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Heritage House’s Assisted-Living Community Sizzles with Family Atmosphere

Residents and their families and friends bond over barbecue and other special traditions

It’s Friday afternoon in the garden. Cocktails and cool drinks wait on the sideboard. Music is playing, signaling that the weekend is here. The barbecue is sizzling. And there is laughter — plenty of laughter. Kids are running underfoot, ice cream cones in hand. A big chocolate dog patiently waits to be petted. People of all ages are celebrating a beautiful Santa Barbara evening together.

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Sound like a good place to be? A place you want to invite your friends to? Like home? We sure hope so.

Every Friday at Heritage House, 5200 Hollister Ave., we host an informal happy hour at 4:05 p.m., just as the day is winding down. Every other Friday, we add a barbecue dinner with all the fixings. We promise a spread that will make you weak in the knees. Folks living here welcome their kids, grandkids and friends over for a sip of cheer, a great bite of food, and a hassle-free couple of hours to talk about the more important things in life: grandchildren being accepted to college, marriage plans for others, the new neighbors next door. It is a time to share the bits and pieces of daily news that add color to the day, and to our lives.

Our Friday night barbecues are one of the many traditions we started early on at Heritage House — one that is as important to our staff as it is to our families. We believe that personal connection makes life a richer place to live in. One of the best parts of our job is to create a place for that connection. Add some fun, good food and great laughs, and a humble day becomes memorable.

Heritage House prides itself on being one of the best assisted-living communities in Santa Barbara. Period. Started nine years ago by a local family with a dream to provide the type of care they would want for their own parents, it has grown and developed a character all its own. Its fabric is made up of its people, their histories, and our incredibly valuable staff. Our focus is on the care of our residents, but we intentionally make plenty of space in our home and our programming for the entire family.

We know we have done our job when we hear about how good our barbecue is, how beautiful our gardens are, how much fun everyone had at the Easter egg hunt, or how enjoyable the last summer carnival we held was. Our personal care, memory care and hospice programming is the bedrock of what we do, but it’s not the only focus of our residents’ lives. We want them to feel empowered. We want their families to feel welcome. We want to create a setting that invites and welcomes visitors with a smile. We want our residents to have the opportunity to again be the hosts for their own families and friends — especially when stopping by for a visit and a meal. We aim to be very different than any other assisted-living community you have heard about, until now.

Multiple generations of families are often sighted at Heritage House.
Multiple generations of families are often sighted at Heritage House. (Heritage House photo)

So back to the barbecue.

Bill McGeever, our president and head ‘cue man, and his trusty sidekick, dining services manager Nicole Ornelaz, promise all attendees a very special time. Consider this a personal invitation to join us on one of these upcoming Fridays. With recipes, rubs and sauces pulled from the best of his family’s Alabama recipes, McGeever mans a mean grill. Some of his sauces are so top-secret that no one is allowed in the kitchen while they are being created. Ornelaz matches him spoon for spatula, and brings out beautiful side dishes sourced from local ingredients. Lane Farms is close by and provides us with a bounty of salad, corn, strawberries and other farm-fresh treats. Dinner is often followed by cobbler — with fruit from Vincent Farms and Fair Hill Farms. Lip-smacking is a common sound around these parts.

Stop by when you have a chance. We can offer you a tour, answer your questions about assisted living, and give you chance to rest a spell in a place we are proud to call home. And if you can’t make the barbecue, stop by for lunch. With daily specials you may miss the sun setting, but you won’t leave hungry or without the information you need. We will also send you home with a bag of our homemade oatmeal cookies.

We want to be the neighbor you lean on when you are looking for assisted care, and if your loved one lives here, we want to be a part of your extended family.

Click here for more information about Heritage House, or call 805.967.2771.

— Julie Guajardo McGeever represents Heritage House.

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