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Casa Del Mar Inn
Fireside in Santa Barbara is our happy place

Ah, the holidays: Rushing to Rite Aid for extra ornament hangers, queuing up with groceries at Gelson?s, dashing through the mystery snow at the Grove. Yes, just thinking about it all makes our throat constrict and those pre-migraine spots appear.

But, hark! We?ve found an escape hatch in the season?s Narnia phantasmagoria. It?s called ?Get the hell out of Dodge.? Fill the tank, grab your beloved (or maybe just Fido) and hit a nearby destination for some economical ?me time? before the holidays. Think of it as Waiting to Exhale: Eggnog Edition.

Ojai: The newly made-over Ojai Rancho Inn (from $99) has rustic rooms with fireplaces, tie-dyed curtains and kilim upholstery. Ask the front desk to set you up with a horseback ride or take a sunset hike on Meditation Mount.

Malibu: Experience the retro glories of a fully restored 1971 Airstream trailer ($135) tucked under a pine tree on 20 acres. In our mind, this is our happy place while thinking ahead to visiting in-laws.

Santa Barbara: We?re longing for our own little beach interlude at the Casa Del Mar Inn (from $124), a half-block from the water. We can feel that warm Jacuzzi set under the stars now.

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