Harbor Hot Spot: Dart Coffee Ribbon Cutting
By Sigrid Toye   |   May 28, 2024

On the chilly, overcast afternoon of Thursday, May 15th the atmosphere on the patio of the historic building that houses the Santa Barbara Maritime Museum (SBMM) reflected the warmth of a sunny summer day. The crowd outside the building were present to applaud the Santa Barbara Chamber of Commerce official ribbon cutting ceremony for a […]

New Exhibit Celebrates the Women of the Santa Barbara Harbor
By Sigrid Toye   |   April 2, 2024

In keeping with the celebration of March 2024 as Women’s History Month (spoiler alert!) this column is going to contain some seriously shameless bragging! At the close of this month I’d like to send the memo that, both in a professional capacity and as volunteers, every month of any year Santa Barbara women make huge […]

“ICE BEAR:” Cool New Exhibit Comes to the SB Maritime Museum
By Sigrid Toye   |   February 13, 2024

There is something very exciting happening at the Santa Barbara Maritime Museum! Of course, there are always exciting things going on at SBMM, however this is something very special to be enjoyed (and loved!) by the entire family. Having opened on Wednesday, February 8th, the Maritime Museum’s new exhibit, ICE BEAR, puts on display a […]

The Mystic Whaler: A Schooner for the Schools and Community
By Sigrid Toye   |   December 12, 2023

Hello Santa Barbara! There’s a new charity in town. Organizations devoted to charitable endeavors are the beating heart of our generous community, but this foundation brings something very special into the mix. Officially designated as the Central Coast Ocean Adventure Foundation (CCOAF) its main venue is a 110-foot-tall ship called the Mystic Whaler, areplica of […]

Annual Event Brings Crowds, Sun, and Sailing
By Sigrid Toye   |   September 19, 2023

On the first weekend after Labor Day, the Santa Barbara Yacht Club (SBYC) members gathered for the 19th year to raise funds in support of VNA Health’s mission of caring with compassion. The Charity Regatta took place on Saturday, September 9, 2023, celebrating both VNA’s 121st year history of compassionate caring as well as the […]

John E. Profant Foundation: Fiesta Finale Spotlights the Foundation’s Support for the Arts
By Sigrid Toye   |   August 29, 2023

Brightly-colored ruffles rim the hem of traditional Spanish dress, fluttering fans stir the air, the strum of guitars, clicking castanets, and high-heeled shoes are all reminders that August has been a special time in Santa Barbara with the celebration of Old Spanish Days! Music, dance, and vaquero traditions have had their day with the Fiesta […]

Charity Regatta: Yacht Club Prepares for Another Race Towards Support
By Sigrid Toye   |   August 29, 2023

The Santa Barbara Yacht Club (SBYC) has a beloved, fun-filled tradition of racing boats and raising funds through its annual Charity Regatta, this year on Saturday, September 9 from 11:30 am until 7 pm. The event is in support of the community care programs and services of VNA Health. The annual Charity Regatta, hosted by […]

Yacht Club and VNA Take Sail in 18th Annual Regatta
By Sigrid Toye   |   September 27, 2022

After a week of sizzling hot weather followed by the remains of tropical storm Kay complete with Florida-style humidity, the Santa Barbara Yacht Club (SBYC) community gathered to raise funds in support of VNA Health’s mission of caring with compassion. The 18th Annual Charity Regatta took place on Saturday, September 10, 2022, celebrating both VNA’s […]

Dr. Deborah S. Foster
By Sigrid Toye   |   May 10, 2022

On a recent Santa Barbara spring morning, with early clouds with a chill in the air, Dr. Deborah Smilovitz Foster and I sat down together at Pierre Lafond in Montecito. The red umbrellas were up in anticipation of the sun’s appearance as we sipped our tea and chatted. It soon became apparent that I was […]

Lola Blanche
By Sigrid Toye   |   March 22, 2022

One of the gems presented in the short film program of the 2022 Santa Barbara International Film Festival was a 13-minute beautifully shot piece titled Kissy and the Shark helmed by writer/director Lola Blanche. In its brief running time, the film covers a myriad of topics that include nuanced views of interpersonal relationships, humanity’s deep […]

James Claffey
By Sigrid Toye   |   March 15, 2022

The iconic multilevel campus of the historic Santa Barbara High School was my destination to meet James Claffey, English teacher extraordinaire. An instructor at the Visual Arts and Design Academy (VADA) division of the school he was highly recommended by a most reliable source: one of his students! In an attempt to make a timely […]

A Letter of Appreciation for Our Schools
By Sigrid Toye   |   November 9, 2021

It’s autumn in Santa Barbara and the landscape is painted with a golden glow as falling sycamore leaves carpet the ground. Halloween is just around the corner. And, at long last our kids are settled back in school and ready to celebrate the season. During these uncertain times, “back in school” has become an event […]

Cate Head of School Ben Williams
By Sigrid Toye   |   April 15, 2021

What more can I possibly say about the nationally and internationally lauded Cate School located in the hills above Carpinteria overlooking the ocean? So much has already been written about this excellent 9th through 12th grade co-educational college preparatory school that offers a rigorous academic yet broad-based curriculum and an all-embracing student life. Cate’s diverse […]

Joel Reed, Head of School, Howard School
By Sigrid Toye   |   December 3, 2020

I have been writing this column for years and I wonder how I could have missed a visit to the Howard School, the oldest operating private school in Santa Barbara. Once located on San Ysidro Road in Montecito, the 1934 designed campus, now the Laguna Blanca Lower School, is a community landmark. On a crisp […]

Lynne Olerich, Montecito Union Reading Intervention Program Specialist
By Sigrid Toye   |   October 13, 2020

On a pleasantly balmy Tuesday afternoon, somewhere between the way too cold or searing desert heat of our current weather, I had the opportunity to spend some socially distant, in-person, fully masked time with Montecito Union School’s reading specialist, Lynne Olerich. Our conversation included her tenure at Montecito Union, her journey from Rutherford, New Jersey […]

Amy Alzina, Superintendent and Principal, Cold Spring School
By Sigrid Toye   |   August 20, 2020

As my fingers tap the keyboard I’m reminded of an observation about coping in the world of the new normal: “Somehow it feels like we’re building the airplane while it’s in the air.” How true that is, not only now but possibly for the foreseeable future. Santa Barbara’s Fiesta parade, as an example, reimagined and […]

All Saints’ Padric Davis
By Sigrid Toye   |   April 2, 2020

Entering the campus of All Saints-by-the-Sea Parish School was actually a homecoming of sorts for a variety of reasons, the most recent being that our granddaughter, now 10 and a big fifth grader, attended the Parish School as a toddler. Not that long ago she could be seen hopping around the playground laughing, playing, and […]

Amy Alzina: Cold Spring School
By Sigrid Toye   |   February 13, 2020

Containing myself from shameless bragging about the outstanding schools in our community is something that is extremely difficult to do! I’ve had the good fortune to visit quite a few of them over the last few years – from preschool to high school – and there’s never been a moment where I haven’t been impressed, […]

Christina Broderick: Head of School, Marymount
By Sigrid Toye   |   November 26, 2019

On a beautiful fall day, after the lazy days of summer had passed and schools were back in session, I made my way to the Marymount campus situated above the city. The winding roads of Santa Barbara’s Riviera community, the views of the ocean and the Channel Islands in the far distance, was a precursor […]

El Montecito Early School’s Director
By Sigrid Toye   |   May 16, 2019

On a beautiful sunny Saturday, Suzy Dobreski and I met on the deck of the Santa Barbara Yacht Club. It was one of those “see-forever” days, and as she was kind enough to spend a few hours of her weekend with me, we decided a location with an ocean view might be the ideal place. […]

Joel Weiss: Head of School
By Sigrid Toye   |   February 28, 2019

On a recent sunny day, I stopped by Crane Country Day School for a visit. It was one of those special days when the entire school was out on the quad being served a potpourri of luncheon delights. Food stands, tended by kids and parent-volunteers, burgeoned with a huge variety of offerings: everything from salads, […]

In Praise of Pam Herzog and the MUS Chorus
By Sigrid Toye   |   December 20, 2018

The 2018 holiday season is finally upon us and preparations are now being made for the arrival of Santa Claus and the gifts of love and laughter he leaves behind. If Santa has his magic iPhone plugged in at the North Pole, what very special transmission might he be hearing from Santa Barbara? If you […]

Wendy Foster
By Sigrid Toye   |   December 20, 2018

Outside Wendy Foster‘s signature store in Montecito’s upper village, the tables were completely occupied, but I was lucky enough to find a spot under a tree dressed in the colors of the fall season. From my perch, I could appreciate the park’s green lawn, the tables nearby under which a few furry friends had made […]

MUS Foundation Kick-Off Dinner
By Sigrid Toye   |   November 15, 2018

An open garden gate and lively chatter from inside the house greeted me as I made my way across the lawn to the Montecito home of Cate and Matt Stoll. Hostess Cate welcomed me and we entered the garden, where overhead lanterns glittered and tables surrounded the pool for the evening’s 160 dinner guests. A […]

The Mentor of Mt. Carmel
By Sigrid Toye   |   October 18, 2018

Fall is in the air! Summer’s over and “Back to School” shopping days are gone. Books and school supplies have made their way into the classroom, and the 2018-19 school year is well underway. I’m ready to begin the new school year too, visiting some of the talented teachers and administrators in Montecito and Santa […]

Dr. Surber of Laguna Blanca Lower School
By Sigrid Toye   |   May 31, 2018

As I entered the parking area on the Laguna Blanca Lower School campus, everything looked as I remembered it at the end of the 2016-17 school year. Children were happily playing, staff were all present and accounted for, spring flowers could be seen placed artistically in the carefully pruned landscaping that surrounds the perimeter of […]

Kindergarten Bird House Project
By Sigrid Toye   |   April 26, 2018

It seems spring is in the air. Hopefully, this is a sign that this year’s unpredictable, chaotic winter will have waved goodbye to us forever. The hard work continues unabated, and slowly Montecito is finding its footing once again – and our community’s schools are no exception. I recently drove to Cold Spring School to […]

A Tale of Two Schools
By Sigrid Toye   |   March 8, 2018

The last couple of months have been, well, to put it mildly, a massive challenge. As a result of the Thomas Fire, some of us have been impacted by loss, many others by smoke inhalation or voluntary and mandatory evacuations, along with ensuing respiratory issues. Then, within a few days, tragedy struck again with the […]