When Ashlee Mayfield of the Montecito Trails Foundation suggested that we do a little hike as a Walk With Me post, I was delighted. For one thing, she’s fun, and for another, it would make a refreshing change. My only concern was that there wouldn’t be as much to write about—something I worry about on every walk—but Ashlee assured me that the trails east of Summerland have ample fodder.
We parked at the Summerland Greenwell Preserve, circled on the map. Los Padres Outfitters is based at the preserve, so initially we followed some folks riding horseback—a first for one of these posts.
Soon, we were on our own, heading up the Bella Vista Ranch Trail that loops around the Montecito Ranch Estates development. I tend to get winded when I start climbing, and the afternoon sun didn’t help; doesn’t that trail sign look like a roadside grave marker? (Ashlee, who trains for an ultramarathon in the mornings, tackled the hill like a gazelle.) Happily, that was it for uphill on this walk, which is really more of a beautiful stroll in the countryside.
The payoff comes quickly as the trail winds toward the ocean. I wish I could say we waxed poetic about the views, nature, or even the makeshift bench, but instead we traded stories from the front lines of Montecito. For a brief moment, we even fantasized about starting an anonymous blog of blind items….
…but for how long? I wish there was more variety in the architecture at the Montecito Ranch Estates, which comes off a bit Orange County. We wondered what the funny little Home Depot bench was doing under a tree, far from any houses.
Vista Oceano Lane extends off Lambert Road, and while the entrance is gated, that’s only for cars—pedestrians can walk right around it. An estate on the street recently sold for $19.5 million, and an 11.3-acre lot currently used to grow lemons—I think that’s it in the second photo—is on the market for $11.95 million.
Before continuing east on Via Real, we took a brief detour to the west to check out Patrick Nesbitt’s helicopter hangar, although it’s hard to make out in the photos. (I’m sure the security camera got great footage of me pressing my face up against the chain-link fence.) There was a dumpster at the entrance of the building—maybe Nesbitt has finally given up on his dream of a helistop? (By the way, the property is still available for $65 million. The listing photos are worth the click.)
I was promised a pig at this farm on the Perkins Trail—named for legendary real estate agent and former Montecito Trails Foundation president Suzanne Perkins—but it was nowhere to be seen. We did spot a few chickens and hear a few ducks. I have to say that I like ducks a little less now that I have a pool they find tempting in nesting season.
Someone told Ashlee that one of these properties has a pretty pond, but we couldn’t see it, despite best efforts. She subsequently remembered that the tipster is a horse enthusiast, and of course they have a better vantage than us bipeds.
Meanwhile, I was thrilled to encounter a Sprite lymon tree.
Walk With Me…
• 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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