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A glance at at local MLS listings will give you a clue as to why Santa Barbara, California is known as the American Riviera. Santa Barbara real estate is among the most expensive in the country with a median home price of $1,025,000. In Hope Ranch, a toney, coastal suburb north of town, the median price is a whopping $3,137,000. We wondered what those prices would mean to us, trying to rent a short-term apartment in a red hot market. The answer was Goleta.
Goleta is Seattle’s Tacoma, Houston’s Katy, Portland’s Vancouver WA, Berkeley’s Emeryville—smaller, less expensive, less cool. Barbers, teachers, baristas, and corporate nomads live in Goleta. Cottage Hospital, location of the Sweetie’s new project, is in Goleta. The weather in Goleta is as beautiful, the beaches are as sandy, and the sun shines as brightly but the ambient light may not be quite as golden.
Anyways, we’re settling in. I bought a new shopping cart, rolled seven bags of TJ products into the kitchen, unpacked the Buddha quilt, and put away the underwear. The Sweetie treadmilled in the fitness room, signed in to the wireless network, and found his way to the new project site.
It’s wonderful to be back—everything is so California: palm trees, eucalyptus, and jacarandas are the trees of choice, bougainvillea and oleander line quiet neighborhood sidewalks, agapanthus pop up on long stems and sway in the ocean breeze like huge lavender dandelions, the Santa Ynez mountains rise black-green against a Beach Boys-blue sky. If you squint, you can almost ignore the smoke plumes and forget that Southern California is on fire. Beauty and disaster in one take—so California.
View from our window
The local Costco has an entire center section for surfboards, boogie boards, and paddleboards
Angel trumpets at the nearby Goodland Hotel