Emily McBride Kellenberger | Neighborhood | Montecito

Ranked by Forbes Magazine as one of the wealthiest communities in the United States, it is no wonder that Montecito, California serves as home to many celebrities such as Oprah Winfrey, Drew Barrimore, Ellen DeGeneres and Ty Warner. Much like many other areas of Santa Barbara County, residents of Montecito enjoy a cool Mediterranean climate with ample sunshine. The area is in close proximity to two public schools, three golf courses, two private tennis clubs, a YMCA, and several of my favorite beaches, hiking trails, and restaurants. Located within ten miles of State Street, and just a few minutes from downtown Santa Barbara, residents of Montecito enjoy the luxury of southern California without the hassle of many tourists, crowds, and traffic. Quite a bit of Montecito is hidden behind gates and stone walls, and it takes time or a great guide for the area to unfold and show its secrets to newcomers.

Montecito has two main commercial centers, the Upper Village and Coast Village Road, also called the Lower Village. Located within Upper Village are a variety of grocery stores, gas stations, jewelry stores, hair salons, real estate and brokerage firms, coffee shops, restaurants, and other offices and boutiques. Coast Village Road serves as home to numerous restaurants, banks, boutique shops, art galleries, hotels, jewelry stores, and many other commercial spaces, including our Village Properties office! Often compared to Rodeo Drive of Beverly Hills, Coast Village Road is a frequent spot for Montecito citizens.

Some of California’s best public and private schools are located in Montecito. Two top ranked public elementary schools, Montecito Union and Cold Springs, as well as five private schools are within the area. Montecito also serves as home to Westmont College, a 1,200-student liberal arts college, and Pacifica University, and is situated just minutes from UC Santa Barbara, a top ranked University of California and my alma mater.
Aside from the exceptional education system, Montecito serves as home to a number of unique hiking trails, beaches, and architecture. Montecito residents are in close proximity to hiking spots such as Cold Springs, Romero Canyon, and many more trails. I enjoy walking, beach-going, and surfing the nearby beaches, such as Butterfly, Hammonds, Miramar, and Padaro. Montecito residents also enjoy the luxury of historical estates and architecture. Many famous architects such as Bertram Goodhue, Reginald Johnson, and George Washington Smith produced pieces that still stand in Montecito today.

If you’re looking for a great breakfast place in Montecito, I often ride my bike to Tre Lune, a delicious Italian restaurant on Coast Village Road. Via Vai is another Italian restaurant renowned for their delicious pizza and classic Italian fare. Coast Village Road serves as home to Sakana, one of my favorite Montecito sushi restaurants, and the Biltmore and San Ysidro Ranch are also nearby with their great dining.

Many monumental events have taken place in Montecito over the course of history. Chumash Indians inhibited Montecito for over 10,000 years leading up to the 18th century, until the Spanish came and constructed the Presidio and Mission Santa Barbara. Montecito is a premier place to live, and the average price of homes in Montecito ranges from $1 million to $50 million dollars.


*Painting by Chris Potter*