No. of Recommendations: 0

There are several retirement communities in the Santa Barbara area where you pay an upfront fee (typically $100 K +) for an apartment and a monthly fee ($2-3 K). A number of people use such places as a second home or as a base for travel. This tends to be a cost effective way to live in this area, where property values are very high. Three highly rated places are Valle Verde and The Samarkand in Santa Barbara and Casa Dorinda in Montecito. Each offers a range of services from independent living through assisted living to full care. Meals are available. Julia Child lived at Casa Dorinda, as have other notables. Some folks buy adjoining units and have them converted into a single larger residence. Unless you insist on seasons, the weather is unbeatable (mid 70's in the summer, mid 60s in the winter). Caveat: Waiting lists can be several years long, especially for two bedroom apartments.

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