Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Winsome Wednesday- 9/19/12 Montecito, CA

I{HEART}ART:  Inspiration: OCEAN

I do love the ocean. Below are a few coastal themed pieces I have painted...
"Garden by the Sea" art by Tina C. Wells
"Montecito Coast" art by Tina C. Wells
"Dolphins at Play" children's mural, art by Tina C. Wells
"Starfish" art by Tina C. Wells
"Seahorse" art by Tina C. Wells
JOURNEY: Montecito, CA

September is one of the best months of the year. The weather is warm, sometimes too warm, and the crowds have gone home. There are a few more days of summer to be enjoyed (officially, fall equinox is September 22). I was fortunate enough to visit one of my favorite spots this week, and soak in a little time at the coast.  My sister and I took a quick trip to Montecito, the lovely little coastal village, just below Santa Barbara. I suppose it is my favorite spot because of the years of wonderful memories at Westmont College, (my alma mater), nestled back in the foothills of the Santa Ynez mountains. 
Montecito Coast
Channel Drive, Montecito
agave and bougainvillea
agave by the sea
The Montecito coastline is gorgeous. Standing at the wall at Butterfly Beach, the landscape is layered with beauty, the ocean speckled with the Channel Islands, the famous
spanish Biltmore with its terra cotta roofs, Santa Ynez mountains behind, giant palms, towering eucalyptus trees, agave, bougainvillea, roses, and succulents galore. This morning I had a rare treat; as I was on my ritual morning run (so happy to have a change of scenery) I approached the Biltmore wall and noticed everyone was looking out into the water, where a pod of dolphins were making their way through the surf. They looked close enough to touch. Magical. 
photo by Peter Nijenhuis

After my run, I walked to Jeannine’s Bakery where the coffee and homemade pastries are divine (not to forget the best ever eggs benedict, but I am saving that for tomorrow). Morning complete.

I took a drive up to Westmont, a small, Christian liberal arts college. The drive takes you through the hills of Montecito, thick with old majestic trees and magnificent estates. A flood of remembrances runs through me and take me back to the years I spent here.  Sunlight and shadows, natural stone walls, the rich mountains, curly wrought iron gates; it is an exceptionally beautiful place. Better still are the deep and lasting friendships that were made here.
Westmont College, Kerwood Courtyard
Westmont College, Italian Fountain
Before I get lost in sentiment and long strolls down memory lane, I want to tell you about a few of my favorites in Montecito, should you ever venture up the coast. There are several options of where to stay. We have chosen the more economical path at the Coast Village Inn. It is small, cottage-like inn with adequate rooms, but the best part is the location. While it is not the Four Seasons Biltmore with its divine oceanfront setting, the Coast Village Inn is located right in the heart of the coastal village of Montecito (vs. the upper village on East Valley Road), where there are great cafes and shops, and a five minute walk to the beach. If you are looking for something a step up, the Montecito Inn down the street is very charming, with a very good restaurant, and colorful history. 
Seahorse sign in Montecito
Coastal Village of Montecito
Coast Village Inn, Montecito

OK, let’s talk food. I already mentioned Jeannine’s Bakery, but here are few others:

Cava: oozing with charm; delicious and interesting food from south of the border
Los Arroyos: lovely patio, good Mexican fare
Montecito Cafe (at the Montecito Inn): fresh fish and steaks, well priced.  Save room for the Coconut Cake- to die for!
Tre Lune: fresh, fantastic Italian food (I have heard they have a great breakfast too).
Upper Village: 
Pierre LaFond: Market, coffees, pastries, deli. Diet tomorrow and have a Farm Cake today (dark chocolate and cream cheese muffin).
Plow and Angel: Appetizers, drinks, and more, in a cozy setting, located at the San Ysidro Ranch (where the Kennedy’s honeymooned).
Tre Lune, Montecito
And that is just Montecito...don’t get me started on Santa Barbara...that will have to be another post.

FEATURE: Coastal Chic Pillows, by Huckleberry Living
My very talented friend Kristin Rinehart of Huckleberry Living, Designer of Fine Spaces, has created a line of decorative pillows. They are being featured in several boutiques, and also available directly from Huckleberry Living.  Each pillow cover (removable and washable) features coastal chic fabric over a poly/down blend pillow. Two styles, available in 2 sizes.
Sea Life Pillow by Huckleberry Living
Ocean Coral Pillows by Huckleberry Living
Ocean Coral Pillows, by Huckleberry Living
Large 24” Pillow: $125-
Medium 20” Pillow $95-
Contact Kristin for inquiry or purchase at:, or 619.481.0227  

I love specialty wrapping. I hate it when I run out of time and grab the nearest gift bag and tissue. This was a birthday gift for my cousin, and the wrapping was inexpensive and easy. I used white butcher paper to wrap the box, burlap “ribbon” from Michael’s, a sprig of rosemary from my garden, and a drop of glue-gun glue to attach the shell to the top. I found the scalloped tag in a multipack in the Michael’s $ bins, added the painted initial and attached it with some brown raffia. 

RECIPES: Hot Crab Dip
Easy, crowd pleasing, hot crab dip appetizer:
8 oz crab meat, drained (fresh, frozen, or canned)
8 oz cream cheese, room temp
4 TBL chopped onion
1 tsp horseradish
1/2 tsp salt
1/8 tsp pepper
2 TBS milk
Mix together and bake at 375 degrees for 25 minutes
Serve with crostinis or crackers


  1. Sigh! My favorite post thus far!

  2. Hi Wren,
    My name is Jane and I'm with Dwellable.
    I was looking for blogs about Montecito to share on our site and I came across your post...If you're open to it, shoot me an email at jane(at)dwellable(dot)com.
    Hope to hear from you :)