I started my summiting of TV Hill by parking on Coronel Street, across from McKinley Elementary School. A good omen: it was a Saturday, so parking wasn’t an issue. I imagine that the signs are directed at students from SBCC, across Cliff Drive, and not the wee scholars of McKinley.
I had never noticed the elementary school before; built in 1932, it’s rather handsome—not unlike young William McKinley himself.
From the parking lot, you can see 121 Via Del Cielo, which recently sold for $8 million. More on that property when I reach it.
This walk comprises three microneighborhoods, the first of which is the residential area across from McKinley. While it’s mostly houses, there are some apartments, which I assume are mainly inhabited by SBCC students. The mishmash of parked cars certainly feels college student–y (and reminiscent of how real estate agents park at a brokers’ open) while the “police not welcome” sticker has a whiff of twenty-something outrage.
I’m always intrigued when I see on Google Maps what looks like a pedestrian path, but the robots are wrong about where Weldon Road meets Arroyo Avenue; it’s a full-fledged road. Meanwhile, the reasoning behind the Weldon Road loop is a mystery to me. And heading up Arroyo Avenue, I fell hard for the 1910 farmhouse at 958 Weldon Road.
The housing stock in this part of town was a surprise and a delight. I was expecting more Mesa-type houses, but these were older and more varied. Even if you don’t want to schlep all the way up TV Hill, I’d recommend a (weekend) jaunt around Weldon Road, Coronel Road, Isleta Avenue, Arroyo Avenue, and the eastern end of Miramonte Drive. That’s another way of admitting that I didn’t make any effort to keep track of the following houses’ exact locations.
My favorite, far and way, was 821 Corondel, even though that cinder-block wall is an abomination. On Redfin, there are a couple photos from 2004, when the 1872 house sold for $1.395 million.
The best mailbox was this shapely corrugated-metal one. And I texted a photo of the crow one to my husband, because he’s waging a war against the crows that have taken up residence around our property. At dawn, they park outside our bedroom window and shriek. Adam has tried everything: recordings of hawk calls, slingshots, dead-crow decoys, and a laser pointer, which works pretty well if the sun hasn’t come all the way up.
Microneighborhood number two starts with the Honda Valley Park, which I did not explore on this journey because I already had enough on my plate and one day I plan on investigating every park in town. (Take note, Pulitzer committee.) I did pause for a moment to admire the view and two houses—the contemporary one across the way on Harbor Hills Lane and the one further up Miramonte with the lovely backyard overlooking the park.
Jutting off of Miramonte, near the top of the hill, is Via Del Cielo. In Montecito, the old stone wall on one side of the entrance to the street would almost certainly be the remnant of an old estate. Could that have once been the case up here? (The other side had either been torn down or was entirely obscured by foliage.) The street is short but has phenomenal views at the cul-de-sac, which certainly looks like a sweet, if risky, place to do some doughnuts.
Lo and behold, 121 Via del Cielo. I say this a lot, but I sincerely hope we get a chance to see what the new owner does with it.
What’s the Dreier Building, you ask? This is from an interesting 2008 Wall Street Journal article about how many executives of home-building and financial-services firms made extraordinary amounts of money in the years directly preceding the housing crisis.
R. Chad Dreier, 61, chairman and chief executive of Ryland Group Inc.,a Calabasas, Calif., home builder, made $181 million over the five-year period. Specializing in mid-range homes, Ryland did well in the boom, entering into hot markets, such as Las Vegas and Ft. Myers, Fla. Most of its buyers financed homes through Ryland’s in-house mortgage unit, some through controversial interest-only mortgages. […]
Next door to his 4,900-square-foot hilltop house in Santa Barbara, Calif., a Dreier private company owns an office building that houses Mr. Dreier’s collection of baseball cards, sports memorabilia, gems, minerals and other items.
Perhaps he’s worried about the revolution, because there are a lot of signs like these.
Microneighborhood number three, on the west side of TV Hill, is home to the Santa Barbara Highlands condo complex. It’s huge, with “270 one- and two-bedroom Mediterranean-style townhomes,” according to the HOA website, which must be referring to a part of the Mediterranean I have yet to visit.
The entrance to VNA Health’s Serenity House, which provides hospice care, is embedded within the complex. I have to imagine its existence was a condition of allowing the mammoth condo development.
P.S. If only every lost sign got updated with good news….
Walk With Me…
• A Stroll in the Summerland Countryside
• The Side Streets and Alleyways of Upper Oak Park
• Quintessential Montecito at Butterfly Beach
• Mixing Business and Pleasure in East Beach
• It’s Only Milpas Street (But I Like It)
• An Aimless Wander Through Hidden Valley
• Voyage to the Heart of the San Roque Spider Web
• Where the Streets Have Full Names
• Once Upon a Time in the Hedgerow…
• On the Golden Slope of Eucalyptus Hill
• The Past Is Still Present in Old Town Goleta
• The Haley Corridor Is Keeping It Real
• The Unvarnished Appeal of Yankee Farm
• Where Montecito Gets Down to Business
• The Small Pleasures of Bungalow Haven
• The Small-Town Charms of Samarkand
• Climbing the Back of Eucalyptus Hill
• Admiring the Backsides of Beachfront Houses on Padaro Lane
• Social Distancing Made Easy at UCSB
• In the Heart of the Golden Quadrangle
• Is There a Better Neighborhood for a Stroll Than West Beach?
• Up, Down, and All Around Montecito’s Pepper Hill
• E. Canon Perdido, One of Downtown’s Best Strolling Streets
• Montecito’s Prestigious Picacho Lane
• Whitney Avenue in Summerland
• School House Road and Camphor Place
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