Malibu Coast, CA July 2021

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EXPLORING SANTA BARBARA, THE “AMERICAN RIVIERA” (CONTINUED)

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The main artery, State Street, is now car-free with

ourselves in bromeliads, succulents and silvery

wine bars and restaurants spilling onto sidewalks.

blue-grey foliage. Tropical exotic blooms overhead,

Nearby in the historic Presidio my mom and I bonded

brightly colored seed explosions down below,

even more sipping a sensational red and white tast-

pools with massive clam shells as water features,

ing flight outside at the new Sevtap Winery located

odd-looking worn statues from France, and sym-

next to Lobero Theatre. The winemaker “Art” Sevtap

metrical carved leaves are all part of this fantastical

is a former baker for Emeril Lagasse, so freshly

plot of land. The whole estate is a result of Madame

baked breads like rosemary Kalamata and focaccia

Ganna Walska’s purchase with her sixth husband in

plus tapas make a nice addition to the Sevtap wines

1941, where she spent 43 years cultivating the plant

sourced from grapes from the Santa Ynez region. It

utopia until her death at age 97.

was impossible not to leave without Sevtap bottles of

I couldn’t resist taking my mom to witness the New

Happy Canyon’s Sunday Kind of Love, La Presa’s Dry

England-style Rosewood Miramar Beach estate

Riesling, and Martian’s Grenache Rose.

with its expansive lawn, a drool-worthy location to

Afterward, we zigzagged our way over to La

stroll and clink cocktail glasses or share a bite with

Paloma Café, a bustling restaurant with plenty of

your loved one oceanside. The Miramar Bar was

outdoor seating that celebrates the early California

designed to feel like you are on a yacht.

settlers who used Spanish and Mexican influences

And just an 8-minute drive from town, the Santa

with indigenous ingredients cooked over fire. We

Barbara Zoo changed my opinion about zoos and gave

shared oak-grilled Crispy Brussels Sprouts quick

me a new appreciation for their dedication to preserva-

fried with syrah-porcini mushroom reduction, Santa

tion and conservation. Set on 30 acres of lush grounds,

Maria Tri-Tip, Pork Shoulder Carnitas and a spicy

giraffes have beachfront views and the California Trails

Mexican salted chocolate tart.

area features threatened and endangered California

One morning we found ourselves in the nearby

natives like Channel Island foxes, bald eagles and

low-key luxurious town of Montecito, just 10 minutes

condors, and desert tortoises. We marveled over the

away. We may not have seen Prince Harry or Meghan

gorgeous gaggle of flamingoes, toucans, gorillas,

Markle, but I did manage to take my mom on another

gibbons and a snow leopard.

adventure—electric bikes! The new e-bikes can be

We packed in a lot over two nights and three days,

rented right on Coast Village Road from newcomer

but we could not miss the nearby seaside town of

Mad Dogs & Englishmen. Terrified for my mom

Summerland for a bite at high-end home store

since it was her first time on a zippy e-bike, we walked

Field + Fort, where a new outdoor eatery dishes up

our bikes through the chic town to buzz off in various

fancy toasts, breakfast, salads and carefully crafted

speeds down through idyllic neighborhoods to the

sandwiches on their terrace. Filled with antique shops

Butterfly Beach waterfront. A bike path allowed us to

and expensive boutiques for home décor on the main

fly up the hilly coastline admiring the colorful flower

street in Summerland, we noticed many vintage

blooming path along the ocean while also gaping at

Porsches and found ourselves in an unusual haven,

the Four Seasons Resort grounds.

the Santa Barbara Bird Sanctuary. A 45-minute

A highlight of our visit was exploring Lotusland

docent-led tour divulged the stories of 30 relin-

since we are both plant and garden fanatics. This

quished birds who had been rescued because they

37-acre botanical paradise in Montecito boasts 25

had been abandoned, abused, injured or orphaned—

different gardens with rare cycads, cacti, palms

reminding both my mom and me how important it is

and euphorbias. The horticulture nirvana had us

to commit to taking care of one another.

repeatedly exclaiming, “Look at this!” as we waltzed

At the end of our getaway, my mom had been

through a Japanese garden, a rose garden, an insec-

seduced by these seaside towns and kept asking,

tary garden and a shade palm garden and immersed

“How can I move here?”

Malibu Coast Lifestyle | July 2021