Hike Through History

By Richard Mineards   |   June 7, 2022
SBHM Trustee Sheila Snow, Benjamin Feld, and Rhonda Ledson Henderson (photo by Priscilla)

A new exhibit at the Santa Barbara Historical Museum celebrates the region’s hiking trails and public lands through historic photographs, paintings, and historic items from the museum’s collections. Take a Hike, Save the World is a visual journey through our Eden by the Beach’s most scenic areas, as seen by artists and photographers beginning in 1875. Programming includes talks, hikes, and film screenings.

“Our goal is to inspire our visitors to explore, enjoy, and above all preserve the natural beauty that surrounds us,” says Dacia Harwood, museum director. “The exhibition is a reminder of the fragility of these landscapes, which are under threat, not just by development, but from the toll taken by effects of climate change, wildfires, mudslides, and extreme drought.”

Among the guests at the opening of the show, which runs through November 13, were Journal bridle correspondent Lynn Kirst, Kevin and Sheila Snow, Ben Feld and Rhonda Henderson, Roland Geyer and Lisa Lamb, Lee and Donna Chiacos, and William Burtness.

SBHM Trustee Sheila Snow, Benjamin Feld, and Rhonda Ledson Henderson (photo by Priscilla)

For Sale

Ellen DeGeneres and her actress wife Portia de Rossi are house flipping again.

The tony twosome are asking $5.995 million for the Montecito property, a heavily renovated 1915-built cottage on a 0.2 acre lot. An additional guest cottage brings the total accommodations to three bedrooms and four bathrooms.

On the Ehnes Train

Grammy Award-winning Canadian violinist James Ehnes and Music Academy of the West pianist Orion Weiss concluded the 2022 CAMA Masterseries in fine style at the Lobero. Playing a Marsick 1715 Stradivarius, Ehnes, who made his Santa Barbara debut in 2019 at the Granada with the London Symphony Orchestra, performed Mozart’s “Violin Sonata No. 17 in C Major,” Schubert’s “Fantasy in C Major,” Korngold’s “Much Ado About Nothing,” and Saint-Saens’ “Violin Sonata No. 1 in D Minor.” CAMA president Mark Trueblood promised an “exhilarating and unforgettable” experience. He was spot on…

Book on Hold

After reportedly signing a $20 million contract with Penguin-Random House for the ultimate tell-all tome to be published in “late 2022,” it seems Prince Harry’s book is now on hold. After promising “an aspiring, courageous, and uplifting human story,” the publisher now tells the London Sunday Times it does not have a publication date and would not confirm whether the book will appear this year as planned. The Duke of Sussex’s spokesperson gave a similar response with another source, according to The Daily Beast, saying there was “some uncertainty” over the book’s publication date. I can already hear the sighs of relief from Buckingham Palace…

A Win-Win

It was not only sweet victory for Prince Harry’s Los Padres team when they beat Justin Klentner’s Klentner Ranch team 14-10 at the Santa Barbara Polo Club, but a major benefit for three local charities. The Sussex’s Archewell Foundation made donations to Heal the Ocean, CALM4kids, and the Food Bank for Santa Barbara County. “We are hugely grateful, and it was such a wonderful day,” says Hillary Hauser, president of Heal the Ocean.

A Close Call

Montecito actor Jeff Bridges almost died when he came down with COVID in January 2021. The Oscar winner, 72, had no resistance as he was getting chemotherapy for non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma. Jeff tells People he did not really have the will to fight the virus as he felt he was “dancing with mortality.”

He has been in remission from lymphoma since September 2021, and is now promoting his new FX show The Old Man. “I was pretty close to dying,” he admits. “The doctors kept telling me ‘Jeff, you’ve got to fight. You’re not fighting.’ I was in surrender mode… I was ready to go. I was dancing with my mortality,” says the father of three who has been married to wife Susan Geston since 1977.

Ellen’s Finale

TV talk show host Ellen DeGeneres was in tears as she walked on the stage of her Burbank studio to take her final bow after 19 years of the multi-Emmy-Award winning series on air. A visibly emotional Ellen, 64, could be seen struggling back tears with her wife, actress Portia de Rossi, and brother Vance DeGeneres sitting in the front row. For her final show on the Warner Bros. stage, the Montecito resident was joined by A-list guests including Jennifer Aniston, Pink, and Billie Eilish. Truly the end of an era…

Team Coco Sold

Former TBS TV talk show host Conan O’Brien has sold his digital media firm Team Coco and his podcast Conan O’Brien Needs a Friend, to the audio entertainment company SiriusXM Holdings Inc. As part of the deal, the Padaro Lane, Carpinteria, resident has entered into a five-year agreement to continue hosting his hit podcast. Terms of the contract haven’t been disclosed, but the deal was for $150 million, according to the Wall Street Journal. O’Brien, 59, a Harvard graduate and former writer for The Simpsons, will also work with SiriusXM to create and produce a new original Team Coco comedy channel for SiriusXM subscribers.

Featuring El Fureidis

A historic Montecito mansion whose former guests include Albert Einstein, Winston Churchill, and John F. Kennedy was the featured backdrop to CBS Sunday Morning’s “By Design” edition. The grand El Fureidis 10-acre estate with a 12,000 square foot home, famous for its appearance in the 1983 movie Scarface, is for sale for $39.995 million by Riskin Partners Estates Group. Award-winning TV host Jane Pauley anchored the show from the Bertram Goodhue-designed property. Past locations for the show have included Hearst Castle, the Biltmore estate in North Carolina, and The Breakers in Rhode Island.

Remembering Cat Pollon

On a very personal note, I mark the move to more heavenly pastures of a longtime and dear friend Cat Pollon, who has died near her home in Marrakech, Morocco, after a valiant fight with ovarian cancer.

I first met Cat, who had worked for Aldo Gucci in Rome, at the Beverly Hills store while buying a pair of overpriced loafers. She asked if I knew peripatetic Greek scribe Taki Theodoracopulos who, like her, was a member of the achingly exclusive Eagle Club in the jet set Swiss ski resort of Gstaad, where she would spend the month of March annually.

Cat, who had traveled the world, studying opera at the Conservatory in Siena, Italy, and her mother, Elisabeth – a founder of the American Cinematheque who died, aged 98, in 2015 – became good friends. I would visit their Studio City aerie off Laurel Canyon frequently when I stayed at the Chateau Marmont while visiting the Left Coast, and see them in Manhattan when they visited the Big Apple. 

When I moved to the Big Orange in 2001, they also helped me find my Hancock Park apartment at the historic Ravenswood near the Wilshire Country Club, known as the long-time residence of Hollywood actress Mae West.

For more than three decades they were guests at the San Ysidro Ranch and I would often join Cat for lunch at the Polo Lounge at the Beverly Hills Hotel. We also vacationed together frequently on the Caribbean Island of Mustique, former home of Queen Elizabeth’s sister, Princess Margaret, as well as Marrakech where she threw a lavish birthday taking over the luxurious La Maison Arabe, owned by a friend, Prince Fabrizio Ruspoli, eventually moving there permanently three years ago.

One of my greatest pleasures was sponsoring her for the Royal Enclosure at Ascot which we attended with an old friend, Ivana Trump, ex-wife of The Donald, after spending time in Barbados, St. Lucia, and Mustique.

Cat was also a frequent visitor to Venice staying at the Cipriani every August, eventually becoming a board member of Save Venice, an organization she intended to leave her considerable wealth to on her death.

What fun we had. I’m only sorry that because of pandemic travel restrictions I never got to say goodbye.


Prince Harry riding his $1,500 electric bike around Montecito with two pedaling security guards in tow… Downton Abbey actress Elizabeth McGovern at the Riviera Theatre… Actress-comedian Rebel Wilson at the Rosewood Miramar.

Pip! Pip! Be safe, wear a mask when required, and get vaccinated.  


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