Missing the mellow days before Abbot Kinney became chi-chi and it cost millions to get a beach house next to a power plant? Take a 90-minute drive up the coast to Carpinteria, the tiny surf town known for its Rincon surf break and, until recently, not much else. Now there are a few spots of style, but not too many, so that your weekend getaway will seem more like an escape than a scene.


First off, most everything you want to do in this tiny town is within a ten-block radius. So rent a cruiser for the weekend at the local mom-and-pop bike shop right on the main drag.

Rincon Cycles, 5100 Carpinteria Ave.; 805-684-9466 or rinconcycles.com


Exquisite hand-thrown vessels are on offer at Miri Mara, a boutique attached to the workshop where Italian-born Mara works. Bowls, vases and plates ($100 to $500) are elegant and understated, as is the location, unassumingly sandwiched in beside an auto repair shop.

Miri Mara, 5292 Carpinteria Ave. #B; 805-220-6285 or mirimara.com


Take time to smell the roses--all 25,000 of them--at Rose Story Farm. This small family farm is dedicated to growing the flower, many of them heirloom varieties, and co-owner Danielle Hahn has received international recognition for her gorgeous gardens and educational tours, offered by appointment May through November ($48).

Rose Story Farm; 805-566-4885 or rosestoryfarm.com


We love a town that hasn’t yet gotten a trendy boutique hotel. Here you can play pretend “I’m a surf bum” by renting a sweet cottage (from $264 per night) a block and a half from the water. Just try not taking a nap under the ceiling fan, with the windows open to the salty breeze.

Available at vrbo.com


You can keep your Proustian madeleine. We’ll take salt-water-taffy nostalgia any day, especially when it’s made on-site in a crazy rainbow of flavors.

Robitaille’s, 900 Linden Ave.; 805-684-9340 or robitaillescandies.com


Stop in for a glass of crisp Central Coast Chardonnay ($9) and a cheese plate after a hard day hitting the waves. Sit on the patio and critique the locals? skateboard styles and sunburns.

Cork Tree Cellars, 910 Linden Ave.; 805-684-1400 or corktreecellars.com


NBD, but you can hang ten by the afternoon with a surfing or stand-up paddleboard lesson (from $65) that includes equipment rental and inside intel on what the week’s waves will look like. 

A Frame Surf Shop, 3785 Santa Claus Ln.; 805-684-8803 or aframesurf.com

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