Santa Barbara Thanksgiving Activities

Although Santa Barbara’s fantastic climate can often trick us into thinking summer is a year round affair, the holiday season has arrived, whether we’re ready or not!  Fortunately, Santa Barbara is packed with fantastic holiday activities for people of all ages this time of year. Here are a few highlight of some of the area’s best events and activities. With Turkey Day fast approaching, the guides at Santa Barbara Adventure compiled a short list of must-do activities for you and your loved ones over the next couple of weekends:

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1)      Looking for a way to get the kids and in-laws out of the house on Thanksgiving Day? Send them to the Santa Barbara Zoo for their Thanksgiving Day Pumpkin SmashAt 10:00 AM on November 22nd, the SB zookeepers are going to give many of the animals, including the elephants and gorillas, pumpkins to play with, just to see what happens! This is sure to be a hit, and will undoubtedly add a new and fun twist to the already incredible experience that is visiting our beautiful local zoo.

2)      After the holiday is over, take a break and let someone else do the driving, thinking, and meal prep for a day by signing up for a Santa Ynez Valley wine country tour! You can rest assured knowing we were recently voted as Finalist for the best ‘Santa Barbara Wine Tour Company’ by readers of the Santa Barbara Independent, and have a variety of wine tours that fit any taste and personality. For those hoping to enjoy the crisp fall air, exploring the wine country by bicycle is a fantastic opportunity for the whole family, especially those trying to burn off that third serving of stuffing. However, if you are looking to treat yourself to a unique wine tour, check out the Tasty Cupcake and Wine Tour, where participants enjoy great wine, world-class wineries, and the best cupcakes this side of the Mississippi.

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3)      Holiday shopping at its best – Santa Barbara will host its first-ever European-style Christmas night market! Santa Barbara Night Market is beginning November 23rd, with State Street full of holiday themed décor, live music, carolers, food, beverages and all the best products the Central Coast has to offer. 4-10pm.

4) If you are looking for a restaurant to enjoy Thanksgiving Dinner while visiting Santa Barbara, there are quite a few options. A few of our favorites: The Wine Cask, The Stonehouse and Bella Vista at the Four Season Biltmore. There are several other options but restaurants do tend to book up quickly for the holiday, so make your reservation early.

5) For the adventurous at heart, you may opt for a holiday of excitement with turkey sandwiches and ocean mist in your face. For an amazing day at sea, the Channel Islands National Park is just a few miles off the coast of California. Ferry boats and kayaking tours are available throughout the Thanksgiving holiday weekend. The island offers hiking, bird watching, snorkeling and much more. Call our office to check available tours and island camping options.

Photo by http://montecitobirnamwood.com/

Photo by http://montecitobirnamwood.com/

6) Head over to the Santa Barbara Botanical Gardens for a lovely fall-time stroll. The garden’s 78 acres encompass a variety of displays as well as natural coast live oak and riparian woodlands. Their November events include a morning bird walk, gray water 101, yoga in the garden and more.

7) While you won’t be skiing down the slopes of Santa Barbara this holiday season, you can still get in the spirit of winter by attending a film at the Lobero Theater: Face of Winter, the 69th installment from Warren Miller Entertainment presented by Volkswagen, will bring new and veteran athletes alike in this exciting ski and snowboard movie. Tuesday, November 27th, 7:30pm.

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Photos courtesy of: Zoo Borns, Active Rentals, UC Berkley ,

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Source: https://www.independent.com/news/2018/feb/...

Royalty Visits Santa Barbara

The first royal visit of note occurred in December 1882, when the Marquis of Lorne and his wife, Princess Louise, arrived. The marquis was governor general of Canada, and Louise was a daughter of Queen Victoria of England. The couple stayed at the Arlington Hotel, which spared no expense in seeing that the visitors enjoyed the very best. The royal retinue had six adjoining suites on the second floor, redecorated with new furniture, carpeting, draperies, and wallpaper. The couple enjoyed clear views of the Old Mission in one direction and the blue Pacific to the east. Servants were housed in an adjoining wing of the hotel.

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During their visit to the Old Mission, Louise was allowed to enter the garden, which at that time was off-limits to women. They took carriage trips out to the Mesa, the beach, and Montecito. They attended performances at the Lobero Theatre and made the social rounds. Their 13-day stay remains the longest royal visit to Santa Barbara.

More than 500 people greeted King Kalākaua of Hawai‘i when his train arrived in January 1891. Three carriages elegantly decorated with golden harness transported the royal party to the Arlington. The king visited the Ellwood Cooper ranch in Goleta and was fascinated by its olive oil processing plant. A formal dress ball was held in the king’s honor at the Arlington with the crème de la crème of Santa Barbara society. Tickets went for three dollars. The king had taken ill earlier that day and only stayed through the first dance. He decided to cut his California tour short, but his health continued to worsen. He died at age 54 in San Francisco only two weeks after his visit here.

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Some 5,000 Santa Barbarans gathered at the depot on October 11, 1919, to meet King Albert and Queen Elisabeth of Belgium. The two were unassuming people and loved to mingle with the locals with a lack of security unthinkable today.

The royal couple and their son, Prince Leopold, stayed with the William Bliss family at their Montecito estate, Casa Dorinda. Almost immediately, the young royals made for the beach, where the queen enjoyed the sun and surf in a bathing suit of “foreign style.”

The next day, the king took a spin in one the Loughead brothers’ seaplanes. The Lougheads later changed the spelling of their last name to Lockheed. Prince Leopold took off on a motorcycle ride to Summerland. When the bike broke down, he tinkered with it until the engine came back to life.

Photo by http://montecitobirnamwood.com/

Photo by http://montecitobirnamwood.com/

Other jaunts included the Old Mission, a Goleta Valley walnut ranch (walnuts were a favorite of the king), the public library, and a walk down State Street. During the latter, Albert treated himself to an ice-cream soda. A visit to the Flying A movie studios resulted in the king being captured on film. He then watched his “performance” in that day’s “rushes.”

The entire city was entranced by the openness and energy of the Belgians. A short time after the visit, the City Council decreed that a portion of what is now Alameda Padre Serra be named King Albert Boulevard. That section of road became part of APS in 1932. The next crowned head of Europe would visit 51 years later, when Queen Elizabeth was honored by the city.

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Source: https://www.independent.com/news/2018/feb/...

A look back at Birnam Woods History

William H. Crocker, member of the famous railroad and banking family, was involved in a number of business enterprises on the South Coast. One of these enterprises was a large lemon ranch in Montecito, the Crocker-Sperry Ranch, also known as Las Fuentes (The Springs). The packing house was the operational center of the ranch; it now serves as the clubhouse for the Birnam Wood Golf Club.

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In 1887, Crocker; his mother-in-law, Caroline Sperry; and John Cutting bought more than 218 acres around the area where East Valley Road and Sheffield Drive intersect today. Originally the trio had plans for a housing development of 33 parcels, but real estate prices crashed in the late 1880s, and they turned to ranching.

After Cutting left the partnership, Crocker and Sperry decided to plant most of the ranch in lemons. Some 25,000 olive trees were cleared off the land to make way for 28,000 lemon trees, and, in 1891, construction began on a packing house. The ranch had three reservoirs, which could hold some 3,000,000 gallons.

The three-story, 10,000-square-foot packing house was made of cut stone. The architect was Arthur Page Brown, who had designed the Crocker family mansion in San Francisco and would design the five houses that make up Crocker Row in the 2000 block of Garden Street. The facility went into operation in 1894; masonry costs came to $6,000.

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The company paid close attention to market prices. If prices were high, the green fruit was placed in heated rooms to quickly ripen and be shipped out. If the market was sluggish, the fruit could be stored in cooler facilities until prices improved. The packing house served not only Las Fuentes, but ranches up and down the South Coast until it closed in 1942.

A new partner appeared in 1894, with the arrival of Andre Poniatowski, a Pole of noble lineage who married into the Sperry family. The ranch prospered; by the early 1900s, it had grown to more than 250 acres, most of which were planted in lemons, although grain was also raised. Avocados would later be added to the mix. It was one of the largest lemon ranches in the state.

In 1943, the ranch came into the hands of the four Poniatowski sons, one of whom, Casimir, became ranch manager. The ranch continued to produce lemons until 1964, when the East Valley Ranch Company, headed by Robert McLean and William “Pete” Sears, bought the property. McLean, a former president of the Associated Press, was publisher of the Santa Barbara News-Press. Sears was a local Realtor. The partners’ plan to build houses on the ranch harked back to the original idea for the property.

Photo by http://montecitobirnamwood.com/

Photo by http://montecitobirnamwood.com/

The centerpiece of the development was an 18-hole golf course designed by Robert Trent Jones, one of the world’s foremost golf course architects. An ardent reader of Shakespeare, McLean took a line from Macbeth and named the property Birnam Wood.

The packing house, by now in sad shape, was earmarked to become the clubhouse. The top two floors were removed and a second story rebuilt with steel reinforcing. The club opened in 1967 and soon after the first lots offered for sale. Echoes of Las Fuentes remain, not only in the packing house/clubhouse, but in the lemon trees that still dot the property.

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Source: https://www.independent.com/news/2018/jul/...

The Monarch Spreads its Wings

It’s always comforting to see an old face in a new place, so Santa Barbara should be mighty happy with The Monarch, the second of Phillip Frankland Lee and Margarita Kallas-Lee’s four concepts opening throughout 2018 in the Montecito Inn. The managing chef is David Rosner, whom locals know from his time at the Wine Cask, Café Luck, Big Eye, and The Shop and the worldly wise will recognize from stints with Daniel Boulud and Gordon Ramsay.

Image: The Monarch Gallery Images

Image: The Monarch Gallery Images

“My title is managing chef, but I’m the ‘ops guy,’” explained Rosner, who’s managing the kitchen, bar, dining room, and more. “Phillip and Margarita own the restaurant, but I’ll be overseeing the day-to-day of everything they do on the Central Coast.” After all, the Scratch | Restaurant empire is based in Encino, so the Lees have a lot of ground to cover.

After meeting through a mutual friend, Lee and Rosner hit it off immediately. “What he wanted to do was a dream of mine, too,” said Rosner. “It’s the breaking bread idea — people come in to enjoy a feast taking.”

He was also jazzed about the emphasis on regional purveyors: The menu’s back page is a greatest hits of tri-county farms and fisherpeople, and the wine list lasers in on locals (think Tatomer, Tercero, and Tyler, just for the Ts). Said Rosner of such regional pride, “I’ve lived here for almost 10 years now, and it’s become my home.”

   Chef David Rosner (left) is running day-to-day operations for owners Phillip Frankland Lee and Margarita Kallas-Lee at The Monarch in the Montecito Inn.

 

Chef David Rosner (left) is running day-to-day operations for owners Phillip Frankland Lee and Margarita Kallas-Lee at The Monarch in the Montecito Inn.

The Monarch interior

The Monarch interior

As for the food, it’s focused, flavor forward, and gorgeous without being frou-frou. It would be easy to not get past the sea urchin spread (with uni from Stephanie Mutz, of course) — a briny blast tempered just a tad with alpine cheese and olive oil. But then there’s also white sea bass wrapped in kombu that’s almost certainly the best seaweed eating experience you’ll ever have.

And when a kitchen gets to cook in a wood-burning hearth, it can do some amazing things. “The list of what the live fire gives you is endless; it’s a scroll,” Rosner enthused. “Cooking with live fire brings in that home feeling. We spend countless hours at work, and it becomes our home, so we want people to come in and feel as if they’re eating at our houses.” That’s one reason much of the food is run from the open kitchen by the chefs themselves — they want to make that personal connection.

The Monarch Interior

To Rosner, The Monarch is like dining at Grandma’s house. “You knew you were having steak or chicken or fish, but you didn’t know what else would be on that beautiful table,” he said, explaining that the main dishes are accompanied by a bounty of sharable sides that change based on the farmers’ markets. “You weren’t just having that protein but all these sides, and you were feasting together.”

As for the name, it’s not just about the restaurant’s proximity to Butterfly Beach. It comes from something that long-ago Montecito Inn owner Charlie Chaplin once said, now emblazoned on the menu: “In the light of our egos, we are all dethroned monarchs.” But at least for one night, the easy elegance and class of The Monarch allows us all to be treated like royalty.

1295 Coast Village Rd.; 869-0789; themonarchmontecito.com

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by GEORGE YATCHISIN

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Source: https://www.independent.com/news/2018/aug/...