10 Montecito Must Dos!

 

We found this great article from Mercury News about what to do here in Montecito over one fabulous weekend. Whether you fly down from SFO, or drive up from LA, you’ll want to move here the first chance you get!

 

 

“Whether you jet down from SFO or take the six-hour drive down 101, here are some ideas on how to enjoy a weekend here in style:

 

Saturday Morning

Grab coffee in the Montecito Country Mart at the brand new Caffe Luxxe, a popular Los Angeles coffee house that expanded up the coast last spring, or head next store to the equally new Merci Montecito. This French-inspired cafe hails from pastry chef Elizabeth Colling, a former editor at Martha Stewart Living and Wedding magazines, who has curated a picture-perfect cafe with a deft hand. The sweets and coffee are impeccable — and you’ll want to come back later in the day for a peek at the savory items in the deli case.

 

Also incredibly — and justifiably — popular: Bree’osh, a block or two down Coast Village Road. It’s owned by French baker Pierre and Nelly Henry, who have some serious thoughts about humidity, flour and natural leavening — and croissants and brioche sandwiches that will make you swoon.

 

Details: Caffe Luxxe is open daily from 7 a.m. to 5 p.m. in the Montecito Country Mart at 1028 Coast Village Road in Montecito; www.caffeluxxe.com . Neighboring Merci Montecito is open from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. Monday-Saturday; www.mercimontecito.com . Bree’osh is open daily from 7 a.m. to 2 p.m. at 1150 Coast Village Road; https://breeosh.com .

 

 

Midday

Take a walk or jog on beautiful Butterfly Beach. At low tide, you can walk all the way to Santa Barbara’s East Beach in Santa Barbara. Prefer to bike? A paved bike path runs all the way down to Santa Barbara’s Stearns Wharf.

 

But if you’re feeling more mellow, head for the stunning botanical fantasyland of Ganna Walska Lotusland. (Psst, you’ll need reservations.) Created by Polish opera singer and socialite Ganna Walska between 1941 and 1984, this 37-acre estate has been called one of the 10 most spectacular gardens in the world. Think topiary gardens, succulent and cactus gardens, water gardens and orchards all on one whimsical property — and the opening of its renovated Japanese Garden after a two-year closure is a major development for Montecito.

 

After all that exercise, indulge in a leisurely lunch at the year-old Bettina back in the Montecito Country Mart. The long-fermentation pizza dough and excellent cocktail list will keep you there for awhile. You might even get to do a little star gazing. (Ellen Degeneres is a neighbor and regularly eats here.) Do some post-meal window shopping around the Mart, a practical shopping center built in the ’60s that still has a post office, health food store and barber shop despite its tony upgrades. (Psst, locals say the prominent Vons supermarket, which helms the center, has a nice selection of Santa Barbara County wines at great prices.)

 

Speaking of wine, the first — and so far only — tasting room in town opened mere months after the mud. Folded Hills, which is run by the Busch family of Anheuser-Busch fame, is the place to find carbonic grenache, small-lot Santa Ynez Valley fruit and elegant wines made by Angela Osborn of the A Tribute to Grace label.

 

Details: Tours ($25-$50) of Ganna Walska Lotusland are available by reservation only at 10 a.m. and 1:30 p.m. Wednesday-Saturday from mid-February to mid-November; www.lotusland.org . Bettina is open from 11:30 a.m. to 10 p.m. daily at 1014 Coast Village Road, www.bettinapizzeria.com . Folded Hills’ tasting room is open daily from noon to 7 p.m. at 1294 Coast Village Road; https://foldedhills.com .

 

 

Saturday Evening

The Montecito Inn’s Sushi/Bar Montecito is a 10-seat, reservation-only omakase counter that offers an amazing 17-course dinner ($110) paired with interesting beverages, like a rare sake made from red rice. It’s a memorable way to spend an evening.

 

Wind down at the historic San Ysidro Ranch resort, which reopened last spring after the creekside property underwent a serious, post-mudslide rebuild. There are hints of construction and new paint, but the elements of exclusivity and serenity that have defined this special place for over a century are intact. The hotel and cottages have attracted a who’s who of guests — Winston Churchill, Audrey Hepburn, Lucille Ball and the honeymooning John and Jackie Kennedy among them.

 

You will not believe that the restaurant had been torn apart when you are sitting in the second story, open-air dining space, watching sailboats drift by on the horizon.

 

Details: Sushi/Bar Montecito is open for two dinner seatings Wednesday-Sunday at the Montecito Inn, where rooms start at $135; 1295 Coast Village Road; www.exploretock.com/sushibarmontecito . Rooms at the San Ysidro Ranch resort start at $795; 900 San Ysidro Lane; www.sanysidroranch.com .

 

Sunday Morning

Rent bikes at the San Ysidro Ranch and pedal down to the coast for brunch at the Rosewood Miramar Beach hotel, which reopened last March after a no-expenses-spared renovation. The original Miramar by the Sea dates back to 1876, when a young couple purchased the strip of coastline. The land was so special, they built cottages for their visiting friends and family to stay in. Over time, the property became a storied resort escape, before falling into disrepair. New owner Rick Caruso’s hotel vision is managed by Rosewood Hotels & Resort.

 

This is a place to linger all day, perhaps at the Miramar Beach Bar on the ocean side of the Pacific Coast train tracks — there’s a designated gatekeeper that leads guests safely across. It evokes the feeling of being on a yacht, spitting distance from a private stretch of sand and sea. If your schedule (and bank account) allows, stay the night and take advantage of the Italian aesthetic, with its poolside cabanas, custom Fiat house cars, bocce ball courts, and a retro sweet shop with the signature Limoncello gelato flavor made by local-favorite Rori’s ice cream.

 

Details: Rooms at the Rosewood Miramar Beach start at $695; 1759 S. Jameson Lane; www.rosewoodhotels.com/en/miramar-beach-montecito .”

 

Now that you have had a wonderful trip, call/text or email us when you are ready to move, and we will be more than happy to help you find your next home!

 

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Posted on January 9, 2020 at 12:52 am
Marcy Bazzani | Category: Activities, Culture, Events, Food | Tagged , , , , , , , , ,

Another Accolade for Santa Barbara Foodies!

Dishes from the Santa Barbara Inn’s Convivo restaurant. Joe Schmelzer for The New York Times

The New York Times just announced its Top 52 places to travel in 2019, and it’s no surprise that Santa Barbara made the list at No. 3. With its many restaurants, shops, theaters, museums, and clean beaches, it is known as the American Riviera. Mentioned are restaurants like Bibi Ji, The Monarch, and Chaplin’s Martini Bar, as well as Convivo, Tyger Tyger, and Monkeyshine. Also mentioned are a few wine tasting rooms like Frequency, and Melville. Check out the article yourself and visit the fabulous places listed and let us know if you agree!

Posted on February 22, 2019 at 8:13 pm
Marcy Bazzani | Category: Culture, Food, Local News | Tagged , , , , , , ,