Living The Dream In Santa Barbara, CA
Santa Barbara is the county seat of Santa Barbara County, California, United States. Situated on an east-west trending section of coastline, the longest such section on the West Coast of the United States, the city lies between the steeply-rising Santa Ynez Mountains and the Pacific Ocean. Santa Barbara’s climate is often described as Mediterranean, and the city is known as the “American Riviera.”
Evidence of human habitation of the area begins at least 13,000 years ago. Evidence for a Paleoindian presence includes a fluted Clovis-like point found in the 1980s along the western Santa Barbara County coast, as well as the remains of Arlington Springs Man, found on Santa Rosa Island in the 1960s. Approximately 8,000 to 10,000 Chumash lived on the south coast of Santa Barbara County when Portuguese explorer João Cabrilho sailed through the Santa Barbara Channel in 1542, anchoring briefly in the area. In 1602 Sebastian Vizcaino gave the name “Santa Barbara” to the region in gratitude for having survived a violent storm in the Channel on December 3, the eve of the feast day of that saint.
Today, Santa Barbara is a popular tourist and resort destination. The city economy has a large service sector, education, technology, health care, finance, agriculture, manufacturing, and local government. In 2004, the service sector accounted for fully 35% of local employment. Education in particular is well represented, with five institutions of higher learning on the south coast (the University of California, Santa Barbara, Santa Barbara City College, Westmont College, Antioch University, and the Brooks Institute of Photography). The Santa Barbara Airport serves the city, as does Amtrak. U.S. Highway 101 connects the Santa Barbara area with Los Angeles to the south and San Francisco to the north. Behind the city, in and beyond the Santa Ynez Mountains, is the Los Padres National Forest, which contains several remote wilderness areas.
There are several distinct areas you’ll need to know about when shopping for a Santa Barbara home; Upper Eastside, The Riviera, Mission Canyon, San Roque, Samarkand, The Mesa, and The Westside. Below you’ll find a helpful summary of each area.
Upper Eastside Santa Barbara Homes For Sale
Prices range from $850,000 to $5.5 million
City planners regard Eastside as perhaps the most important factor in Santa Barbara’s growth. More undeveloped space and a higher percentage of older one-family homes exist in the Eastside than in other city neighborhoods. The upper Eastside has been identified as a bailiwick of the wealthy elite since 1895. Santa Barbara’s famous community playhouse, the Lobero Theater, located in Upper East, was built in 1924 and known as the cultural center years ahead of Los Angeles and San Diego.
Riviera Santa Barbara Homes For Sale
Prices range from $925,000 to $5 million
Bridging the 2 mile span that separates Mission and Sycamore Canyons, the sylvan uplift which padres knew as the “mission ridge” has for the past 65 years been known as “the Riviera” due to its resemblance to slopes along the Mediterranean coast of France and Italy. Santa Barbarans lucky enough to live on this ridge attach premium value to their homes because of their unsurpassed views of the city, mountains, sea, and islands. The Riviera is famous for its semitropical appearance. The flowing curves at the west end of Alameda Padre Serra today mark the old streetcar right of way, the curves being essential to provide a gradient which electric cars could negotiate. One of the older and more stabilized neighborhoods in the city, the Riviera also ranks as one of the wealthiest and best-educated. “We know how lucky we are not to have to go to Europe to enjoy the Riviera life-style,” one cosmopolite commented. “We’ve got a better Riviera right here in Santa Barbara.”
Mission Canyon Homes For Sale in Santa Barbara
Prices range from $750,000 to $4.5 million
Ethel Barrymore, the late empress of stage and screen, once told a friend, “Fortunate indeed is the person who can live in Santa Barbara, and doubly blessed if his home is located in Mission Canyon.” American newcomers, during the 1850’s were quick to appreciate the sylvan beauty of Mission Canyon, and they began to move in and build homes. Above them were a series of rocky cascades known as The Seven Falls. Homes in Mission Canyon range from the humble adobe, to magnificent mansions like Glendessary, on the shady lane of the same name. This sprawling halftimbered Tudor manor house was one of the fine homes built before the turn of the century by Christoph Tornoe, a gifted Danish artisan.
San Roque Homes For Sale, Santa Barbara, CA
Prices range from $700,000 to $2,500,000
Few residential neighborhoods of Santa Barbara can boast the rich historical background of the San Roque and Rutherford Park areas. The neighborhood got its name when the first white men arrived in 1769 with Governor Portola. They camped at the mouth of the San Roque Creek, which they named to memorialize the patron saint of invalids, saint Roque, a Carmelite friar of the 14th century. Now built-up, economically stabilized suburb, it is admired for its sweeping curved street, its luxuriant landscaping, and its harmonious blend of many architectural themes – Spanish Colonial, English Tudor, French Normandy, California Redwood, Italianate and American Colonial, mostly built since 1925. With shopping and banking facilitated at their very doorstep, residents of San Roque feel they are living in one of Santa Barbara’s choicest residential neighborhoods, where investing in home or business property guarantees future security.
Samarkand Homes For Sale In Santa Barbara, CA
Prices range from $650,000 to $1,750,000
Samarkand meant “the land of heart’s desire” in the archaic Persian tongue. As the dominating landmark of a hilly, elevated neighborhood, the Samarkand gave its name to an area bounded on the east by Oak Park. The Samarkand neighborhood could point with pride to one of America’s most beautiful and prestigious retirement centers, originally a hotel. The Samarkand District Improvement Association, one of the most active in the city, reported that Samarkand has one of the lowest population densities in Southern California.
Mesa Homes For Sale In Santa Barbara, CA
Prices range from $750,000 to $2.75 million
Mesa, a Spanish word meaning “table”, has been applied to the flat bench fronting the ocean along Santa Barbara’s southwestern border since mission days. The Mesa is one of the oldest historical areas in the city, paradoxically it is one of our youngest residential districts. Artists and writers have a special affinity for the Mesa as a carefree place to live. City weather records show that the Mesa’s winter temperatures are 10 to 12 degrees warmer than downtown, and 10 to 12 degrees cooler in the summer. This climatic attraction, plus the spectacular marine views, caused a housing boom after World War II. Binding the Mesa Improvement Association, dedicated to protecting the Mesa life-style as one of the most envied in the South Coast area.
Westside Homes For Sale In Santa Barbara, CA
Prices range from $550,000 to $950,000
The “Westside Story” of Santa Barbara is laid in our city’s first suburb. Cottage Hospital and its surroundings laboratories, rest homes, professional buildings, clinics and other medically-oriented satellites, has made it very convenient for the local residents. City Hall recognizes the Westside as the oldest established residential area in town: six out of ten houses were built prior to 1940. Santa Barbara’s Westside is one of the last frontiers for that great American traditional, one that is daily becoming scarce – the single family home.
Helpful facts about living in and around Santa Barbara, CA:
Location: Santa Barbara is located on the South Central Coast of California, facing the Pacific Ocean, some 90 miles northeast of Los Angeles and 330 miles south of San Francisco. The city lies in a moderate coastal valley, surrounded by green foothills and rolling surf. The elevation ranges from sea level to 850 feet within the city limits. The city occupies 23 square miles in the county, including the Channel Islands, of 2,774 square miles.
Access: Three airlines affiliated with major scheduled air carriers (American Eagle-American Airlines, United Express-United Airlines, and SkyWest-Delta Airlines) connect Santa Barbara with other cities where connections can be made to cities worldwide. Bus service is available with Greyhound Bus Lines that provide Santa Barbara with Daily arrivals and departures. There are also north and southbound trains that stop in Santa Barbara each day.
Climate: Temperatures for the Santa Barbara Area range from a low of 56 to a high of 82 during the summer months (April-September), and a low of 47 to a high of 66 in the winter months (October-March). The average annual rainfall is 18 inches, and the air quality is generally good.
History: The Santa Barbara area was discovered and claimed for Spain in 1542 by Juan Cabrillo, a Portuguese explorer sailing for Spain. In 1602 Sebastian Vizcaino anchored offshore on December 4-the feast day of Saint Barbara (patroness of mariners). The ship’s priest named both channel and mainland area Santa Barbara in her honor. In April 1782 Padre Juniper Serra established the Presidio Real of Santa Barbara in a grand ceremony, and four years later construction of Mission Santa Barbara began. It was the tenth of 21 Franciscan missions built in upper California. Soon Yankee traders, tourists and health seekers, followed by wealthy Easterners settled in Santa Barbara because of the mild winters. The mixture of newcomers and Spanish descendants has shaped the area for what it has become today.
Accommodations: Santa Barbara boasts over 90 motels and hotels, plus numerous bed and breakfast inns, all of which provide over 4,500 rooms from the modest to the mos6t luxurious for both business travelers and tourists.
Churches: Almost every faith and denomination is represented in the over 140 churches in the area.
Conferences: The mild weather, combined with the excellent accommodations and restaurants are reasons for the large number of conferences and conventions held in the Santa Barbara area (in 1990 over 700 conferences were held in the area).
Restaurants: There are some 400 restaurants, coffee shops, cafes, and snack bars, many with sidewalk cabaret tables, with menus that range from fast food, to exotic dishes, or to elegant dining.
Media: The Santa Barbara News-Press is locally owned and operated daily newspaper with circulation in excess of 50,000. There are seven AM, and nine FM radio stations, along with eleven television stations available with antenna or cable.
Economy: Santa Barbara’s employment force is mainly in service-related companies. The economy is based on electronics and space age research, light manufacturing, educational facilities, tourist and convention services. Additional contributors to the economic stability of the area are commercial fishing, agriculture, government and finance, commercially produced minerals such as petroleum, natural gas, sand and gravel, and wholesale and retail enterprises. The financial community consists of 11 banks with 36 offices, and 8 savings and loan associations with 17 offices. The two major shopping malls, the El Paseo Nuevo in downtown, and the La Cumbre Plaza at State Street and La Cumbre attract regional shoppers to their major department stores, specialty shops, and restaurants.
Culture: The Santa Barbara Museum of Art is one of five privately maintained museums. There are displays of works from many private collections, and the public library has a wing of paintings and related art. There are a number of private galleries with unique selections of works for sale. The Contemporary Arts Forum is located centrally in El Paseo Nuevo Mall. The Santa Barbara Symphony Orchestra provides entertainment throughout the year, and the Los Angeles Philharmonic Orchestra schedules a concert series here annually. There are local theater groups, as well as, groups from local educational institutions which perform the year round. In addition to the local productions, road companies of various Broadway productions schedule performances at out local facilities. The Santa Barbara Choral Society performs at may local functions at various times throughout the year.
Recreation: Recreation plays a very important part in the life of Santa Barbara, for resident and visitor alike. There are both private and public golf courses for all from the ‘weekend duffer’ to the scratch golfer. The 34 municipal parks, many with picnic equipment and children’s playgrounds, and some with facilities for volley ball, softball, swimming, lawn bowling, and tennis (some with lights for night play) are gathering places for locals and visitors alike. There is both salt water and fresh water fishing within a short distance of Santa Barbara. Some other recreational activities in the surrounding areas include hot air ballooning, bicycling, hang gliding, hiking, horseback riding, polo, roller-skating, scuba diving, off-highway vehicle driving, and whale watching.
Schools & Libraries: The Santa Barbara public schools rank among the best in the state. The public schools programs include elementary, middle/junior high, senior high, special education, and continuation curriculum. Santa Barbara is also the home of Santa Barbara City College, Westmont College, and the University of California, as well as Brooks Institute School of Photography and the Music Academy of the West. The public library system consists of six branches and a bookmobile. The system contains over 300,000 books, 6000 records, numerous subscriptions to periodicals, thousands of pamphlets, and over 4,000 videos.
Transportation: The Metropolitan Transit District provides bus service to and from various points in Santa Barbara daily. Fares are 75 cents for the general public and 30 cents for senior citizens (over 62). The District also has electric bus service on State Street from the beach to the central downtown area for 25 cents. Taxi service is also available for areas not serviced by regular bus routes.
Farmer’s Markets: Local vendors convene to sell flowers & produce in the traditional open-air setting of the historic California days. Usually, these markets are brimming with people, musicians and beautiful flowers. Carpinteria Thursday 3:00pm to 6:30pm (spring and summer) 3:00pm to 6:00pm (fall and winter) Goleta Thursday 3:00pm to 6:00pm Calle Real Center Sunday 10:00am to 2:00pm Camino Real Marketplace Montecito Friday 8:30am to 11:15am Coast Village Road Santa Barbara Saturday 8:30am to 12:30pm Santa Barbara & Cota Streets Tuesday 3:00pm to 6:30pm (winter only)-Old Town Tuesday 4:00pm to 7:30pm (summer only)-Old Town Wednesday 3:00pm to 6:30pm Harding School-1625 Robbins St.
Medical Facilities: There are four hospitals that serve the medical needs of the greater Santa Barbara area with a total of over 800 beds to meet the health requirements of the community.
Wineries: A short trip from Santa Barbara over the foothills into the Santa Ynez Valley brings a plethora of internationally renowned wineries, most of which have picnic areas for a leisurely lunch, and tasting rooms for visitors to sample a variety of their premium wines. For latest info and events: Online at SBCountyWines.com/wineries.
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