A Look Back at the Tea Gardens Above Montecito

••• Thanks to Edible Santa Barbara for highlighting this 2018 piece by KCRW about Mar y Ciel, a.k.a. the Tea Gardens, a must-read for anyone who has wondered about the history of the three-arched stone wall high above Montecito. And then there’s this video….

••• A store is actually opening on State Street instead of closing: Tri County Office Furniture at 1013 State (Figueroa/Carrillo). Perhaps we can buy the company a hyphen as a welcome gift.

••• Another award announcement from the Santa Barbara International Film Festival: Carey Mulligan for “her remarkable career and most recent performance in Focus Features’s dark comedy Promising Young Woman.” (She was indeed good in that film, although I preferred The Dig, a genteel historical drama on Netflix that shows off the other end of Mulligan’s range.) You can buy a pass to watch the SBIFF events at home: “Each pass will grant access to our online platform with Celebrity Tributes, Panel Discussions, Filmmaker Q&As and over 100 films! Everything will be accessible via any web browser or an app on Apple TV and Roku devices.”

••• I heard back from Santa Barbara County’s Public Works Department about how far the new sidewalks will extend up Hot Springs Road: “The project will start 300 feet east of Oak Road on Hot Springs and then continue north to East Valley Road. Work should start in late April to early May. It’s very similar to the work that recently occurred on Hot Springs and it will continue the pedestrian path created last year along Olive Mill Road to increase connectivity and enhance recent work by the Bucket Brigade to create a walkable community. Construction work will include moving the curb out towards the road about three to four feet and constructing a path along the shoulder, resurfacing the damaged roadway, and replacing drainage facilities damaged by the debris flow.” Here’s the notice that Public Works sent to affected residents. And A. reminded me of the Montecito Journal article from late last year about all the sidewalks—sorry, trails—proposed for Montecito, as indicated by the dotted red lines on this map.

••• From the agent’s email about 4660 Via Huerta in Hope Ranch, available to rent for $75,000 per month: “Another unique opportunity for the tenants of this home is they will be given priority to charter the owner’s Sovereign 680+ 8 passenger super midsize jet. Take non-stop trips to Hawaii, anywhere in the Caribbean and anywhere in the Continental US, departing from Santa Barbara airport out of a private hanger [sic], just park your car and fly… No FBO!” It never occurred to me to dread the FBO, or the private jet terminal….

••• It’s not news that the city’s Parks & Recreation Department is working on replacing the current wading pool next to Los Baños del Mar at the harbor. But I had never seen the plans by SWA for the new “splash playground.”

Splash playgrounds, also known as splash pads or splash parks, typically feature a concrete surface and have a variety of water jets that create a fun environment for children of all ages. Splash playgrounds are a popular replacement for wading pools due to their lower cost for maintenance and staffing, and longer range of operating days during the year. Splash playgrounds can also be used by members of the community that do not know how to swim. Unlike traditional wading pools, splash playgrounds do not have standing water of any considerable depth—typically less than an inch deep and freely flowing to surface drains—so the chance of drowning is greatly minimized and lifeguards are not required by law. When not in use, splash playgrounds can be used as a multi-purpose space and integrated into a more traditional playground or park setting.

The primary objective of the West Beach Splash Playground (Project) is to create an engaging park incorporating playful and safe water elements in warmer months, while also functioning as a year-round destination playground. A key consideration is to have the design theme reflect local ocean and waterfront features. Project amenities need to include restroom/changing room, exterior showers, tables and chairs, shade options, and play elements for wet and dry areas. A concept plan was created using those project objectives.


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Any idea when they expect to start/finish the splash pool? Also, did the city ever get back to you regarding when they expect to wrap up Plaza De Vera Cruz park?

Erik Torkells

I tried the Parks & Recreation Department three or four times about Plaza De Vera Cruz and got nowhere, so I gave up. And that made me wary of even trying re: the splash playground (along with the fact that the department is hurting for funding because of the pandemic and so presumably the project is backburnered). I’ll try again—maybe it’ll help if they know someone actually reads this site.