My longing for an Epic Voyage is almost crushing. Have you ever analyzed your favorite travel, have you created a list? What does it look like? Is Beach Therapy your go to? Is it adventure and the African savanna’s whispering to you? Or are you craving the majestic calm beauty of Bhutan?
I’ve been safely venturing to boutique properties I hadn’t visited due to a much more intense travel program, and I’ve truly enjoyed re discovering the wine country, Malibu, and Santa Barbara again. Epic Adventure is in planning stage, I will triple vaccinate and mosey to Morocco, Madrid, and Paris.
New clients asked, how do we create a combo Journey? A new Travel Recipe Series. I.E. we are considering the Maldives and Singapore – and yes they have read my posts on the two Four Seasons in the Maldives and understand my obsession with the magical seas. One of my most favorite Journeys was to the Maldives and despite the long trek, you will want to stay longer than planned! It may sound exaggerated, but it is true: there aren’t enough superlatives to describe the staggering natural beauty of the Maldives fully and accurately. Note to the dear Four Seasons GM – who invited me for a two-week exploration, sending clients soon, promise!
Discovering that SW airline fly’s direct from Oakland to Santa Barbara, I reserved immediately! I can’t tell you how many times United has forsaken me on their SFO/ SBA routing. My elderly godmother and ancient aunties deserved a visit, off I went.
Summer heat and pink moment sunsets at the Ojai Valley Inn didn’t disappoint. Two legendary properties, the Inn, and San Ysidro Ranch in the hills of Montecito are a great combo. Sun and the sea. Frank Capra used a long view shot of the Ojai Valley to represent the mythical paradise in the classic film Lost Horizon. In 1923, Edward Drummond Libbey, a wealthy Ohio glass manufacturer and philanthropist, commissioned California architect Wallace Neff to build a private Ojai Country Club. The architectural remnants of the original Spanish-colonial-style design are still in evidence; the hotel offers a little over 300 spacious and tastefully decorated rooms, a relaxing spa, four pools and several restaurants. I’ve always loved sitting beneath the massive Oak Tree terrace for lunch or dinner. The property spreads across a gentle rolling hillside into a deep green valley punctuated by massive Oak trees; the rambling flow of Spanish Revival style buildings resemble a picturesque village of red tile roofs sheltering white stucco walls, typical of what you might view in remote Spanish or Tuscan villages. I met a lovely mom and daughter enjoying a week together, bicycling into town and I shared in my favorite retail therapy boutiques. Several VV Chic Summerland and Montecito shops have added outposts here.
Moving a bit north to Montecito, several first-class options, sadly the Four Seasons is temporarily closed, if you need beach therapy, it is truly la tragédie. Montecito exudes a quiet glam, it doesn’t scream opulence, mansions yes, but most are gated or secreted behind walls of expertly pruned shrubbery and manicured gardens, an enclave of concealed wealth. Nestled between the mountains and the sea, San Ysidro Ranch is another legendary hideaway. The Ranch has a historical guest list: Groucho Marx, Winston Churchill, Sinclair Lewis, and John Huston, who finished writing the screenplay for The African Queen while in residence. Laurence Olivier and Vivien Leigh exchanged midnight wedding vows on the grounds, and Camelot began here with John and Jackie Kennedy honeymooning in the cottage that now bears their name.
Ultimate seclusion and almost perpetually blessed by sunshine if the beach below is foggy. Tucked away in the leafy foothills of Montecito, San Ysidro Ranch offers a unique blend of privacy, peace, and tranquility in an idyllic setting. Thirty-eight vine-covered cottages surrounded by incredibly landscaped gardens with flowers always in bloom under a canopy of stately sycamores and gnarled oaks make this exclusive property destination unplugged from the rest of the world. Citrus groves, olive trees, brilliantly colored lantanas, lily pond, and the sweet smell of orange blossoms, fragrant magnolias, and jasmine make you think that you have just discovered a slice of paradise. Pass the guard cabin and another world awaits. Oprah and Harry live just up the winding San Ysidro Road.
The Ranch provides several premier dining settings featuring a palate of herbs and vegetables harvested from the onsite chef’s garden. The Stonehouse, a Wine Spectator Grand Award-winning restaurant, is in a 19th-century citrus packing house and has a romantic full-bar lounge and separate dining room with an outdoor terrace and a crackling fireplace. For a more casual destination, the Plow & Angel offers more regional cuisine and a convivial ambiance as a local favorite. Housed in a storybook setting, the Carriage House features fireside dining with French doors opening to a private stone-paved courtyard.
Montecito is chock-a-block with charming boutiques, fancy deli’s, delicious dining, and if you perch front and center outside the entrance of the very popular Lucky’s Restaurant, you may think you’ve been transported to Palm Beach. Oh my, peacocks parade each evening… it’s splendid people watching, as Dorothy uttered to Toto – “I’ve a feeling we’re not in Kansas anymore.”
Safe, luxurious, easy to and fro – Our local car service can also motor you down the coast, he has been driving a client weekly to Santa Barbara since last year!
Taking a break or a vacation may save your life, we live in the country of No Vacation Nation, which is unhealthy, time off is integral to emotional health. An attorney friend once told me he billed for shower time as it was the most productive time for thinking. According to health experts you have your best ideas in the shower or on a walk—or on vacation!
Serenity Now means taking good care of yourself.