THE AMERICAN RIVIERA
About the Area
Mesmerizing is the spell cast by the natural splendor of Santa Barbara. Officially christened The American Riviera®, it is no wonder that world travelers find their way here to enjoy her lush Mediterranean climate and pristine Pacific coastline. However, the true allure of Santa Barbara is that it is so much more than a postcard perfect paradise for vacationers. Beneath her veil of beauty and serenity is a thriving community of business, government, technology, medicine, agriculture, education, arts,history and culture. All of these vital elements are seamlessly interwoven creating a spectacular place to visit and an even more wonderful place to live. For those fortunate enough to call Santa Barbara home, there is a vast array of real estate choices offered by the amazing diversity of her geography alone. Whether it is seaside or mountainside, foothills or valleys, there is a comfortable setting worthy of those with even the most discriminating of tastes. The variety of properties and lifestyles covers everything from downtown chic to mountain rustic. Within the charming neighborhoods of Santa Barbara one is likely to find their perfect townhouse or farmhouse, villa or vineyard, ranch or ranch-style, bungalow or condo, estate or starter, cottage or castle. Santa Barbara’s poetic fusion of diversity and contrasts began with nature and has continued to evolve under the care and guidance of enlightened leaders, planners and citizens who throughout its rich history have done their best to create and preserve this truly remarkable place.
Stretching from the sands of the Pacific to the verdant mountains of a National Forest, Montecito’s charms have seduced moguls, magnates and movie stars for over a hundred years. It is almost mysterious how their old and new grand estates and glorious villas lie hidden behind curtains of lush landscape allowing them to harmoniously blend with more moderate residences. Nature has played a vital role in the seduction by providing a backdrop of hot springs, cold springs, waterfalls, and stunning beaches. Luxury resorts blend seamlessly into the landscapes, looking more like estates themselves. The business district is divided into two quaint villages. The Upper and Lower Villages offer outstanding shopping and dining opportunities for those who have come to expect the best.
Located at the most southern edge of Santa Barbara County, Carpinteria is nestled in a fertile valley that spills to the sea. In addition to its neighborhoods with small town appeal, Carpinteria living includes condominiums, ranches and agricultural estates. Known for its delicious avocados as well as orchids and a variety of other flowers grown for worldwide distribution, Carpinteria’s business community also embraces more high tech and traditional businesses. Although Carpinteria is that quintessential small town with postcard appeal, it also hosts the “Sport of Kings.” Carpinteria is home to the world-renowned fields of the Santa Barbara Polo Club. Whether it is nearby Rincon – billed as one of the finest surfing spots in California – or the fabulous swimming beach at the end of Carpinteria’s main street, there can be no doubt that this “Beach Town” is that and so much more.
The Upper East
From Victorian to Spanish, Craftsman to English Tudor, the Upper East is a rich tapestry of fine architectural gems. Settled by the wealthy elite in the late 1800’s, its age is evidenced by such charming features as sandstone curbs and hitching posts. The Upper East is a harmonious blend of large stately homes with more modest residences. Located in close proximity to the Downtown area, this neighborhood is “walking distance” from an abundance of restaurants, shops and theaters, in addition to the Santa Barbara Mission and its beautiful Rose Garden.
This tabletop bluff sits above the blue Pacific with commanding views beyond. The Mesa is one of Santa Barbara’s later developed neighborhoods and is comprised of mostly single-family homes and some condominiums. Mesa style is “casual beach” with a carefree sophistication. It is home to the area’s only Lighthouse and in close proximity to the beautiful campus of the highly regarded Santa Barbara City College. Its fabulous Shoreline Park is a perfect setting for recreation, picnics and scenic strolls. Adding to its alluring appeal, the Mesa exists in a microclimate of sorts with temperatures approximately 10 degrees cooler in the Summer and 10 degrees warmer in the Winter.
Awash in the sun and surf, Hope Ranch is a world apart. Secluded among coastal bluffs, rolling hills and oak groves, residents of Hope Ranch are fortunate to enjoy a gracious rural life style while being located in close proximity to city conveniences and pleasures. A purely residential neighborhood, Hope Ranch is an enclave of elite estates as well as the more simple California ranch style living. Its main drive is lined with stately palms and is bordered by the prestigious La Cumbre Country Club with its handsome golf course and sparkling Lake Laguna Blanca. Within the Ranch, an owner’s Association maintains the many amenities which include miles of bridle trails, private beach facilities, tennis
courts and a security patrol for this affluent community. City or country, Hope Ranch is a clear opportunity to enjoy the best of both worlds.
The Santa Ynez Valley is Santa Barbara’s Wine Country. Amidst oak studded rolling hills are the many vineyards and wineries that produce world-class wines. This picturesque valley is also horse country and home to several breeding farms. Other animals raised in the Valley include ostriches, llamas and miniature horses. Great food follows great wine and the Valley has no shortage of fine eating establishments. Solvang, Santa Ynez, Ballard and Los Olivos are among the charming towns within the Valley that host a variety of restaurants, shops, art galleries and lodging. A Valley of wide open spaces where ranches and farms dominate the landscape, there are some more traditional neighborhoods tucked here and there providing a variety of residential opportunities. From Golf to Hot Air Ballooning, the Valley offers a wide range of recreational activities for its residents and visitors alike. While only a short 30 minute drive from the many amenities of Santa Barbara, Santa Ynez Valley provides a rustic yet sophisticated backdrop for country living at its finest.
© Copyright 2008 Jermaine Chastain
A stone’s throw from Montecito, the small seaside hamlet of Summerland is terraced along a magnificent hillside overlooking the Pacific Ocean. From their graceful perches, many of Summerland’s homes enjoy breathtaking ocean and island views. In the distance, larger homes and ranches are sprinkled among the rolling hills. Along its main avenue below, there is an impressive collection of shops offering antiques, home furnishings, and garden accessories. Charming cafes, spas, and Bed and Breakfast Inns complete this idyllic setting.
The Riviera is alive with a Mediterranean ambiance that so clearly resembles the south of France that one could easily forget this is still Santa Barbara. A myriad of homes with red tile roofs dot the hills above the city, peeking out among its lush semitropical vegetation. The views are nothing short of incredible whether they be of the sea, mountains, islands, or city below. The many curves, rustic stone walls and double tiered streets of the Riviera’s navigation system further add to the European charm of this most desirable neighborhood.
Mission Canyon is a rustic yet refined neighborhood with a rich historical heritage. Beginning northeast of the Santa Barbara Mission, Mission Canyon stretches up into the foothills through forests of grand sycamores and stately oaks. Streams, creeks and magnificent hiking trails abound with residences carefully and thoughtfully interwoven with nature. Old aqueducts, dams and other structures fashioned of native Santa Barbara sandstone stand as visible reminders of the area’s early history. Mission Canyon is a perfect home for the Santa Barbara Botanic Garden which showcases a wide variety of native and endangered plants.
Although early planners had decided that the area should be a golf course, San Roque developed into a traditional neighborhood of storybook cottages interlaced with more stately yet equally charming homes. What was once a vast, treeless grassland is now a picturesque neighborhood of tree lined streets and lush landscapes. This transformation began in the early 1920’s and many of its homes retain the appeal of a bygone era. Parks, shops, restaurants and businesses are in close proximity to this treasured Santa Barbara neighborhood.
Minutes from downtown Santa Barbara, Goleta offers the good life to its fortunate residents. Traditional neighborhoods of single-family homes and condominiums ramble across its valley floor, while larger properties and ranches grace its foothills. The University of California at Santa Barbara (UCSB) calls a beautiful campus on the Goleta coastline home and is the county’s largest employer. Private business has also flourished here. There is a strong business community comprised of high-tech and aerospace companies, as well as many small business. The dynamic energy of business, technology, and higher education are balanced by the many contrasting features born of Goleta’s natural beauty. There are beautiful parks, bluffs and beaches as well as an amazing nature preserve. Golfers can enjoy the stunning coastal Sandpiper course or the foothill location of Glen Annie. Goleta is also home to Bacara, a world-class resort that has become a favorite destination of the rich and famous.