BUZZ: Thomas Rollerson

Posted online: December 2011

Thomas Rollerson, founder/president of the Dream Foundation—the first and largest national wish-granting organization for adults—shares how he savors the spirit of the holidays.

Buzz1This is my favorite time of year, as it’s the season of giving, a time to reflect on—and spend time with—those we love. As we consider the great gift ideas laid out in these pages, I remain mindful of the most important way to give: donate to a charity close to your heart in honor of someone you love. This act allows us to simplify the holidays and embrace its true meaning.


MAN’S BEST FRIEND I don’t know any other town this size with so many dog-friendly activities. Year-round, you can find me and my adopted Lab, Cane, strolling the Old Mission Santa Barbara, 805-682-4713,, or Santa Barbara Botanic Gardens, 805-682-4726,, and exploring his favorite spots—Parma Park, Stanwood Dr., Santa Barbara, and Hendry’s Beach, 2981 Cliff Dr., Santa Barbara.

THE GREAT OUTDOORS The biking possibilities around town are endless, and with our great weather, it’s an activity we can enjoy all year long. Testament to cyclist Lance Armstrong’s frequent visits, we have some of the best terrain in the world—everything from Mountain Drive and Gobernador Canyon Road to an easy ride down by the beach. When I choose to explore the area by foot, McMenemy Trail,, beckons. Mid-hike, the stone bench—with sweeping Santa Barbara vistas—is akin to church.

Redwoods at the Santa Barbara Botanic Gardens.

Redwoods at the Santa Barbara Botanic Gardens.

WHEN IT’S RAINING On the rare occasion bad weather summons me in, I love Chaucer’s Bookstore, 805-682-6787,, for good winter reads; grabbing a pain au chocolat at Renaud’s Patisserie & Bistro, 805-569-2400,; or catching up on some of my favorite blogs—The Figuralist,, Eat, Drink, Garden,, and Brookside If the night air nips, there’s no better place to feel comforted than next to the warm fire with a glass of Margerum Syrah at the Wine Cask’s Intermezzo Bar Cafe, 805-966-9463,


FILL THE BELLY If you share my weakness for excellent coffee and poached eggs, start the day at D’Angelo Bread, 805-962-5466. Then for lunch or sunset appetizers—and the best view in town—try Brophy Bros., 805-966-4418,, where the clam chowder and salty dogs go down fast. When dusk sets in and the moon comes up, there’s no better place than Opal, 805-966-9676,, for a sumptuous Cabernet Sauvignon and a steak. For the ultimate day of luxury—should you want to take a mini-break without leaving town—enjoy a massage, a meal, and some music at Bacara Resort & Spa, 805-968-0100,, whose new owners are actively embracing the local community.

Chaucer's Bookstore

Chaucer’s Bookstore

SOUL FOOD That said, my favorite pastime happens on Saturdays, when I visit the farmers market, 805-962-5354,, to shop for ingredients to host a dinner party, then volunteer for Dream Foundation’s Flower Empower program, Santa Barbara’s nonprofit community and volunteer opportunities are abundant. It doesn’t matter where you give, just give—time, money, talent, awareness, an encouraging word…. Nothing gives me greater joy than sharing my time in service. Above all, this is what makes our community—and my life—so rich.

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