Music Academy of the West, Montecito
||Santa Barbara, CA|
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Music Academy of the West is a former Montecito estate with magical gardens! During the summer, a music school is held here and during the rest of the year there are concerts held in Hahn Hall. It's wonderful to walk around the gardens before a concert or after a visit to the thrift shops, The Rack and The Treasure House. Before certain summer concerts the gardens are open for picnickers to dine al fresco, at 5:30 in the evening. See the event calendar for details.
Beside Hahn Hall is a formal garden with perfect hedges and cherub sculptures. A marvelous old tree stands beside the steps. Follow the path past practice rooms alive in the summer with wonderful music to a green-blue fountain surrounded by tiled benches. The tiles depict medieval scenes and add atmosphere to the area. When we were there a girl was practicing flute and it was lovely!
Across the parking lot is another garden area with paths amongst trees, manicured lawns and hedges, and a koi pond with summer water lilies. Kids love it here! You feel like you've taken them on a trip to Europe minus the airplane ride!
If you walk around the back of the buildings there's a trail in the woods that leads to another area with sculptures and a large blue decorative pool with a fountain in the middle. It's very mediterranean looking, and to kids it feels like a real adventure with more and more things to explore!
You can stroll to Butterfly Beach from here. It's a pristine beach with red cliffs, across the road from the Biltmore Resort. Channel Drive, which borders the beach, is lovely to walk at night.
A nice place to go for lunch after your walk is one of the cafes in Summerland. It's a short drive south on the freeway.
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Music Academy of the West is located at 1070 Fairway Rd, Santa Barbara CA 93108, in the suburb of Montecito, call (805) 969-4726.
Exit Highway 101 at Olive Mill Rd and head toward the ocean. Cross the railroad tracks and follow Channel Drive as it curves to the right. You will pass Butterfly Beach. At the stop sign, go straight up the hill. Follow the road as it curves to the right and becomes Fairway Rd. Turn right into the driveway for Music Academy of the West.
The Rack and The Treasure House thrift shops, call (805) 969-0190. Open 12-3 Tuesdays to Saturdays.
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Overall Visitor Rating: Unrated.