Known for its luxurious real estate and privacy from the outside world, Montecito has always had an irresistible allure. Locals, tourists and celebrities alike can be seen meandering along Coast Village Road, Butterfly Beach or perusing the Montecito Country Mart on any given day. The possibilities to play, shop, and eat in this charming locale are endless.
Ganna Walska Lotusland
Lotusland is a Botanic Garden located in Montecito, California. The gardens are a delight to all those who enjoy rare and exotic botanicals in an idyllic setting in the foothills of Santa Barbara. Visit the botanic garden by reservation only. Call 805.969.9990.
Lotusland is a globally reknowned (and locally treasured) 37-acre estate and botanic garden situated in the foothills of Montecito, California. It is home to more than 3,000 different plants from around the world. The estate gardens were created by Madame Ganna Walska, who owned the property from 1941 until her death in 1984. The fascinating life and career of Madame Ganna Walska culminated with 43 years of designing unusual display gardens with exotic plants. In her writings she described herself as “an enemy of the average” – truly a woman of unique accomplishments, philosophies and imagination. Lotusland is home to several extraordinary collections including rare cycads, cacti, palms and euphorbias. Additional gardens feature ferns, aloes, lotuses, water lilies, bromeliads and cactus garden with more than 300 species.
Butterfly Beach is located along Channel Drive in ritzy Montecito, CA. This is a popular beach with Santa Barbara area locals, many who walk their dogs at the water’s edge. The beach stretches in front of the Four Seasons Biltmore Hotel.
The beach has been eroded here so the sandy part is thin sometimes especially at high tide and after winter storms. Rocks and broken concrete barriers are trying to protect the bluff and the road. Getting here is easiest if you just drive toward the ocean on Olive Mill Road which turns into Channel Drive near the Four Seasons Biltmore Resort.
Casa del Herrero
When visitors come to Casa del Herrero, or the “House of the Blacksmith,” they are transported back to Montecito in the 1920s and 1930s – the heyday of the original owner George Fox Steedman. Designed by George Washington Smith, the Casa is one of the finest examples of Spanish Colonial Revival architecture in America. It is included on the National Register of Historic Places, and maintains National Historic Landmark status in part due to its eclectic mix of Country Place Era and Moorish-inspired gardens created by Ralph Stevens, Lockwood de Forest, and Francis T. Underhill.
Today, the 11-acre estate functions as a nonprofit organization with the goal of preserving the house and grounds, as well as the Steedman family’s collection of fifteenth and sixteenth-century fine and decorative art objects from the “Golden Age” of Spain, books, sketchbooks, drawings, and horticultural records. Casa del Herrero is preserved and stewarded for the benefit of the community, and can be visited by booking a tour.