The Moody Sisters book project

Marcia Gamble-Hadley is on a mission to create a book that highlights the Moody Cottages of Santa Barbara. She is a grand-niece of the Moody sisters, her grandfather having been their only brother. After investigating the existing records of the Moody Cottages in preparation for a new project in her consulting practice, she found that there is not a definitive work about the cottages, their history, or that of their creators, her ‘aunties’ – Harriet, Brenda, Wilma, and Mildred. Although she currently lives in Seattle, Marcia spent summers at The Peppers on Hot Springs Road and subsequently at two homes on Pimiento Lane, and was married in El Montecito Presbyterian Church on East Valley Road. She is determined to produce a book and is asking if the public is interested in contributing stories, connections, and having their Cottages included.

“I am undertaking the creation of a book to photograph, describe, and explain the Cottages, their creation and their creators. I have worked with a well-known architectural photographer who is based here in Seattle, and who, coincidentally has just been to Santa Barbara for a photo shoot of a garden designed by Sydney Baumgartner for a book on garden hideaways. He is interested in working on a complete ‘shoot’ of the Cottages this time next year. We have scheduled his visit for the June-July period of 2008, in hopes that the gardens will be at their best. Cottages always look best festooned with flowers! We also have identified a couple of interested publishers,” says Marcia.

Marcia is in Santa Barbara now, and will be here through July 15 to conduct research and to contact as many owners and occupants as she can. She already has several appointments and is staying on the grounds of one of the Cottages. She makes it clear she will not disturb or inconvenience any owners of the Moody Cottages, but will be visiting the ones she can find, taking photos from the sidewalk and leaving a letter of introduction at the door inviting people to contact her, hopefully while she is still in town. She is meeting with people at both the Santa Barbara Historical Society and the Montecito Historical Committee, has some invitations to visit privately owned cottages, and to visit the Tea Room/Moody Antique Shop (now Coastal Properties) on Coast Village Road.

With her background in architecture and planning, Marcia feels she is honoring both her current work and her family’s past with the book project. “I have spent my professional career working on historic preservation projects. Now, as I begin the most significant project of my career, a neighborhood of historic-form cottages in a community that is on the National Register of Historic Places, I turn to evaluate my family’s contribution to the ‘cottage housing’ traditions, all those years ago. I have gotten a lot of encouragement from my colleagues in cottage design and policy and from all the people in Montecito and Santa Barbara who have heard about this project, and of course, my family. We are five grand-nephews and -nieces, and we have 10 great-grand-nieces and -nephews between us. My aunties had no children, but brother Bert, my grandfather, had my mother Brenda, and my uncle, Bruce, who are both wholeheartedly behind this effort.”

Marcia is eager to collect any information she can. “If you have thoughts, leads or if you own or live in a Moody Cottage, feel free to drop me an e-mail, or a fax, or give me a call. I’d like to include as many Cottages in the book as I can find and fit in,” she says. If you are interested in contacting Marcia Gamble-Hadley, call her at 206-234-5599 or email her at The website is

CordeValle chef at San Ysidro Ranch

Chef Luca Rutigliano from CordeValle Resort in San Martin, California was on hand for a visiting chef’s dinner held June 30 at the Stone House at San Ysidro Ranch. Rutigliano, a native of Rome, Italy and the former Executive Chef at the Carlyle Hotel in New York, teamed up with Chef John Trotta to prepare a five-course dinner ($85, with wine pairings $135). In March, Trotta’s visit to CordeValle for a chef’s dinner was a sellout.

The two chefs mingled with diners, consisting of in-house guests at the Ranch as well as locals from Santa Barbara and Montecito (such as James and Helen Buckley, celebrating their 35th wedding anniversary, Leslie Ridley-Tree, Peter Kavoian, Ray Winn, Lorraine Wilson, Mike and Jennie Petlow, and others). On the menu: fresh herb crusted Ahi tuna sashimi, crispy soft shell crab, polenta dusted filet of sea bream, ranch herb roasted rack of lamb, and a trio of petits desserts. The Ranch has promised to bring more chefs into its dining room for future events.

Hands-down hits in the wine-pairing department: a non-vintage Nicolas Feuillatte Rosé Champagne and a surprisingly hearty 2004 Santa Ynez Valley Syrah from Stolpman.

The Alley Cats

If you’ve been bowling lately, you may have wondered what that group with the movie cameras was up to. Here’s what:

Super Chief Films, a Santa Barbara film company, has been shooting a thriller/horror picture called “The 13th Alley” at ZoDo’s Bowling & Beyond in Goleta and other Santa Barbara and Montecito locations. The movie follows three after-hours bowling couples that experience “strange things” on the 13th alley. Producer Bobb Hopkins expects the film to be released in February 2008.

Stars are Robert Carradine, Bobb Hopkins, and Rob Spediaccci. Other cast members include Shayne Dahl Lamas, Randy Wayne, Amelia Jackson-Gray, and Jamaican actress Jessica Alexander.

Hopkins is working with Montecito resident Peter Clark on another film, also slated to be shot locally. Called “Checkmate,” the movie has mostly been cast and includes BK Kennelly, Bobb Hopkins, Laszlo Poljar, ‘50s scream queens Elaine DuPont and Sally Todd, and Montecito-based model and instructor at La Playa Pilates and Wellness Center Kristen Meadows.

All In The (Hale) Family

Eight-year-old Montecito resident Miles Hale won the Boys 10-and-under Division at the 21st annual Santa Maria Junior Tennis Tournament held at Santa Maria Country Club from June 30 to July 2.

Miles won the Santa Barbara City Junior tournament this past January in the Boys eight-and-under Division. Jeff Thompson of Knowlwood Tennis Club coaches Miles, in addition to other members of the Hale family, who’ve also done well in Santa Maria recently.

Miles’ older sister Madison Hale won the Girls 10's singles consolation round. His older brother Morgan Hale and Jack Damen from Carpinteria lost in a nail-biter final match against two Varsity tennis players from Righetti High School in the boys 14's doubles division.