Celebrating Summerland

It’s a small “town” (actually, Summerland, along with Montecito, is part of the greater unincorporated area of Santa Barbara County) of some 400 homes and perhaps a thousand residents stepped up from the ocean across Highway 101 that hugs the hillside on streets sounding vaguely San Francisco familiar: Golden Gate, Whitney, Valencia, Lillie… Summerland boasts one of the best performing elementary schools in Santa Barbara County, even though the school sits on an urban block and consists of little more than four “temporary” portable classrooms, along with a small contingent of teachers and a determined principal.

Seven days a week the town bristles with a friendly energy and bonhomie born of familiarity, enhanced by the fact that there is no mail delivery in Summerland – everyone must drop by the post office to mail and retrieve their missives. From Friday afternoon to Sunday evening, Summerland teems with tourists who flock to its abundance of antique stores, along with a limited number of wine-tasting rooms, boutiques, and coffeehouses/restaurants.

If you’d like to experience some of that cheeriness, you can; Summerland’s Thirteenth Annual Home and Garden Tour takes place Saturday April 21, from noon to 5 pm and you are invited.

Along with residents opening their homes and/or gardens for inspection and admiration, artists will be displaying and selling their output in those homes as well as at various local businesses. Featured artists include photographers Jen Appleton, Ellen Ostler (who created the artwork for this year’s program), Miguel and Jennifer Fairbanks, watercolorist Bev Decker, painters Ana Victorson, Kerri Heddon, John Grandfield and Erika Hill Reitherman, and jeweler Dennis Spangler.

The price to enjoy a little taste of sumptuous Summerland is $25 ticket (children 5 to 18, $10) and they will be available at Veteran’s Memorial Park at 2375 Lillie Avenue from 10 am to 2 pm on Saturday. In addition to an invitation and a map of all the open houses, ticket holders will also be entitled to a cup of coffee at Café Luna, a glass of house wine (or beer) at the Nugget, and a wine tasting at Summerland Winery. There will be additional refreshments on hand at Summerland Presbyterian Church.

The homes on tour: At the end of the day, after 4 pm, the public is invited to QAD on Ortega Hill to meet local sculptors Don Davis and Richard Aber and view their work; KEYT’s John Palminteri will host a raffle of gifts and services from local businesses. Also on hand will be Andy Neumann, designer of the QAD complex, and Bob Cunningham from Arcadia Design, who designed the landscape and maintains the grounds. All money raised through ticket sales are to benefit and beautify Summerland’s parks and public areas. Please call 805-969-9942 for more information about the tour and to buy your tickets.