How the Hilltop Barons Made Santa Barbara What It Is Today

••• An interesting (and in-person) talk on June 3 by historian Neal Graffy at the Santa Barbara Historical Museum: “Discover five of Santa Barbara’s most generous patrons whose philanthropy in their ‘adopted’ city remains unmatched to this day. Learn about these prominent residents and their palatial estates: C.K.G. Billings, and his estate, Asombrosso; George Owen Knapp and Arcady; Frederick Forrest Peabody and Solana [above]; David Gray and Graholm; and William H. Cowles and his Eucalyptus Hill. Cottage Hospital, Santa Barbara High School, Cabrillo Pavilion, Montecito Trails, the Scenic Highway, East Beach, Santa Barbara School for the Arts, and the Santa Barbara Art Museum are just a few many institutions and places that benefited from Montecito’s Hilltop Barons.” Here’s hoping some of our current barons step up and help save the San Marcos Foothills.

••• The Lobero Theatre has announced a full slate of events starting June 19 with a tribute to Brian Wilson and including the Milk Carton Kids (August 31), Bianca Del Rio (September 28), Los Lobos (October 8), KT Tunstall (January 21), Ladysmith Black Mambazo (February 18), and Taj Mahal (March 8), among others.

••• And My Morning Jacket is playing the Santa Barbara Bowl on September 23. I’ve always loved this song…. And their cover of Erykah Badu’s “Tyrone” is pretty sweet, too.

••• Montecitans concerned about the Montecito Water District’s announcement that radio collector devices that are proposed to be installed around town so the new smart meters can communicate with the home base might be curious what they look like (as I was). According to the May 20 MBAR agenda, they “would not go above 50 feet in height,” which is not exactly reassuring.

••• All SeaVees footwear is 30% off. For online orders, the code is CHEERS30.

••• The Rincon Beach Multi-use Trail was on the agenda for the May 21 meeting of the county’s South Board of Architectural Review: “The proposed project consists of a 16-foot wide (10-foot wide path with 3-foot wide paved shoulder along both sides) and approximately 2,800-foot long shared-use trail that would provide safe access for bicyclists and pedestrians traveling from Carpinteria Avenue in the City of Carpinteria to Rincon Beach County Park in Santa Barbara County at the Ventura County line. The initial approximately 850 feet of the trail alignment (starting from the eastern Carpinteria Avenue terminus and heading east) is within the City of Carpinteria jurisdiction. The remaining approximately 1,950 feet of the trail alignment, including the bridge crossing over the railroad corridor, is located within the County of Santa Barbara. The Rincon Trail is planned to function as the local section of the California Coastal Trail, connecting on the south end to the recently completed bicycle and pedestrian path. On the north, the Rincon Trail would currently connect with Carpinteria Avenue, which provides continuous bicycle and pedestrian travel from the eastern to western end of Carpinteria City Limits.”

••• Having taken over as listing agent of 2626 Sycamore Canyon Road (now $11.95 million), Nancy Kogevinas invited me too see it in person—something I look forward to doing much more of now that Covid-19 restrictions are easing up. I stand by what I wrote when the property—a “Balinese farmhouse” with full-tilt decor—was first listed, but I will say that the photographs don’t do it justice. (Maybe the colors just make the place tough to capture.) And while there are surfaces that want to be updated, many look great as is, especially for the buyer who wants something decidedly non-generic. I’m partial to the red wooden floor and the terrace done in harlequin tile….

••• One of the great joys of this area vs. the East Coast has always been the relative lack of annoying insects. So I was plenty disturbed to come across a tick while hiking Buena Vista Trail—I’d seen ticks run the back country, but never in the front, and we hadn’t been off the trail or brushed up against any vegetation. Lest you think it was a one-off, here’s a message C. sent me in Instagram: “I found a tick on my 3.5 year old yesterday! We live in Montecito, never go off trails or anything.”


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