This month, we’ve decided to share one of our own Village Properties’ Agent’s top picks with you for a three-day fall weekend, Santa Barbara-style. This is a fantastic bit of information to share along with your out-of-town friends. Enjoy!
Are you ready for a fall getaway before the hectic pace of the holidays sets in? Santa Barbara is the perfect spot. Although we have comfortable temperatures year-round, autumn offers more fog-free days, less crowded streets, and that great sweater-weather feel in the evenings.
Even with social distancing guidelines, there is so much to see and do in Santa Barbara. Our three-day weekend plan begins with a Thursday night arrival. That way, you are set up to get the most out of your time in our “American Riviera.”
Check in to the elegant Hotel Californian, which is located right in the heart of Santa Barbara’s Funk Zone. The eclectic district includes cafes, galleries, boutiques, and tasting rooms that reflect the Santa Barbara lifestyle. You’ll see bold graffiti murals and contemporary art pieces and watch surfboard shapers at work on their craft. You can also participate in the Urban Wine Trail, a self-guided tour of more than 20 tasting rooms representing Santa Barbara’s wine country, which winds through the Funk Zone. In order to increase safe social distancing during COVID, the city of Santa Barbara has closed some of the streets and parking lots in and around the Funk Zone to traffic.
After working up an appetite during your walk, it’s time for dinner at Arigato Sushi, Santa Barbara’s premier sushi restaurant. Be sure to try both their traditional and unusual sushi options. You’ll soon understand why this is one of the more popular dining spots in town — and it’s just a short walk back to your hotel after your meal.
Day One – Friday
After a relaxing sleep, give room service a call for some juice and coffee. Then take a refreshing dip in the hotel’s rooftop pool and enjoy stunning views of the ocean as you dry off on the deck.
Now that you are fully re-energized, it’s time to get the up-close-and-personal look at Santa Barbara that only a bike ride can provide. Jump on your complimentary bikes from Hotel Californian (subject to availability) and head north up State Street. Your first stop should be Renaud’s Bakery and Bistro. I recommend their deconstructed croissant sandwich, which includes scrambled eggs, ham, and cheese. Make sure to request that your croissant be warmed up and ask for a side of butter and jam. I know you’ll agree with me that Renaud’s croissants are even better than those in Paris. I’m not kidding!
Now you can work off those delicious calories with a quick bike ride to the nearby Diani Boutique to choose a gift for the in-laws and a swanky new outfit to wear for dinner tonight. Owner Caroline Diani, who was born in Kenya and grew up in England, fills her warm and welcoming shop with unique clothing, accessories, and treasures for the home.
Okay, enough shopping; it’s time to head to the beach! Pedal your bike to the Santa Barbara Sailing Center, located at the east end of Harbor Way. Stand-up paddleboard rentals there are only $18 an hour. You can launch directly from the center’s dock to explore the Harbor, Stearns Wharf, and West Beach. Did you bring a waterproof bag for your phone, or are you feeling lucky? Either way, you’ll get some great photo ops. You may even see some of my favorite harbor residents — the seals and sea lions!
After you get back your land legs, head over to Brophy Bros for a beer and a bowl of clams on the patio, where you can enjoy an impressive view of the harbor. After lunch, take a stroll along the waterfront to browse the shops for souvenirs or watch the boats drifting in and out of the Channel. You might want to check out the Santa Barbara Maritime Museum(open with limited hours during COVID), which offers fun, hands-on exhibits on nautical history.
Next, you’ll bike back toward the hotel. If all that biking and walking has made you hungry, you can grab an authentic Argentinian empanada at Buena Onda. Be sure to ask for the chimichurri sauce!
Now, it’s time to return those bikes and take a much-needed nap at the hotel. You need to be rested and ready for your dinner reservations at Loquita!
After your power nap, put on those new Diani outfits and head downstairs to the Margerum Tasting Room for an incredible flight of rosé and whites. Then steady yourself for the short walk to the fabulous Loquita restaurant, which offers the finest Spanish cuisine in Santa Barbara. I’d say that the best dish in town is Loquita’s carpaccio and tomato bread. My other favorites from the menu include the pulpo, coliflor, el bulli olive, and Manchego, but you absolutely must not leave Loquita without trying their Basque cheesecake and churros. Yum!
To walk off your incredible meal, take a stroll back up State Street to The Good Lion for a nightcap. Then it’s back to the hotel for some shut-eye; you’ll have another busy day tomorrow.
Day Two – Saturday
It’s Instagram Day!!
Pro tip! If COVID restrictions are not still in place, you have to try a Goat Yoga class on the Court of Califia at Hotel Californian. The 50-minute class — usually held every third Saturday morning — is designed for all skill levels, and all you need is a mat and a joyful attitude. The baby goats will do the rest! You’ll rule your Instagram feed if this fun class is on — trust me!
Whether you’ve had the fun and relaxation of Goat Yoga or not, you’ll get your Saturday off to a picture-perfect start with a walk up State Street to Jeannine’s Restaurant & Bakery. I love their Classic Benedict, which includes two poached eggs, Canadian bacon, and house-made Hollandaise sauce on an English muffin along with a side of fresh fruit or potatoes.
Now that you’re properly fortified, your next stop on the SB IG tour is the rainbow art installation at East Beach’s Cabrillo Park. Designed by artist and architect Herbert Bayer, the Chromatic Gate is a giant multi-colored arch. You’ll get some fantastic rainbow pics if you watch for clouds passing over the mountains to the east of the Chromatic Gate. And you’ll be able to say you’ve walked through a rainbow. No lie.
Speaking of art, Santa Barbara is an established art mecca. Even though our wine and cuisines have taken center stage in recent years, be sure to take advantage of your time here to visit the many galleries, sculptures, and installations throughout the city. The Santa Barbara Museum of Art, which is open for limited hours during COVID, houses more than 27,000 pieces, a collection of size and quality usually found in much larger cities.
Your next IG stop is McConnell’s for one of their legendary ice cream cones. Why not try their pumpkin pie flavor? ‘Tis the season!
Next, head over to pose on the Spanish steps next to Eureka Burgers. Each step features different vibrant Spanish tiles. Not far away is the Santa Barbara County Courthouse, which has to be one of the most beautiful public buildings in the U.S. You’ll love taking pics that show off the building’s red-tile roof, white-washed exterior, and lush garden. And the best part? The clock tower offers an incredible 360-degree view of the ocean. If pandemic restrictions permit, a visit to the tower is free and open to the public.
Time’s a-wasting! Now you’re off to Bristol Farms, the gourmet grocery store chain, to pick up a picnic lunch of delicious cheeses, cold cuts, and a fresh baguette. (If you’d rather someone else do the shopping for you, you can call Santa Barbara Picnic Co., and they’ll take care of you.)
A picture-perfect spot for a picnic is the Mission Park Rose Garden. Adjacent to the Santa Barbara Mission, the garden has over 1,500 rose plants that bloom April through November and a large grassy area that’s a popular picnic spot. Even if you visit when the roses have been pruned, you’ll still enjoy the view of the beautiful Mission, which is called the “Queen” of California’s 21 historic mission buildings.
Your next stop is Stearns Wharf for strolling, browsing, people watching, and breathtaking views of Santa Barbara’s coastline. Take a break at Deep Sea Wine tasting room for some phenomenal wine and IG pics. Just a block away from the Wharf is Wheel Fun Rentals, where you can rent a surrey bike. Your friends will be so jealous when they see all the great pics you take along our famous coastal bike path.
Whew! It’s time to head back to the hotel for a nap! Then, to work up an appetite for dinner tonight, you can get your sweat on with an invigorating yoga class at Power of Your Om.
For dinner, head to the Santa Barbara Public Market for Sal de Mar at Corazon Concina or Thai coconut curry at Empty Bowl Gourmet Noodle Bar — or maybe both? During COVID, the market expanded its outdoor seating options, so you can watch the sunset as you finish your meal before heading back to the hotel for a good night’s sleep. (Be sure to take one more IG pic of that gorgeous hotel room before lights out!)
Day Three – Sunday
You’ve been on the go all week, so request late checkout for this morning and, whenever you’re ready, order room service or stop at Jack’s Bagels on Milpas for a fresh bagel and a cup of coffee.
Santa Barbara offers some fantastic hiking opportunities. So, put on your hiking shoes and grab some water for a morning trek up to Inspiration Point or Tangerine Falls. The Inspiration Point hike is a moderate 3.5-mile round trip with an elevation gain of about 800 feet. The views are incredible at the top (hence the name), but be on the watch for fast mountain bikers! Tangerine Falls is also a 3.5-mile round trip. The trail includes some slippery rock-hopping, but if you’re not the faint-of-heart type, the views of the falls are well worth it.
After your hike, you’ll enjoy the luxury of a massage or spa treatment at Salt Caves, an incredible underground crystal salt cave that radiates a sense of calm and wellness. If COVID restrictions are in place, not to worry, Little Rainbow Foot Spa, on the corner of Haley and State Streets, is offering a selection of relaxing outdoor treatments that meet health guidelines.
Now that you’re all stress-free, it’s time to go back to your hotel to check out and head back home. But we know you’ll be back for more. Until next time!
Nick Churton of our London office has some thoughts for home buyers and sellers who wish they could see into the future. Don’t you wish that just once you could have a sure-fire tip about the perfect time to buy and/or sell an investment?
If only you or your parents had known to invest in a small Californian computer start up company called Apple in 1976. A $1000 investment then would be worth north of $30 billion today.
Finding these tips and then acting on them is the stuff of legends. But it is still possible to do the right thing at the right time by listening to the right people.
For example, a good real estate agent with great local knowledge knows exactly what is happening in the property market. So, if you are thinking of buying or selling your home, a good first move would be to receive the best local advice.
On both sides of the Atlantic, the real estate market is an exhilarating place to be right now. Many of us haven’t seen as buoyant or active a market like this since before the great recession in 2007/8. Properly priced homes are flying off the shelves. But we wouldn’t be doing our job if we didn’t point out that the real estate market is cyclical, and that sometime after this current scramble to buy and sell is over, the market will eventually settle – it always does. It cannot remain on afterburners forever.
In many markets, this is as near perfect a time to buy and/or sell a home as you are likely to find, and those key moments like this only come round every decade or so.
You’ll be pleased to know that we don’t charge for insightful property advice, and while we might not be able to turn £1000 into $30 billion for you, we can help you make the most of what is probably your most financially valuable asset.
So, go on, make a legendary move today.
By Jackie Walters, Village Properties
As one might imagine, with the unfolding impacts of Covid-19, real estate sales activity for the Santa Barbara South Coast for the first two quarters of 2020 has seen some dramatic shifts.
The Village Properties family is here to support our community during these unprecedented and challenging times. Our hearts go out to local families and businesses directly impacted by the pandemic. For those who wish to buy or sell real estate, our members are ready to help under safe and carefully crafted protocols in order to best protect all involved in the real estate sales process.
The year began with strong sales activity fueled by a strong economy and ongoing low-interest rates. When the country, and our local community, began to grapple with the ramifications of dealing with the virus, sales activity went from bewilderment and paralysis in March and April to, astonishingly, a robust sellers’ market by May and June. Pending sales for homes and PUDs for the month of June 2020 were up to three times the number for April 2020; 149 versus 50. By comparison, we saw 103 pending sales for the month of June 2019, showing a significant jump in demand year-over-year.
As you can see, the local real estate market is one sector of our local economy where a “V-shaped” recovery has taken hold. Since the Stay at Home Order was eased, we have seen a surge in out-of-town buyers coming to the Santa Barbara area seeking a smaller community environment for their families. There has been increased appeal for compound-type properties and “extended-family” floor plans. Privacy, space, and rural settings are also in high demand.
Looking closely at the data, you will see how this roller-coaster of a market has now settled in at a somewhat astonishing pace. The chart gives a breakdown of activity per neighborhood as well as the year-to-date median price and months of inventory. The current low month of inventory numbers will almost certainly result in a higher median price as the year unfolds.
For houses and PUDs market-wide, all communities from Carpinteria to Goleta, the median sales price is flat from one year ago; $1,288,500 as of the end of June versus $1,290,00 one year ago. Look for that number to creep up as the year unfolds. The big winner in the median price category is Montecito. As of the end of June, Montecito’s median price was $3,250,000, up 14% from one year ago. What we are calling the “Montecito surge” is a result of a large number of higher-end Los Angeles and Bay Area buyers deciding to not delay their dream of a home here. There have been many cases of buyers coming to town, viewing a handful of homes, picking one, and closing with cash in less than 30 days. Their strong preference is for turn-key homes, to allow for their move to happen sooner rather than later.
The median price for the city of Santa Barbara, at $1,236,000, is actually down very slightly from one year ago, but we do expect that number to move upward as the months unfold. Going back many years, the Goleta market has been “the canary in the coal mine” for South Coast market trends. (That market was the first to signal distress and foreclosures coming out of the 2008 financial crisis.) The Goleta median price at the end of June at $1,055,000 is up 7% from a year ago, indicating market strength in a mostly entry-level housing community, which in turn, will impact the higher price ranges across the South Coast. The smaller communities of Carpinteria and Summerland show a decrease in their median price and higher-end Hope Ranch is showing a slight increase.
The months of inventory statistic provides an excellent snapshot of current buyer confidence and today’s pulse of the market. It compares the number of pending sales to the available inventory, whereas sold data will reflect market activity from up to two months previously. To define this statistic further, months of inventory represents the absorption of the available properties. A lower number shows properties are selling as fast or faster than new listings coming on the market.
Looking at the chart, you will see today’s strong activity is clearly reflected. Again, across our market, the winner is Montecito, for the most dramatic change in that statistic, year-over-year. At the end of June this year, Montecito had only 3.1 months of inventory, as compared to 8.9 a year ago. I personally do not recall, going back many years, that low of a month of inventory number for Montecito. To illustrate further, at Montecito’s three months of inventory, there are approximately three sellers for every one buyer, (this, of course, will vary according to price range) — as compared to a year ago were on average, each seller was competing with eight other sellers for that one buyer.
Months of inventory for Santa Barbara and Goleta are 1.5 and 1.0 respectively. This is a solid sellers’ market territory. Priced at market value, a seller can expect their home to sell within the first four to six weeks. Along with this swift market, a buyer will often be facing multiple offer situations, which is never a fun place to be. Consult your Realtor for strategies in having your offer stand out from the rest under those circumstances.
Current days on market, for the entire market is 65. This number varies greatly, depending, of course, on location and price range. For properties priced at under $1 million, days on market is well under one month. As far as list price to sales price percentage, again, heavily determined by location and price, this currently stands at 95%, this is the list price at the time of sale, after any price reductions.
The condo market, providing a starting point for many first time home buyers, is also showing solid strength. The median price is up 4.3% from one year ago.
We are in uncertain times. Owning your own home, or buying an investment property, can be one of the safest long term investments and is most often the largest part of someone’s overall net worth. Take advantage of today’s historically low-interest rates and ask your Realtor to help you discover opportunities in the market for you. Most importantly, stay safe and healthy.
Right now might be the most difficult time of all to practice self-care. But despite the current state of the world, it’s important that we still take time for ourselves. Many of us are feeling down and super stressed, among other overwhelming feelings. When the weight of the world starts to feel like too much, it’s good for your mental health to take it slow and focus on recharging your battery if you can. Here are some of our helpful tips to help you practice self-care during this troubling time.
Don’t Forget to Rest
Many of us are running on empty right now, and that’s perfectly understandable. But continuous lack of sleep is a recipe for disaster. When you get proper rest, it helps your body stay healthy and keeps your immune system up, which is obviously of great importance during this time. If you are having trouble sleeping at night, try taking a nap during the daytime if you can manage it. Additionally, avoid drinking too much caffeine, which can make it harder to get a good night’s sleep.
Release Your Thoughts
If you are feeling overwhelmed by anxiety and stress, don’t be afraid to reach out to those closest to you to talk about it. Everyone is feeling the stress of this pandemic in some way; you are not alone. But the way you deal with the stress can certainly take a toll on your well-being. Call up a friend or family member and just have a chat. Or, if you like to write, journal about what you are feeling/experiencing right now. Isolation is a trigger for anxiety. You may not realize just how cathartic it can be to purge your thoughts. Remember, purging your mind of troublesome thoughts helps to alleviate some of your worry.
Get Your Body and Mind Moving
Exerting energy or exercising your mind helps to get your mind off of stress and worry, at least for the time being. There are several online exercise programs you can try out, as well as virtual tours you can take of museums and zoos. Pretend you are somewhere else for a moment and try to ease your mind from feeling “stuck” in one place (your house). And, if you can manage, try to eat healthily and don’t overindulge in alcohol, bearing in mind that alcohol is actually a depressant. Rely on using your body and your mind as methods for releasing stress during these hard times. Your body will thank you for it, too.
Have a Spa Day at Home
Obviously, many of us might look like we are in shambles right now, but there’s no reason why you don’t deserve a little pampering. This is a fun way to bond and play with your kids. Take turns giving each other pedicures or styling each other’s hair. It might not turn out like a masterpiece, but don’t worry because you won’t be walking the red carpet in your kid-approved style.
Make a Routine for Yourself
Routines help to keep many of us sane. Although all of our routines have been extremely disrupted, try to make one for yourself that adapts to your new lifestyle and stick with it. It’s important to still be spontaneous if you are feeling stuck or in a rut, and going for a drive or a walk might help if you start feeling stir crazy.
Soak up Some Sun
A little vitamin D never hurt anyone. Hang out in your backyard and read a magazine or do some yoga outside while you breathe some fresh air. Spending time outdoors will prevent you from feeling cooped up and can help you to connect with nature and the world around you. Plus, you’ll feel the positive energy from the warm sun perk up your mood in the process.
Taken from montecitocashmob.com.
It takes a Village to Save a Village
In response to the economic crisis related to the Covid-19 pandemic, Montecito Journal, with help from the 93108Fund, the Coast Village Association, and the Montecito Association, present Montecito’s May Day Virtual Cash Mob on Friday, May 1st, through Sunday, May 3rd.
Help bring economic relief to your favorite restaurant, boutique, gallery, and shop along Coast Village Road and the Upper Village of Montecito. By purchasing a gift card from these local merchants, we can help ensure that our local businesses stay in business until their doors can reopen and serve the community.
The celebratory spending weekend will culminate with a Montecito Community “Zoom Happy Hour” at 7 pm on Sunday, May 3rd. When you spend $500 or more, your name will be entered into a raffle to be eligible to win prizes from your favorite local merchants. Expect to see some local celebrities at the virtual happy hour, stepping up to help breathe energy into our local economy. Winners must be present on the call to win.
Money received for May Day Cash Mob cards is given to business owners, who will, in turn, contact you directly and issue your gift cards.
What is the 93108Fund?
The 93108Fund.org is a 501c3 giving cash grants to hourly wage earners in Montecito who lost their jobs because of the COVID-19 closures. All donations are tax-deductible and 100% of the funds raised go directly to hourly wage earners. CLICK HERE to Donate.
The 93108Fund is a non-profit started in 2018 after the debris flow to get much-needed cash into the hands of desperate hourly workers or workers who have lost their jobs.
“We are trying to make the process as speedy and efficient as possible,” said Montecito resident Ron Blitzer, who started the 93108Fund after the debris flow in January 2018, and re-started it late last month after the COVID-19 stay at home orders closed many businesses in the Upper and Lower Villages of Montecito. Blitzer noted that the online application is very simple and that the first round of cash payments were in the hands of workers within 4 days of the project starting. “It’s critical that we get money into these workers hands fast,” he said. “But to do that, we need to raise more money as soon as possible.”
How Montecito’s May Day Virtual Cash Mob works
Click here and choose a merchant of your choice. Your gift card monies will be sent to the vendor and they will contact you directly with a gift card from their establishment.
You can also donate directly to the 93108 fund here.
See you on May 3rd and when we are back frequenting Coast Village Road and the rest of Montecito!
We are proud to be affiliated with Luxury Portfolio, the largest global network of the most powerful independent luxury firms, and stand strong with our member companies around the country. We’re still here. Working together. Stronger than ever.
With stay-at-home orders in place, many of us have lots of extra time on our hands. When cleaning out your closets or going for a long walk doesn’t sound tempting, there are other ways you can pass the time. And if you love learning about history, art, and seeing animals in action, then virtual tours might be an exciting option to help you pass the time in a fun way. Best of all, you can learn something new while you’re doing it, too.
From zoos and museums to theme parks, you can take an interactive virtual tour of many places from the comfort and safety of your own home. If you’ve got kiddos at home who you’re trying to keep entertained, doing a virtual tour of any of the suggested places below can help to pass the time in a way that’s also good for their minds.
Here are some of our top suggestions for virtual tours:
History, Culture, and Arts
The Louvre – Paris, France
Want to see the Mona Lisa without traveling to France to do it? Now you can with this exciting tour of three famous exhibits in the museum, which also includes ancient Egyptian artifacts.
Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History – Washington, D.C.
If you’d love to tour this incredible museum in the nation’s capital, now you can see every exhibit courtesy of this 360-degree virtual tour. Don’t forget to see the dinosaurs, too, when you do it.
The J. Paul Getty Museum – Los Angeles, CA
Want to take a closer look at the Middle Ages and the Renaissance? You can do so by taking part in a virtual tour of the Getty Museum. This premier gallery in L.A. offers two virtual tours of its facility.
The Vatican – Vatican City, Italy
Most of us haven’t had the opportunity to see this pristine ancient religious city in Rome, Italy. But with the virtual tour, you now have the opportunity to view its stunningly preserved architecture. Check out the Sistine Chapel, St. Peter’s Basilica, and Raphael’s Room with this beautiful virtual tour.
Georgia O’Keeffe Museum – Santa Fe, NM
Want to explore the “the wideness and wonder of the world as I live in it?” You can, through Georgia’s eyes, with this museum, which is filled entirely with the late artist’s work. Check out her legendary artwork through six virtual exhibits.
Each of the NASA centers across the United States offer a unique experience for users at home to partake in. The Houston Space Center offers you a chance to virtually experience Apollo 13, or feel like you’re on the moon when you do a virtual tour of the Langley Research Center.
High Museum of Art – Atlanta, GA
Experience culture and history at this gem in the southeastern United States. The museum’s virtual tours allow you to see and feel the unforgettable history of the civil rights movement with many powerful photographs proudly displayed.
The Metropolitan Museum of Art – New York, NY
Home to the famous Met Gala each year, you now have a chance to view one of the world’s most famous art museums straight from your home. You might need a few days to view this extensive 26-exhibit gallery.
British Museum – London, England
Want to experience the history of the human world? Now you can at this famous museum located in London. Take part in one—or all—of the five prestigious exhibits to fully immerse yourself in centuries of cultures from around the world.
Museum of Modern Art – Manhattan, NY
Fuel your mind with endless creativity by taking a virtual tour of the most extensive collection of modern art in the entire country.
Museum of Fine Arts – Boston, MA
This grand museum is home to 450,000 famous works of art, and is one of the best museums in the country. View its comprehensive collections through the several virtual tours offered for those wanting to experience the artwork online.
For Animal Lovers
Cincinnati Zoo & Botanical Garden
Want to have a daily safari right in your living room? Take part in this zoo’s daily Home Safari series at 3PM EST on its Facebook Live feed to give at-home guests a chance to experience the zoo like never before.
Want to see pandas anytime? If you need a cute pick-me-up during these hard times, tune into the zoo’s live stream “PandaCam” for a chance to see one of several giant pandas in action.
Monterey Bay Aquarium
Want to feel like every week is Shark Week? Now you can with Monterey Bay Aquarium’s live underwater cams!
National Park Services – Channel Islands, CA
If you’re a lover of bald eagles, then these live cam feeds from the Channel Islands courtesy of the National Park Services are perfect for you. Check out the many breathtaking eagles in action right from the comfort of your living room.
If you simply love animals and can’t get enough of these live cam feeds, check out this list, which features a roundup of some of the best ones available to you online. It’s a great way to enjoy science while practicing social distancing!