Tuesday, October 23 , 2018, 6:52 pm | Partly Cloudy 66º

 
 
 
 

Judy Foreman: Outdoor Marketplace Makes Summerland Feel Like a Trip Abroad

Bonita Beach, Botanik give customers an outside chance to shop with an innovative draw for locals and tourists alike

Rita Villa has reopened her fire-ravaged store, Bonita, across the street from her Beach shop. Click to view larger
Rita Villa has reopened her fire-ravaged store, Bonita, across the street from her Beach shop. (Judy Foreman / Noozhawk photo via iPhone)

[Click here for a related Noozhawk photo gallery.]

Although I’ve lived in Santa Barbara for more than 25 years, I’m still taken by surprise when summer traffic clogs all roads coming into Santa Barbara. In spite of June’s gloom, graduations and summer vacations always bring a deluge of visitors.

The popularity of Santa Barbara, which continues to be at the top of all lists for destination weddings, is also just a short drive from Los Angeles, and makes a weekend getaway by car a great idea.

As for us locals, we have to be more tolerant than we’re used to as we try to go about our usual business. We may feel as if we went to sleep in a placid town and woke up amid the hustle of West Los Angeles.

Not letting that deter me on a recent Saturday, I made my way slowly into Summerland, where Botanik and Bonita Beach were hosting an outdoor marketplace between their two Lillie Avenue businesses.

After jockeying for a parking spot — no doubt coveted by exasperated visitors who had gotten off Highway 101 at Padaro Lane, hoping for a side street to speed up their journey (good luck with that!) — I made my way to what was a fabulous array of merchandise that got my juices flowing.

The buzz was terrific, as was the ambience that owners Molly Hutto and Rita Villa had created to make you think you might be in Morocco, Turkey or Uzbekistan — countries renowned for their artisans specializing in traditional arts and crafts.

Both outdoor areas of the stores featured an array of choices to tempt me, from fresh flowers from Greenwell Floral, purple orchids, ceramics from Bestow, leather goods, textiles from Jacaranda Home and Instantique, jewelry, and a cornucopia of globally inspired home, garden and lifestyle items.

Oh, and some delicious specialty finger foods and mint-infused ice tea.

Botanik, 2329 Lillie Ave., one of our most beautiful home and garden stores, was overflowing with new merchandise. Its neighbor, Bonita Beach, 2325 Lillie Ave., has a very hip selection of beach-inspired merchandise for men and women.

Villa had something extra to celebrate as her new store, Bonita, across the street from her Beach shop, is now up and running — months after a fire engulfed the store and the Summerland Winery tasting room next door.

Her newly remodeled clothing and accessory boutique for women has new lines she is carrying ,and the addition of  small  accessory pieces of furniture (upholstered benches in Suzzani-inspired fabrics) complement her apparel.

The success of the marketplace event has encouraged the merchants to make this a regular occurrence throughout the summer.

My only advice is to get there early and don’t forget your patience — at least until the end of August when it can be easier to find a parking space.

Bonita is located at 2325 Lillie Ave. in Summerland. Click here for more information, or call 805.565.4848.

Botanik is located at 2329 Lillie Ave. Click here for more information, or call 805.565.3831.

— Noozhawk columnist Judy Foreman is a longtime local writer and lifestyles observer. She can be contacted at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address). Click here for previous columns. The opinions expressed are her own.

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