THINGS TO DO IN MONTECITO: A STYLISH SUMMER PRIMER
Summer takes on a sophisticated vibe when considering things to do in Montecito, where stunning natural beauty is complemented by spectacular residential architecture, chic shops and distinctive dining. It's no wonder well-known celebrities and major powerbrokers who could live anywhere in the world call this tucked-away seaside haven home.
WHAT MAKES SANTA BARBARA ONE OF THE BEST PLACES TO LIVE?
Described as the American Riviera and known as a playground for the rich and famous, Santa Barbara is considered one of the best places to live in the United States. To understand why, all you need to do is take a look at our gorgeous city.
WHALE WATCHING IN SANTA BARBARA
Hop aboard a whale-watching vessel and experience an up-close and personal connection with the largest mammals on earth. The Santa Barbara Channel is one of the best places in the world for spotting whales due to our nutrient-rich water. And we’re not only talking about whales here. Spotting dolphins is a daily occurrence, along with porpoises and other amazing creatures.
CRISTAL’S PICKS: SANTA BARBARA EVENTS IN JULY 2022
July is the month to celebrate independence and sunshine in the coastal enclave of Santa Barbara. Start the day by unwinding at the beach and end with a concert at the Santa Barbara Bowl.
BEST PLACES FOR A SANTA BARBARA PICNIC
July may be National Picnic Month, but in Santa Barbara, it’s always time for a picnic, especially during the summertime. There's nothing better than enjoying some fresh air on a warm day—especially when delicious food is involved. A relaxing picnic doesn't have to be a big, planned event. Just fill a basket with your favorite treats, grab a friend, and head outside.
STUFF TO DO IN SANTA BARBARA: OUTDOOR FUN
Getting outside is essential in Santa Barbara. The golden ridgeline of the Santa Ynez Mountains cascade into the Pacific which means both land and water adventures are abundant here.
PICKLEBALL IN SANTA BARBARA
Pickleball in Santa Barbara? Declared the nation’s fastest-growing sport by USA Today, pickleball’s popularity continues to climb nationwide including right here in Santa Barbara.
SANTA BARBARA ARCHITECTURE WALKING TOURS
Without a doubt, Santa Barbara’s architecture is one of the city’s most defining features. There’s a deliberate consistency to the aesthetic here that’s been cultivated by city leaders since the early 1920’s. The commitment to upholding these standards over the generations has resulted in a signature style; one that reflects the Santa Barbara lifestyle
CRISTAL’S PICKS: SANTA BARBARA EVENTS IN JUNE 2022
The summer officially begins on June 21 this year. As Montecito resident Oprah Winfrey says, “Summer has a flavor like no other. Always fresh and simmered in sunshine.”
SALT CAVE SANTA BARBARA: ANOTHER HEALTHY BENEFIT OF LIVING ON THE AMERICAN RIVERA
It’s not difficult to understand why Santa Barbara is ranked one of the Top 100 Best Places to Live by Livability. Besides enjoying miles of pristine coastline, widespread civic participation, and cultural attractions, locals have many options when it comes to self-care, including the Santa Barbara salt caves that take wellness to new heights.
SANTA BARBARA LIFESTYLE: A DAY IN SUMMERLAND WITH YOUR DOG
It’s time to treat yourself, and your four-legged family member, to a day in Summerland. This hidden beach town offers everything you and your canine BFF need to sniff out some fun in the sun together. Think unspoiled coastline, chic shops and casual dining—all dog friendly.
SPOTLIGHT ON: IDYLLIC WEDDING VENUES IN SANTA BARBARA COUNTY
Santa Barbara is a sought-after wedding destination for good reason. With breathtaking ocean views, magnificent Spanish architecture, and tranquil vineyards, there’s something inherently romantic about the idyllic wedding venues in Santa Barbara County.
SPOTLIGHT ON: CALIFORNIA POPPY MEADOWS IN AND NEAR SANTA BARBARA
California’s nickname, the Golden State, is due in part to our state flower, the California poppy. Every spring, fields of golden poppies bloom all over the state, including right here in Santa Barbara County.
SPOTLIGHT ON: SANTA BARBARA MUSEUMS
Santa Barbara is home to a distinctive collection of museums and cultural attractions that have become an essential facet of the jewel that is the American Rivera.
The Frank Lloyd Wright Montecito Connection
Besides the amazing Frank Lloyd Wright Structures in Los Angeles and examples in San Francisco, the world-renowned architect built several other buildings in California, including one right here in Santa Barbara. Hence, the Frank Lloyd Wright Montecito connection.
New Year’s Resolutions: Facts, Funnies and Santa Barbara Specific
It’s that time of year when we break out our New Year’s resolutions. And after living through the trials and tribulations of 2020, we’re all looking for a little inspiration for the year ahead.
12 Things To Do When You’re Confined to Your Home
What’s a Montecito or Santa Barbara homeowner supposed to do when at home for extended periods for whatever reason, including work, illness, caregiving, and so on? Fortunately, you'll discover plenty of ways to entertain yourself when you consider things to do when you're confined to your home.
The Richness of Santa Barbara History
The founders of the City of Santa Barbara were among the first in the nation to realize the cultural and economic value of preserving historic buildings.
Who Says Fun Games to Play Outside Are Just for Kids?
Warmer days mean homeowners want to get outside and safely enjoy Santa Barbara’s beautiful outdoors. What could be better than fun games to play outside with those you’ve been quarantined with?
Shop and Dine Along the NEW Santa Barbara State Street Promenade
Santa Barbara’s State Street has been transformed into a welcoming Pedestrian Promenade in the wake of COVID-19. For now, the famous street is closed to vehicles from Haley to Sola streets and local businesses and restaurants are spilling out onto the sidewalks, welcoming shoppers, diners, and those who just want to walk the renowned street.
Lettuce Grow: More Than an Appeal from Veggies
Lettuce Grow is an exciting new initiative of The Farm Project, a sustainable produce venture started by actress Zooey Deschanel and her husband, Jacob Pechenik.
Santa Barbara Day Trips: Convenient, Safe and Sanity Savers
The summer of 2020 might not be the best time to live out your Jack Kerouac road trip fantasy, but locals suffering from cabin fever due to COVID-19 can take a day trip to get away from it all right in their own backyard.
Harry and Meghan: Montecito’s Newest High-profile Residents
Journalists from all over the world are reaching out to me about Montecito’s newest celebrity family, popularly known as Harry and Meghan: Prince Harry, Meghan Markle and their son Archie Harrison Mountbatten-Windsor.
The Art of Backyard Stargazing in Santa Barbara
Santa Barbara and Montecito are renowned for having perfect Mediterranean weather and miles of pristine beaches. But what many don’t realize, or at least notice, is that at night the sky is filled with stars and planets; perfect for backyard stargazing.
Road Tripping Near Santa Barbara – With or Without the Dog
As the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) relaxes its travel guidelines, local homeowners are gearing up for some road tripping near Santa Barbara. That’s not surprising.
Local Spotlight: The Santa Barbara Airport
As the 13th largest airport in California, Santa Barbara Airport (SBA) typically serves more than a million passengers every year. Known as the gateway to the American Rivera, SBA currently offers nonstop flights to Dallas-Ft.
The Emerging Popularity of Luxury Storage Units
Luxury storage units offering options for everything from storing treasures including rare vehicles and works of art, to creating extra entertainment spaces away from home are popping up across the country.
Holiday Shopping in Santa Barbara and Surrounding Communities
‘Tis the season to be shopping. And those of us fortunate to be doing our holiday shopping in Santa Barbara always enjoy a plethora of local entrepreneurs ready to sell their homegrown and handmade, one-of-a kind gift items.
The Junk Drawer: A Montecito Tradition?
I’m going to take a bold step here and assume that literally every Montecito residence – including my own – has at least one junk drawer.
Baby Checklist: 10 Things to Do to Prepare Your Home for a Newborn
In honor of Prince Harry and Duchess Meghan Markle’s royal bundle of joy, Archie Harrison Mountbatten-Windsor, I thought I’d offer some important ways to prepare for a newborn.
Ocean View Homes are Good for Our Health
Those of us fortunate enough to live in Montecito ocean view homes or those with an ocean view in Santa Barbara don’t take our amazing vistas for granted. In fact, just look up Santa Barbara Sunsets on Instagram and you’ll find pages including this one that features more than 1000 of them.
Santa Barbara Farmers’ Markets Farm Stands And Gourmet Shops
The Santa Barbara Certified Farmers Market offers some of the freshest produce on the West Coast. You can also find an incredible selection of local goods at these markets.
No Kid Hungry: The Manifest Altruism of Actor Jeff Bridges
Jeff Bridges brings more to the Santa Barbara community than his superstar status. A longtime resident of Montecito, the Academy Award winner is also the national spokesperson for the No Kid Hungry program and an advocate for the free lunch program in Santa Barbara.
Luxury Home Products for Montecito Homeowners
As technology advances, so do luxury home products. While product launches are nothing new, many of the latest products and gadgets to hit the market today are designed specifically to make everyday chores more manageable and pleasant.
Hug a Santa Barbara Tree Today
Each Santa Barbara tree is an invaluable resource. Together, the city’s trees provide more than $2 million in annual benefits: from stormwater and carbon dioxide reduction to reduced energy costs.
Insta-worthy Locations: The Most Instagram-able Spots in Santa Barbara
There are so many “Insta-worthy” locations in Montecito and Santa Barbara that professional and amateur photographers might find it difficult to decide where to start. Let’s face it—this area offers visual feasts for your eyes around every corner, through each paseo and along our miles of sandy beaches.
Social Media Influence on Interior Design in Santa Barbara and Montecito
Today’s consumers have become increasingly digital-savvy and social media-driven. I have blogged about Insta-worthy locations in Santa Barbara in the past. Now, it’s time to take a look at the ways social media is influencing design, even here in Montecito and Santa Barbara.
Running Trails in Santa Barbara: 8 of the Most Popular
Why not make 2020 your year to explore the wonderful running trails in Santa Barbara? After all, this vibrant community is home to a large and active endurance community.
The Adult Treehouse: An Aerie Not Just for Kids
I read a story in the Wall Street Journal about a growing new trend: the adult treehouse. I’ve blogged previously about the man cave, and the popularity of the she shed, but I hadn’t considered modern-day adult treehouses
8 Housewarming Traditions from Around the World
Would you invite a cow to welcome you to your new home?
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“Cristal Clarke has conducted numerous real estate transactions for me beginning 13 years ago with the purchase of a Lemon Ranch. She has handled both large and small purchases and sales with equal dedication. As a negotiator, you can’t find anyone better. Her transactions are always conducted in the most appropriate and professional manner. Cristal has considerable knowledge of the Santa Barbara market.”
- S.N. Decker Ph.D.
“Living in Europe, we were to say the least, unaccustomed to the nuances of Real Estate acquisition in California and Cristal steered us through the process with absolute professionalism and personal attention to detail at every turn. Her in-depth knowledge of the market place combined with enthusiasm and drive was the only reason we secured the property of our dreams and will be forever grateful. If you are looking for personal discrete and private representation of the highest quality we suggest you look no further than Cristal Clarke.”
- Johan and Paula van den Berg
“Cristal is very straightforward, cheerful, helpful, professional and trustworthy….we felt very lucky to work with her.”
- John and Lacey Williams
“After considering our many choices, we are grateful it was Cristal Clarke of Sotheby’s International who represented the sale of our Montecito cottage. We are familiar with Cristal’s reputation of hard work and dedication to clients, but it was her attention to detail that made our experience so positive. She offered suggestions for staging the property, worked in harmony with potential buyers and was even able to secure back up offers. The sale of our cottage was completed much sooner than we expected, due in great part to Cristal’s professional skills and support. We highly recommend Cristal as a first choice for anyone needing representation with real estate.”
- Michael & Nancy Lee
“Our experience in working with Cristal Clarke resulted in the successful and discrete acquisition of a property which was not yet on the open market. Her knowledge of the Montecito/Santa Barbara area and vast expertise blended with her passion for real estate and architecture, provided us with the very highest level of professionalism and personalized services. Cristal exhibited a rare combination of excellent communications, attention to detail, creativity and patience.”
- Richard and Catherine Frinier
“Cristal really breaks the mold. She knows every nook and cranny of this real estate market, understands value, and follows up on everything, all the time. She was incredibly patient with our two year quest to find the perfect house. Every house hunting trip from across the country was well planned, and our time was never wasted. On top of her professionalism and expertise, she is delightful to spend time with. We are thrilled with the home we purchased, and grateful to Cristal for so wisely advising us through this process, right through to the close and beyond.”
- Laurie Siegel
“We met Cristal first in the course of renting a winter home (for three years), then buying a house using her as our agent. She was amazingly good at listening to our wants and showing us homes that fit our needs. Her mastery of the paperwork was perfect. Most importantly, there was never a situation where we doubted her straightforwardness or integrity. If we do another real estate transaction in Montecito (which I doubt, we’re happy with what we purchased), without question we’d use Cristal again.”
- Ken Saffir
“Susan and I just want to thank you for your efforts in the sale of our home. You are really quite amazing. Your competence, persistence, optimism and humor made the entire process effortless. Every problem that arose, you somehow fixed; any obstacle, you overcame. We have bought and sold many homes. It has never been such a painless and enjoyable process!”
- Michael & Susan Marquart
“A little something about “our” realtor, Cristal Clarke. My wife and I came to Santa Barbara about fifteen years ago looking for a seasonal home from which to enjoy the weather and amenities of the central coast. Being in the real estate business myself I was familiar with agents and brokers so entered the market with open eyes. We “flipped” a few houses in the early years, dealing with various agents and finally ended up in Montecito. That’s when good fortune put us together with Cristal. To say we were impressed is to put it mildly. Cristal really knows the market. She is familiar with the area, its history and trends. When we have questions about a particular property she either has the answers immediately or gets back to us by phone or email. There is no waiting or wondering with Cristal. She is an agent who is “on top of it.” Her recommendations as to price points, contractors, inspectors and title agents have proven to be exceptional, showing great insight and the highest professional standards. We consider ourselves exceedingly fortunate to say that Cristal Clarke is our realtor and would recommend her services to any serious buyer or seller.”
- Rob & Judi Kelch