With Summer in full swing, I thought I’d give you a short mini-in-between episode about one of my favorite places in California, Santa Barbara. Enjoy!
In the 1870s, eucalyptus trees were planted on the grounds of what would become known as the American Riviera in Santa Barbara, California. With the arrival of the rail line in 1897, tourists began to venture into the area, and in 1913 the Flying A studio was busy turning out silent movies in the complex they built in the area of Mission, State, Padre, and Chapala Streets in Santa Barbara.
By the time they closed in 1922, Flying A produced more than 1200 silent films, primarily Westerns, adaptations of popular novels and stage plays, slapstick comedies, and more.
According to the Lompoc Record, from 1912 to 1919, Santa Barbara was considered the film capital of the world.
Meanwhile, the eucalyptus trees in the Riviera were flourishing, and the grounds around them were home to a state school. Just across the road, James Warren, President of the County National Bank, built dormitories and several ten-room houses and cottages on his property to house faculty and students.
By 1917 the student housing proved unsuccessful, and Mr. Warren announced plans to develop a cottage hotel to cater to the growing tourism market. On February 2, 1918, El Encanto Hotel opened for business. From 1933 to 1950, El Encanto enjoyed increased popularity as a Hollywood hideaway hosting such luminaries as Clark Gable, Carole Lombard, and Hedy Lamarr.
Over the years, the hotel changed ownership, and in 2018 LVMH Moet Hennessy Louis Vuitton acquired Belmond Ltd. The hotel became, El Encanto, a Belmond Hotel.
The eucalyptus trees remain, and this year a pair of red-tailed hawks put on a show as they raised their young in a tall tree in front of the pool, overlooking the Pacific Ocean.
Through the guidance of General Manager Janis Clapoff, this iconic hotel remains an essential destination for the creative and creatively inspired. At El Encanto, guests experience California through scrumptious, locally inspired cuisine, uplifting wellness experiences, classes in the visual arts, and an outstanding literary series.
On August 1, the El Encanto Lunch With An Author Literary Series presents novelist and literary scholar Bruce Holsinger. Bruce is the author of the USA Today and Los Angeles Times best-selling novel The Gifted School, which is currently in development as a TV series with NBC/Universal Television. His most recent novel, The Displacements, was hailed by the New York Times as “hypnotic, and a thorough translation to fiction of what it can feel like to live right now.”
In 2022, I chose Abdulzarak Gurnah’s Afterlives and Bruce Holsinger’s The Displacements as my two outstanding literary fiction novels.
I hope you will join me at El Encanto for lunch with Bruce, followed by our conversation about his writing and The Displacements.
These literary events require a reservation and prepayment. Please call our Concierge Team at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 805 845 5800.
I hope to see you there!
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