Cristal's Blog


February 24, 2022

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The Ultimate California Get-Away is Right in Our Own Backyard

Whether you are planning a girls’ weekend in Santa Barbara, or a romantic California couples escape, right here is the ultimate California getaway. From luxury resorts and hotels, to beaches, biking and hiking trails, shopping, and great food and wine, Santa Barbara is the perfect location for a much-needed weekend getaway, even for residents. Staycation anyone?

Featuring beauty beyond belief, the Pacific Ocean lies at its feet while the Santa Ynez Mountains create a dramatic backdrop. This picture-postcard California coastal paradise has plenty to keep everyone engaged for the weekend — and beyond. So why not getaway in your own backyard?

Breathtaking sunset along the coast in front of the Rosewood Miramar Beach

Photo courtesy of Rosewood Miramar Beach

Places to Stay

You have many choices of amazing places to stay during a weekend in Santa Barbara, along one of the world’s most beautiful and exclusive coastlines.

The Rosewood Miramar Beach for a girl’s getaway
Montecito’s Rosewood Miramar Beach offers a captivating estate-style atmosphere and the finest in leisure amenities. Situated directly on Miramar Beach, the resort’s beachfront suites offer guests a taste of the refined seaside living that we who live here enjoy every day. Each 960-square-foot suite features a living room fireplace and a comfortably furnished patio where the rolling waves of the Pacific Ocean add to the serenity of the setting.

San Ysidro Ranch for a romantic weekend
Voted America’s Best Resort by Travel & Leisure Magazine, this oasis of romance offers a unique blend of privacy, peace, and tranquility in an idyllic setting tucked away in the foothills. The property boasts thirty-eight vine-covered cottages surrounded by landscaped gardens under a canopy of stately sycamores and oaks; the perfect place to unplug from the world. Stay where Camelot began with John and Jackie Kennedy, honeymooning in the cottage that now bears their name.

Places to Dine

When it comes to great options for dining during a weekend in Santa Barbara, Start the day off with breakfast at Jeannine’s Restaurant & Bakery, a local gem that has been part of the fabric of Santa Barbara for over 30 years. Enjoy one-of-a-kind pastries and nutritious food every day at any of the three locations: State Street, Goleta, or the original location on Coast Village Road in Montecito.

For lunch, head to Renaud’s Patisserie & Bakery for a taste of Paris without having to board a plane. Proprietor and pastry chef Renaud Gonthier baked for The Ritz-Carlton and has appeared on The Food Network and The Travel Channel.

The dining room of Lucky's Restaurant in Santa Barbara

Image courtesy of Lucky's Restaurant

For dinner, don’t miss Montecito’s Lucky’s Steakhouse where the décor is part of the allure. Vast windows surrounded by old studio headshots of Hollywood stars create a palpable classy feel. But it's the quality steaks that have garnered Lucky's a devoted repeat clientele. Filet mignon, sirloin, and New York steak are served à la carte, complemented with your choice of starch and options.

Kayakers in Santa Barbara enjoying a beautiful sunset

Image courtesy of Santa Barbara Adventure Company

Things to Do

There’s so much to see and do here that you’ll find it difficult to decide where to begin. But here are a few things to consider:

  • Get Your Vitamin Sea
    Santa Barbara is well known for its expansive, pristine beaches that beckon everyone to soak in the “vitamin sea.” Blessed with a mild Mediterranean climate and a coastal California lifestyle, area beaches like Butterfly Beach are great spots for swimming, kayaking, stand-up paddleboarding, surfing, or just relaxing. Butterfly Beach is one of the most spectacular sunset spots in town. Then there’s Hendry’s Beach, officially Arroyo Burro Beach Park. Dogs are allowed off-leash on a portion of the beach, making this is a great spot for a romp. And who could forget Summerland Beach County Park, which offers stunning views overlooking the Santa Barbara Channel and the Channel Islands National Park?

  • Kayak the Harbor
    Get a different perspective of the Santa Barbara harbor and coastline from the water. The Santa Barbara Adventure Company offers a variety of coastal trips including guided tours where you can learn about marine ecology and the Santa Barbara Channel — and hopefully kayak with dolphins and sea lions. There are also sea kayak trips to the Channel Islands.

  • Cruise the Afternoon Away
    Join Celebration Cruises at Stearns Wharf on an experience you won’t soon forget. Enjoy Santa Barbara’s scenic sunset cruises or go whale watching aboard a 70′ multi-level luxury yacht, the Azure Seas. For a more intimate adventure, take one of the Santa Barbara boat rides aboard “Lil’ Toot,” Santa Barbara’s official water taxi. The company’s newest boat, Whisper, offers luxurious harbor cruises aboard Santa Barbara’s first fully electric charter boat.

  • Cycling and Biking
    Whether you’re pedaling your beach cruiser along Santa Barbara’s famed ocean-side Cabrillo Boulevard, or flying down a dirt road, Santa Barbara’s diversified landscape offers cycling and biking trails for all skill levels. Road biking here is arguably among the best in the country, complemented by our ocean breeze, the rolling foothills, steep Gibraltar Road and the picturesque Santa Ynez Valley. Meantime, Santa Barbara’s front and backcountry trails are perfect for mountain biking and a great way to experience the vast 875,000 acres comprising the Los Padres National Forest and its 1,257 miles of maintained trails.

  • Hiking
    Where else can you find hiking trails that wind along flowing creeks shaded by California bay, sycamore, and oak tree forests? Or chaparral-choked mountainsides that sweep across the entire range with views of Santa Barbara’s red tile roofs, white sand beaches, and the sparking Pacific Ocean? The hiking is special here, especially since the Santa Ynez Mountain range is one of only two in the world that runs east to west, eventually spilling into the ocean on the breathtaking Gaviota Coast.

    Here are some examples of what I’m talking about:
    • Inspiration Point offers amazing panoramic views
    • The Nojoqui Falls features an 80-foot-tall waterfall
    • For an easy hike, take in the fresh air combined with local flora at the Santa Barbara Botanic Garden’s Porter Trail
    • When you reach the top of the Santa Ynez Mountains, you’ll be rewarded with stunning views that show off Santa Barbara’s backcountry and the vast Los Padres National Forest
  • Shopping
    Shopping here comes with its own distinct flair as you’re surrounded by beauty at every turn. Boutiques are scattered throughout town, from Arlington Plaza and De La Guerra Plaza to multiple high-end consignment shops and galleries, all waiting to be discovered. The Funk Zone is bursting with energy, and, while it is known for its abundance of wine tasting rooms, it also is the home of some excellent eclectic shops as well.

    Uptown you’ll find more open-air shopping options like La Cumbre Plaza. And two areas in Montecito, Coast Village Road, and the Upper Village, are home to a collection of one-off boutiques, as well as exclusive shops where you can find clothing, home décor, garden supplies, furniture and more.

The ultimate shopping experience here during a weekend in Santa Barbara is our amazing real estate options. If you’re thinking of selling your home in any of the communities in and around Santa Barbara, I invite you to call me at (805) 886-9378, or send me an email at for a complimentary consultation. I can also discuss buying in the area.

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Client Reviews

“It was an emotional experience selling our mother’s home in Montecito that we all loved so much but Cristal made the process easier on our whole family by guiding us through the transaction every step of the way. She knows the market so well and everything she recommended was on point including the asking price, painting, and staging the home, which looked beautiful and helped the buyer envision her new home. We sold it the first day it hit the market with an offer above asking! Cristal did an incredible job communicating with us and the buyer to ensure that the transaction would run smoothly. We highly recommend using Cristal, she was a pleasure to work with! ”

- J & A

“Cristal is a pleasure to work with! Her knowledge of the local real estate market coupled with her amazing listening skills resulted in her showing us an array of homes that were all excellent choices. Her low-pressure patient attitude made us feel extremely comfortable with the whole process. I cannot recommend her highly enough.”

- M.F.

“Cristal Clarke is #1 in her field - and you don't become #1 by luck. Cristal works harder, and longer, and with more charm and patience than any real estate agent I have ever worked with in the past; her calendar has no weekend, her days have no clocks, her only concern is selling your property as soon as possible and for the best price on the market. Am I a fan? You bet!”

- P.B.

“We have used Cristal now several times and cannot express how grateful we are for her expertise, dedication, and unwavering support throughout the entire home-buying process. Cristal is knowledgeable, patient and attentive. Her attention to detail is remarkable, and she consistently went above and beyond to provide us with all the information and resources we needed to make informed decisions. Cristal is a skillful negotiator and advocate. She can navigate complex negotiations with professionalism and grace and felt like a true partner to us in the home-buying process. Cristal has a genuine passion for real estate and a deep commitment to her clients' satisfaction. I cannot speak highly enough of Cristal and her exceptional service. She is a true expert in her field and her dedication to excellence, combined with unwavering support is the reason we choose to work with her for all our real estate buying needs.”

- T.C.

“Cristal is a top-notch realtor who sold my home before it ever went on the market. I had two competing offers that enabled me to get top dollar for my home. Not only is Cristal superb but her team is extraordinary. I cannot say enough about Cristal and her team. They are simply phenomenal, the consummate professionals, who took care of every possible detail, making the sale and transition period, smooth from our end. They are also lovely, caring people, who knew all the right professionals, to get the job done. Thank you, everyone!”

- D.R.

“I could list lots of cool adjectives to describe Cristal. All good by the way. But, that is not why I or anyone should hire Cristal. My reason for hiring her, which proved to be correct, is very simple. She got the job done. And, she does it time and time again and with zero issues. And, that is why she is one of the top agents in the country. End of subject. ”

- M.A.

“Working with Cristal was a complete pleasure. Cristal was extremely patient with us as we evaluated nearly 2 dozen homes over a span of 2 years. Her knowledge of the market is unmatched. Cristal provided us with exceptional counsel as we evaluated opportunities and negotiated pricing. The closing process was handled thoroughly and efficiently. We could not be happier with our purchase and even more happy to now call Cristal our friend.”

- D.K.

“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