Known as an enclave of the wealthy and the famous, Montecito actually has the feel of a protective and peaceful oasis or an extended parkland. From its beautiful curving beaches lined with Monterey cypress, palms and eucalyptus to the high desert foothill properties studded with boulders, agave and sagebrush, Montecito is a showcase of Nature’s beauty. Butterfly Beach, named for the migrating Monarchs that visit each year, is furthered beautified by the lawn and gardens of the Four Seasons Biltmore Hotel and it’s elegant glass-enclosed beach club, the Coral Casino.
A little inland, most of the properties are graced with large, old growth trees and many exotic plants and shrubs originally brought to this area from Asia and Australia by whaling captains in the19th Century. Lotusland is a very special botanical garden with an unusual collection of cactus and succulents that is accessible through reserved tours.
Two tasteful shopping avenues stretch like strands of Christmas lights across the main wooded expanse of Montecito, creating two “centers”, fondly referred to as the Upper and Lower Villages. Both have an abundance of gourmet restaurants, fine boutiques and coffee shops as well as office spaces, and in the Upper Village there is also a post office, hardware, library, pharmacy and church.
East Valley Road further divides this area north to south, lined by tall trees and large gated estates and ending in the rural ranch area of Toro Canyon. Pacifica Graduate Institute has its campus here at the edge of Carpinteria, frequently sponsoring public seminars with well-known academics.
Montecito is also home to a tennis club and three golf clubs within minutes of each other: Montecito Country Club, Valley Club and Birnam Wood. Thanks to many generous donors, numerous public parks, riding and hiking trails are woven through the landscape and even a rustic hot springs area is accessible on foot.
Both the public and private schools in this area have excellent ratings and include: Public – Cold Springs Elementary School and Montecito Union Elementary School. Private: Our Lady of Mt. Carmel School; Crane School; Howard School; All Saints by the Sea Nursery.
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