But let me back up. Montecito has always been popular with Hollywood stars, but it’s recently made headlines after winning the hearts of two very famous royals.
Before Meghan Markle and Prince Harry decided to call Montecito home, the only times I’d ever really heard about the California town — which is part of Santa Barbara — were on episodes of “The O.C.”
But everything changed in July 2020, when the Duke and Duchess of Sussex bought a $14.65 million home up in the hills of Montecito, complete with a pool, guest house, and tennis court. A spokesperson told Insider’s Mikhaila Friel that the couple had “settled into the quiet privacy of their community.” Another source told Vogue that Harry and Meghan “were both drawn to the smaller town of Santa Barbara, where they can integrate into the community while having some distance and privacy.”
Markle and Harry are in star-studded company. Oprah Winfrey, Ellen DeGeneres, Rob Lowe, Gwyneth Paltrow, and Katy Perry all have homes in Montecito. Ariana Grande also got married at her $6.75 million mansion in the neighborhood.
But Lowe recently claimed that Markle and Prince Harry had “heightened the level of interest” in the town.
But had Harry and Markle really changed life in Montecito? And what was it really like living in a tiny town packed with celebrities?
There was only one way to find out — hop on a train and go there myself.