The Unvarnished Appeal of Yankee Farm

I first explored the Yankee Farm part of Campanil a couple of years ago, when my husband and I looked at a house for sale on Sea Cliff. We decided not to pursue it for various reasons, chief among them that we couldn’t get a bead on the area. So I was excited to go back and take another look.

I parked on Vista Arroyo, the street below Braemar Drive, and set off to the east, ultimately going in a counterclockwise direction. My first impression was that there are more tennis courts than you usually see, although that could be because the land is sloped, so you actually can see them. And of course the lots are large enough to handle them.

The second thing I noticed, as you probably have everywhere around town, is that the agaves were in bloom. I had never taken a close look at the flowers.

The word Seussian gets used a lot to describe local flora, and I think it’s especially applicable when agave blooms are all the pointed the same direction, as if they’re looking at something.

This gate on Braemar Drive would be so nice to come home to….

The first house below is the one Adam and I looked at, 3070 Sea Cliff. It’s hard to tell from the street, but it had easygoing midcentury lines and insane ocean views. Last May, Anacapa Architecture posted an Instagram story of the new owners’ plans, which looked very cool. Alas, not much has happened at the site yet. The second house below, 3150 Sea Cliff, is also a likely teardown, having been sold in March for $4.3 million.

And check out this quirky little specimen across the street.

Two things I love: a cul-de-sac with a tree in the center and folksy mailboxes.

At the eastern end of Braemar Drive are the first property below—it’s like something out of the Wild West—and Yankee Farm, the area’s eponym. There’s a little bit more about the Yankee Farm farm in this Independent item from 2013.

You can’t tell from the map, but all of the north/south streets go straight up the hill. The second photo below shows a house on Brosian Way (along with another tennis court) that I thought was one of the more appealing in the area.

A statuesque euke on Braemar Drive.

Montecito likes to talk about its “semi-rural” atmosphere, but Yankee Farm could show them how it’s really done. I’m not sure this scarecrow has much work to do, given the desolation it oversees. And the Caution Horses sign had me singing Cowboy Junkies songs to myself for the rest of the walk.

The leap from semi-rural to full on “Justified” is not a huge one…. The “beware of dogs” sign on the chain is nice, though.

Normally, these “Walk With Me” posts go on and on about the houses, but truth be told, the housing stock is not a highlight of the Yankee Farm area. (One exception is in the second photo below, but then it has those mismatched garage doors.) There are a lot of “notice of development” signs around the neighborhood, so things are clearly in flux, and I suspect that if one has the patience, this is still a good area to buy in.

I mean, the view down Yankee Farm Road is just golden. Note the stone paving on the right—someone was feeling ambitious and/or mighty bored.

As it stands now, you’d have some quirky neighbors. The property in the first photo below appears to be an aquaculture endeavor, with a few dozen tubs growing various types of plants in burbling water. And the sign in the second photo is creepily aggressive.

I did think this house on Braemar Ranch Lane had style, thanks in great part to the gate. And the property at the northern end of the street benefits from a grove of palms—and/or maybe they’re there to spite the neighbors up the hill.

Another magnificent downhill view.

Heading into the homestretch, a hedge on Braemar Drive is trimmed into the shape of a giant banquette.

And the best for last: Calle Las Caleras is gorgeous no matter which direction you’re going.

Walk With Me…
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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