Santa Barbara and environs - 2/10/2011
A little bit of paradise lies nestled between the blue Pacific and the gorgeous Santa Ynez Mountain Range. Known as the American Riviera, the greater Santa Barbara area (from Carpinteria, Summerland, Montecito to the South; Goleta to the north) stretches 26 miles along the coastline approximately 90 miles north of Los Angeles on Highway 101. Santa Barbara's south facing orientation keeps her blessed with a temperate climate and stunning visual beauty. It has been said that this is why the approximately 120,000 (greater Santa Barbara area)captive residents are so friendly and hospitable.
Housing costs are quite high mainly due to a very long time "no-growth" political environment; and thus many people make sacrifices to call Santa Barbara home. However, if you are one of the blessed few who can choose your place to call home; I can't think of a better community to raise a family, get a higher education at one of our many higher educational institutes, enjoy a plethora of recreational and cultural amenities, enjoy active retirement or develop your career.
The University of California at Santa Barbara (UCSB)located on the Beach, Santa Barbara Community College, located directly across from the beach and the Harbor, Westmont College, The Pacifica Institute, The Fielding Institute all bring tremendous culture, educational programs, lectures, sports, entertainment, national and international speakers to our community along with their interesting and diverse staff as community citizens. Not to mention the numerous innovative start-up companies which have sprung from these wonderful facilities and come full circle by giving back to the community and their alma matters.
Santa Barbara is as diverse in it's choice of restaurants, wineries, and hospitality resources as one can imagine. From the Burger Bus and famous Hot Dog Stand to the Stone House Restaurant at the luxurious San Ysidro Inn (where Jack and Jackie Kennedy honeymooned). From the many lovely Bed & Breakfast Inns and Beach Motels to the stunning Four Season's Biltmore Hotel on Butterfly Beach in upscale Montecito (owned by Beanie Baby Mogul, Ty Warner).
All but two of our beaches are open to the public with plenty of parking access. Hope Ranch Beach is a public beach located in the exclusive Hope Ranch enclave, only accessible by boat or private entry access; and Hollister Ranch further north up the coast, which also has private entrance but can be reached by boat.
Santa Barbara has over 30 public parks, including the Mission Rose Gardens at Mission Santa Barbara and several botanic parks which charge an entry fee. The Santa Barbara Zoo is an amazingly beautiful botanic and zoological treasure with animals in natural settings and lots of activities for families and children.
Art galleries and restaurants are as prolific as the Palm Trees lining Cabrillo Boulevard, where on Sunday's much of the boulevard is lined with artist and artisans offering their creativity for sale. All art is juried and one can find modest and modestly priced art to pricey and major art.
Santa Barbara real estate ranges from the low end of approximately $400,000 for a modest 2 bedroom condo to a $29 million amazing beach estate on Padero Lane just south of the city of Santa Barbara. Oprah paid $50million for her stunning estate in Montecito.
We Realtors are often surprised at how many people can pay cash for their properties. We are a little cosm of the world as many people from all over the globe choose their only or second home in our community. This makes for a most interesting mix of citizens. While strolling on downtown State Street (the main artery bi-secting Santa Barbara from the Ocean to the Financial District), many languages can be overheard.
Santa Barbara has a pretty laid back atmosphere and therefore casual (not sloppy unless you are a college student) dress is very acceptable almost anywhere in town. Always bring a long a sweater as evening cools down and the ocean breezes keeps our temperature pretty steady from 65-75 degrees.
Come discover our beautiful community, just like Padre Junipera Serra did in 1786 when he decided that Santa Barbara was the place to build his Queen of the Missions.
There is much more to discover than I can possibly tell you about in this review. I have lived in four countries and have traveled some, but have never found a replacement for beautiful Santa Barbara. A terrific resource is "Santa Babara & The Central Coast" written by travel, food and wine writer Michael Cervin, available at www.MichaelCervin.com. For more information visit my webesite: www.SantaBarbaraDreams.com[read more...]