Cristal's Blog


May 10, 2022

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A Celebration of the Santa Barbara Lifestyle

Montecito Country Mart signage

Originally built in the 1960s, the Montecito Country Mart is a celebration of the Santa Barbara lifestyle, with its organic eateries, bespoke fashion, curated home goods, local conveniences, and community events. In fact, visiting the Town and Country-style village is the greatest way to experience the best that Montecito has to offer. Here’s why…

People eating outside at the Montecito Country Mart


The central courtyard of this little country mart tucked into one end of Montecito’s Coast Village Road is punctuated by several dining options, many of which feature intimate outdoor seating. Merci Montecito, for example, is an artisanal cafe serving delicious organic homemade food. At the same time, Bettina specializes in seasonal wood-fired pizzas with a healthy twist, like the caramelized onion pizza with leeks, and the Meyer lemon and mozzarella pizza.

Local Santa Barbara chef and Michelin Bib Gourmand winner Ramon Velazquez, known for his elevated Mexican cuisine, will serve his award-winning ceviche and local citrus-blended margaritas at his new dining establishment, Alma Fonda Fina, opening in late 2022. And for those on the go, the Italian-inspired Panino has delicious grab-and-go sandwiches and salads, perfect for a day at the beach.

The coffee at Caffe Luxxe is sustainably sourced and gently hand-roasted right here on the American Rivera. The menu also features custom-blended teas, fresh daily pastries from Milo & Olive, and appealing lifestyle retail items such as letterpress stationery, bath and body products, and many culinary treats.

For those looking for something healthy, the Montecito Country Mart has that, too. Take The Farm Stand, for instance. It’s stocked daily with local, organic fruits and vegetables by Mesa Produce of Santa Barbara. And then there’s Pressed Juicery, which offers delicious, premium, and nutritious juice. For those with a sweet tooth, Rori’s Artisanal Creamery will hit the spot with homemade ice cream, vegan ice cream, cookies, cones, and candies and more.

A luxury boutique with chairs in the front and the door open for business


You will find new boutiques alongside shops that have been at the Mart for a long-time. There’s DÔEN, Clare V, George, Hudson Grace, James Perse, Malia Mills, Mate Gallery, Poppy Marché, Montecito Natural Foods, along with Montecito Cleaners, Post Office, and Montecito Barbers, along with a pet shop, and a toy store. Some of my favorite shops include:

  • Clic
    This expertly curated concept space is the place to go when it comes to home goods, fashion, and accessories. The happy, whimsical store is full of colorful housewares, from textiles like blankets, rugs, and throw pillows to handcrafted items like alpaca figurines and wood serving bowls, pottery, furniture pieces, coffee table books, photographic art, and much more. The store is also lined with racks of apparel, from resort-style dresses to luxurious jackets and everything in between. There is also jewelry and select kids’ items.
  • Cynthia Benjamin
    The shelves of this Los Angeles-based optical boutique are filled with a mix of small, independent eyewear brands, as well as an impressive array of vintage frames, which date all the way back to the 1940s. The frames are from what is known in the industry as “deadstock,” or new, never used frames from old stock, such as a pair of signature frames that were once made famous by Grace Kelly, along with hard-to-find frames by Oliver Peoples, Persol, Ray-Ban, and others. 
  • Hudson Grace
    Known as the local destination for exquisite, unique, and globally sourced décor, especially for those who love to entertain, this unique shop is rooted in a philosophy of simplicity and authenticity. The curated collection includes modern serving ware, dinnerware, glassware, flatware, linens, candles, and entertaining essentials that favor beauty and practicality—Hudson Grace crafts and sources original and vintage designs which will make your house a home.
Th einside of a gallery in Montecito with art on the walls including a big fish
  • Mate Gallery
    Owners Matt Albiani and Ron Brand have curated the best of New England and brought it to Southern California with their gem of a gallery. As you can see by the image above, the space itself is an installation of foreign vintage textiles, out-of-print books, and a rotating roster of artists’ works. New York-based photographer Albiani sells his beach images alongside vintage oils, maritime gifts, and rare nautical finds. 
  • DÔEN
    Founded by Santa Barbara-born sisters Margaret and Katherine Kleveland and a Collective of partners, this digitally-led, multi-channel fashion and lifestyle brand prides itself on connecting directly with consumers with collections that celebrate womanhood. Everything in the store is thoughtfully designed for women and their bustling, busy, and beautiful lives. Each piece is meticulously crafted to be passed on for generations, evoking a timeless whimsy and an unapologetic femininity.
  • Malia Mills
    Swimsuit shopping has never been so much fun. That’s because Malia Mills has redefined what a swimsuit could be and how the perfect suit makes a woman feel. The collection of stand-alone bra-sized swimwear separates engineered with the precise fit of lingerie, cut from colors, textures, and prints like the clothes in our closet. The collection includes bra-sized tops from AA to E cup and bottoms and maillots in sizes 1- 16, and ready-to-wear and accessories dedicated to the feminine fierce.

And don’t forget to check out the Mart’s special events by signing up for the weekly newsletter.

The Montecito Country Mart is just one of the many things I love about living here. Suppose you’re thinking of selling your home in Montecito or any community in and around Santa Barbara. In that case, 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