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Montecito: Where the headliners go to get away

John and Jacqueline Kennedy honeymooned there. Oprah Winfrey, Jeff Bridges, John Cleese, Rob Lowe and Ivan Reitman live there. Ellen DeGeneres used to, before she sold her estate this year for about $20 million to Eric Schmidt, Google's chief executive.

Montecito, a verdant enclave in Santa Barbara County once populated by grizzly bears and wolves, has for decades been home to celebrities and corporate titans residing in luxurious estates.

In recent years, Beanie Babies mogul Ty Warner has bought up and renovated classic Montecito resorts, including the Four Seasons Biltmore, the San Ysidro Ranch (where the Kennedys honeymooned in the hills in 1953) and the Montecito Country Club.

Warner, Winfrey and their rarefied ilk have added to the unincorporated community's aura of fame and fortune. So far, their well-known properties appear to be unscathed by the Tea fire that broke out Thursday night and spread Friday to Santa Barbara proper.

Read the rest of the story here.

-- Martha Groves

Photo: John Cleese. Credit: Los Angeles Times

 
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