Montecito is a magical place. A place where beauty abounds in every direction. Exquisite beaches coupled with the rustic landscape and stunning mountain views are stiff competition for the jaw-dropping residential architecture and perfectly manicured grounds of countless stunning homes. Spanish and Mediterranean villas define this unique town and many are designed by famous architects such as George Washington Smith and Wallace Neff.
Shannon and I both have an intimate connection to Montecito and find it an extremely special place to spend time...for different reasons. For Shannon, Montecito is a luxurious respite. A place where she can stay at one of her favorite hotels, San Ysidro Ranch, with her husband and check out for a few days amongst the gorgeous oak trees. A place where she can enjoy cocktails on the patio at Plow & Angel and end the evening with a delicious meal at Stonehouse. Indulge in some retail therapy at Angel or Jenni Kayne for chic women's clothing, and Upstairs at Pierre LaFond or House of Honey for gorgeous home goods. With a perfect climate and a small, but strong, collection of fantastic dining and shopping locales, Montecito is the perfect long-weekend getaway.
For me, Montecito means family. My mom moved there shortly after I was married and although we miss seeing her more often, we could not feel more blessed to list Montecito as a place where we get to spend time with our family and enjoy the surrounding splendor. Between siblings, cousins, nieces and nephews, my mom usually hosts 14-20 of us for any given Holiday making for crazy, but fantastic family time.
Our trips are usually comprised of a combination of the following activities: wake up, eat fresh eggs collected from my mom's chickens, walk to Pierre Lafond and get a juice or a coffee, swim all day with the children, drink Coronas, make delicious appetizer platters, put the children to bed, make a huge family-style meal, drink wine, play Heads-Up or Liar's Dice, go to bed. Repeat.
The only changing activity in the above-list is the "dining out" activity. We usually pick a night or two to go out and we typically go to the Biltmore and get a cocktail before heading to Lucky's for a delicious piece of meat and an equally delicious piece of Montecito night-life. Lucky's atmosphere is always the same, yet always interesting...if you know what I mean. Other top spots are Tres Lune, and newcomer the Honor Bar.
Whether sneaking away with your loved one for a romantic getaway, or gathering all of your family belongings in your SUV to head down with your family, Montecito offers an extremely rare combination. It is cool and casual, as you might expect from a beach town yet has a sophisticated food, wine and retail scene. Shannon and I often talk about our aspirations to retire in this chic enclave...if only we can figure out a way to get there sooner.