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URBAN HIKE

Marvelous Mailboxes of Santa Barbara
updated: Oct 22, 2011, 9:00 AM

By The Urban Hikers, Peter Hartmann & Stacey Wright

This week we continued our quest to walk all 256 miles of public streets within the city limits of Santa Barbara, and rather than tell you about a specific hike or neighborhood we've experienced, we feel compelled to share with you photos of some of the cool mailboxes we've spied along the way.

With mailboxes, we've noticed that very often a neighborhood adopts a theme. Once one resident starts with a particular motif or style, others seem to follow suit... almost as though there's a collective consciousness of mailbox ornamentation. Animals seem to be popular in several neighborhoods. They always make us very cheery.

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Another very popular theme is architecture. Sometimes it mirrors the home to which it belongs, and sometimes it doesn't. We're always tickled to find a homemade mailbox, and especially like those that look like they've been part of the family forever.

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Some mailboxes seem to exude happiness...

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While others come across as downright irritable.

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And we've passed many examples of cooperative neighbors working together to make impressive banks of boxes. We like the last example of these mailboxes because they have some of the most unusual numbering we've come across.

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This box is simply special for its simple beauty.

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And this mailbox is an example of what we believe is the most ubiquitous "specialty" box in town. Virtually every neighborhood in Santa Barbara can boast this style of mailbox.

We wonder if perhaps, a few years ago, a traveling salesman came through with a special sale on this box...

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Of all the choices we had to show you, the "most ubiquitous box" in town, we chose the one pictured above because we appreciate its setting. In fact, many of our favorite mailboxes are standouts because of how they are placed, and what surrounds them.

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Sometimes interest in a mailbox can lead to a new friendship. Like this scarab- decorated number we found along the way. Just as we were admiring it and taking a few photos, the homeowner pulled into her driveway. She explained that the scarab is an important symbol to her husband and her. In fact, they had the mailbox custom made after using a scarab in the design of their wedding rings. Very beautiful, indeed.

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We've passed and photographed so many marvelous mailboxes along our routes that we find it almost impossible to select just a few to share with you. These are examples of the hundreds of boxes that have caught our eyes, and made our hikes just that much more interesting. We're almost certain we'll have to write a follow-up article with even more of these whimsical neighborhood features.

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And while we realize it isn't nice to play favorites, sometimes we just can't seem to help ourselves. These are a couple of our favorites.

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And lastly, during a hike this week, we encountered this Halloween inspired mailbox...Not only did it make us laugh, but it also gave us the idea to share with you examples of the ways in which your fellow Santa Barbarians decorate their homes in honor of the spooky event. So stay tuned next week for more ghostly, goblin-y, cute and downright scary pics of the fabulous homes of Santa Barbara.

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As always, we encourage you to get out on foot, wander the streets of Santa Barbara, take an urban hike of your own and see what your neighbors are up to. You won't regret it - we promise!

 

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