taco1
Whether you agree with Julia Child's love of La Super-Rica Taqueria may depend on what you order.
(Chris Erskine / Los Angeles Times )

5. Miniature horses at the Quicksilver horse ranch in Solvang.

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Miniature horse at Quicksilver Ranch, near Solvang, Ca.
See miniature horses, like this one, and, if you're lucky, their foals at Quicksilver Ranch, near Solvang, Calif.
(Catharine Hamm / Los Angeles Times )

6. Jalama, a beach with burgers and solitude.

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Jalama
Jalama Beach County Park, Santa Barbara County.
(Christopher Reynolds / Los Angeles Times )

7. The Santa Barbara Courthouse and its views, both inside and out.

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Santa Barbara County Courthouse
Santa Barbara's landmark county courthouse has a clock tower that visitors can climb for views of the coast and town.
(Susan Spano / For The Times )

8. La Purísima, the mission in Lompoc that’s now a state historic park, complete with livestock.

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La Purisima Concepcion, 11th mission, 1787
La Purisima Mission State Historic Park in Lompoc is reportedly "the most completely restored mission in California"
(Christopher Reynolds / Los Angeles Times )

9. The Hitching Post II, gateway to Santa Barbara wine country and key location in the movie “Sideways.”

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Hitching Post II
More than 100 wineries and tasting rooms await outside the Hitching Post II restaurant.
(Christopher Reynolds / Los Angeles Times )

10. Aebleskiver, everyone’s favorite dessert in the Danish hamlet of Solvang.

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Danish sweet
The Danish dessert Aebleskiver is served at Solvang Restaurant.
(Christopher Reynolds / Los Angeles Times )

christopher.reynolds@latimes.com

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Follow Reynolds on Twitter: @MrCSReynolds


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