Chain store retailers are notably absent from Montecito’s upper
and lower (Coast Village Road) villages. Their absence is mostly
by design, as local property owners such as Judy Foreman, Paul
Orfalea, Gene Montesano, the Borgatello family, Pierre Lafond
and Wendy Foster and others have made it a point to keep
it local. Consequently, Montecito may not have the highest
grossing square footage in the world, but it has something far
more valuable: individuality.
Profiles: Dennis Franz
Detective Andy Sipowicz reigned for twelve years as America’s
most popular law enforcement officer. Catching – and often
beating up – bad guys was the poorly-dressed out-of-shape
NYPD cop’s career choice, but fans loved him as much for his
untidy personal life that unfolded in nearly every one of the
series’ 261 episodes as they did for his hard-eyed skepticism.
Dennis Franz, who portrayed that character, now calls
Most of us know the Falkland Islands (called Islas Malvinas by
Argentina) as the far-away place that Great Britain’s Prime
Minister Margaret Thatcher dispatched her country’s naval
forces to protect after a takeover by the then Argentine
government; inveterate traveler Chuck Graham made the
trip to this small archipelago some 350 miles off the coast of
Argentina, and his observations and photos make it clear why
the British Empire struck back.
Down on the Farm
It’s easy to go green (and black and brown and red) in a
backyard, and Montecito residents are digging in, in greater
numbers, perhaps, than ever before – save when this was
an agricultural community. Lettuce, carrots, tomatoes, and
vegetables of all kinds, along with chickens and worm boxes,
are springing up in the unlikeliest places. Just ask Santa
Barbara architect Jeff Shelton, who designed Jack and Rose
Herschorn’s backyard chicken coop...
The soda fountain across from the old YMCA building near the
corner of East Valley and San Ysidro Roads wasn’t really the
“last soda fountain” in the world, it just seemed that way to
“Cruising State” author Christopher Buckley and his elementary
school pals, who spent much of their youth hanging out there
and at the nearby Hobby Shop where they purchased their
balsawood gliders, Dinky Toys and Matchbox cars.
Gabrielle Gossner & William Burke tied the knot at Mt.
Carmel and celebrated at the Biltmore; Isabelle Bridges &
Brandon Boesch chose to say their vows at the Bridges’ family
compound; Tiffany Steeves & Keith Marbourg entered their
wedded state at San Ysidro Ranch, and Ashley Young &
Andrew Trowbridge exchanged rings at the Coral Casino. All
had decided Montecito was a magical place from which to
begin a new life. It’s easy to see why.
Made in Montecito
David Tallman, Mike & Carole Ridding, Jeremy Norris and
Daniel Gibbings don’t just sell jewelry in Montecito; each in
his own way designs, crafts, and creates adornment the old-
fashioned way. Tallman works in gold and mammoth ivory;
Mike and Carole Ridding of Silverhorn are fond of unique
crystals, stones, and rare and colorful gems; Norris is a longtime
pearl hunter with a new-found fascination for tourmaline;
Gibbings would feel right at home in ancient Rome as he
hammers and chisels his lustrous gold items.
Moguls and Mansions
Peoples Gas Light and Coke Company of Chicago Chairman
C.K.G. Billings founded Union Carbide, so had the money and
the wherewithal to nearly single-handedly launch America’s
“Gilded Age.” His horseback-and-white-tie event held on
the fourth floor ballroom at Sherry’s restaurant on New York’s
Fifth Avenue produced the photo known as the “Banquet
on Horseback,” which became the iconic image of that
exuberant era. Billings spent the latter part of his life in Santa
Barbara and Montecito.
Cellar + Wine
Wine lover John Tilson’s storage unit is ultra-cool, both in design
and in absolute temperature – he keeps the space at a nearly
frigid 47-52-degrees year round. Alderwood racks (highlighted
by pale stone floors and alabaster sconces) hold an array of
hard-to-find and vintage treasures, such as his 1926 Chateau
Latour and 1966 Petrus. Tom Warner, who requests that new
clients profile their wine collection before he’ll take on a
project, designed Tilson’s wine cellar.
Art & Architecture
Franciscan friar Junipero Serra, namesake of our APS
(Alameda Padre Serra) that runs along the Santa Barbara
Riviera, is mostly known for establishing the chain of missions
that run up the California coast from San Diego to Sonoma,
but an earlier project of this ambitious priest – five missions
in Mexico’s Sierra Gorda mountains – has been declared
a UNESCO World Heritage site. Lynn Kirst offers her colorful
photos and knowledgeable notations from a recent trip.
For a tiny coastal village (population: 10,000 souls) wedged
comfortably between the mountains and the sea, Montecito
has an array of excellent dining choices; you’ll find every
one of them listed in this guide, along with selected others
between Carpinteria and Goleta.
Dennis Franz’s Career Collage
designed by Trent Watanabe