Montecito in California

January 15th, 2018 | Destination: | Rubric: General |

View over Montecito © Grandhiking/cc-by-sa-3.0

View over Montecito © Grandhiking/cc-by-sa-3.0

Montecito is an census-designated place in Santa Barbara County in California. It is the wealthiest community in the county. Montecito has a population of 10,000. Montecito is located near Santa Monica, south of the Santa Ynez Mountains. A number of celebrities own homes and reside there, including Drew Barrymore, Jeff Bridges, Ellen DeGeneres, Rob Lowe, Oprah Winfrey, Malcolm McDowell, Al Gore, Megyn Price, Eric Schmidt, Jane Seymour and Patrick Stewart. Montecito has 3,010 single-family dwellings.

According to the Montecito Community Plan, Montecito is bounded on the north by East Camino Cielo Road; on the east by Ortega Ridge Road and Ladera Lane (with Summerland on the east side of Ortega Hill Road); on the South by the Pacific Ocean, and to the west by Olive Mill Road. Montecito does not include areas such as Coast Village Road, which while usually considered part of Montecito, are actually within the city limits of Santa Barbara, located directly to the west. Montecito occupies the eastern portion of the coastal plain south of the Santa Ynez Mountains. Parts of the town are built on the lower foothills of the range. Notable roads spanning Montecito include East Valley Road, Mountain Drive, and Sycamore Canyon Road, all of which form part of State Route 192. In addition, the U.S. 101 Freeway runs along the south end of town, connecting it with other cities in Santa Barbara County and the rest of Southern California.

Vedanta Temple © - Niranjan Arminius/cc-by-sa-2.0 View over Montecito © Grandhiking/cc-by-sa-3.0 Ganna Walska Lotusland © Water Garden - open_air landscape design museum and botanical gardens © - Rod Waddington/cc-by-sa-2.0
Ganna Walska Lotusland © Water Garden - open_air landscape design museum and botanical gardens © - Rod Waddington/cc-by-sa-2.0
The site of present-day Montecito, along with the entire south coast of Santa Barbara County, was inhabited for over 10,000 years by the Chumash Indians. The Spanish arrived in the 18th century, but left the region largely unsettled while they built the Presidio and Mission Santa Barbara farther west. In the middle of the 19th century the area was known as a haven for bandits and highway robbers, who hid in the oak groves and canyons, preying on traffic on the coastal route between the towns that developed around the missions. By the end of the 1860s the bandit gangs were gone, and Italian settlers arrived. Finding an area reminiscent of Italy, they built farms and gardens similar to those they had left behind in Italy. Around the end of the 19th century, wealthy tourists from the eastern and midwestern United States began to buy land in the area. It was near enough to Santa Barbara for essential services while still being secluded. Desirable weather and several nearby hot springs offered the promise of comfortable, healthy living, in addition to the availability of affordable land.

The Montecito Hot Springs Hotel was built near the largest of the springs, in a canyon north of the town center and directly south of Montecito Peak, in Hot Springs Canyon. The hotel burned down in 1920; it was replaced a few years later by the smaller Hot Springs Club. The architect George Washington Smith is noted particularly for his residences around Montecito, and for popularizing the Spanish Colonial Revival style in early 20th century America, as is Lutah Maria Riggs, who started as a draftsman in Smith’s firm, rose to partner, and later started her firm.

Read more on – Montecito, Wikivoyage Montecito and Wikipedia Montecito. Photos by Wikimedia Commons.

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