The Way You Make Me Feel
I was born in the 1970s (very late 70s I'd like to add) and I'm not afraid to admit I'm a huge fan of Michael Jackson's music. I would watch his concerts on TV and dream of being the girl in the crowd he sang I Just Can't Stop Loving You to on stage, still to this day I proudly rap that bit in Black or White every time it comes on the radio (by radio I mean my Michael Jackson playlist) and I belt out my all time favourite song Man in the Mirror with formidable gusto. I've watched Moonwalker more times that I care to imagine and was also lucky enough to see the man himself on tour at Wembley Stadium.
Of course not even I am foolish enough to comment on the controversial stories that are part of Michael Jackson's life but as far as I'm concerned, and as far as musical talent goes, there's a reason he's called The King of Pop. I for one am very excited to snoop around the ranch he called home. It’s Human Nature after all right?
The Neverland Valley Ranch
This is perhaps the most recognisable image of the Neverland Valley Ranch. Reminiscent of the station at Walt Disney World, this steam train station house is accessed via an immaculate double staircase and I’m very pleased to see that the original, famous floral clock centrepiece still remains today. One of only a few obvious reminders of who this ranch home once belonged to.
You might think a steam train in your garden is in Bad taste but in a ranch with a total area of approximately 3,000 acres, of which only 37 acres are in use, a steam train could almost be deemed a necessity rather than a luxury to transport you around.
Named Katherine after Jackson’s mother, the train would transport you around the estate from the main residence itself to the 50 seat movie theatre and theme park which were approximately a quarter of a mile away.
The main residence has a striking French-Normandy style and was designed by architect Robert Altevers and built by nationally recognised William Bone, founder and CEO of Sunrise Colony Company. Originally called the Sycamore Valley Ranch, the name the estate has reverted to once again, Michael fell in love with this place back in the 1980’s. Staying there as a guest with Sir Paul McCartney for the filming of the Say Say Say video, Jackson had the opportunity to buy the ranch in 1988 whilst on tour and couldn’t say no.
Having taken ownership, Jackson renamed the property Neverland after the fantasy island in Peter Pan. In an interview with Larry King shortly after his death, brother Jermaine Jackson explained that Michael wanted to create a happy and carefree environment to have fun in, compensating for the fact that his own childhood was lost to the stage.
The original home was beautifully crafted and although it has undergone some remodeling before hitting the market, many original features remain. Lookin’ Through The Windows, the estate is surrounded by meticulously landscaped gardens and the views include a four acre lake complete with waterfall, incredible pastoral views and indeed magnificent mountain views, including Mount Katherine, again named after Jackson’s mother.
The showbiz stories from the house are perhaps as famous and fascinating as the former owner himself. Throwback to 1991 and you might Remember the Time when just beyond the master suite you could see a gardenia - draped gazebo which was set up to host the wedding of Elizabeth Taylor to her 8th husband Larry Fortensky.
A lavish affair as you would expect, high profile guests included Liza Minnelli, Eddie Murphy, Nancy Reagan (then President Ronald Reagan was unable to attend), George Hamilton, Quincy Jones and Macaulay Culkin.
A clear romantic venue, Love Never Felt So Good for Miko Brando also, son of the late Marlon Brando, who married at the Neverland Ranch with Michael as best man. Miko was Jackson’s former bodyguard and security guard and it was only after his father Marlon’s death that details of his unlikely friendship with Michael appeared. Marlon Brando would refer to Neverland as his second home.
The 6 bedroom 12,000 square foot main residence with attached staff quarters is nestled between the property’s two lakes. The ranch is also home to an additional 21 structures including two guest houses, one with four bedrooms and another with two. Perfect for when you are ready to tell your guests to Beat It after a long day.
Rolling hills, man made water features and lakes complete with swans have replaced the theme park and zoo. There’s even rumours of the odd llama or two remaining up residence. And whilst the Scream inducing rides may be long gone, there’s still fun to be had in the swimming pool, basketball court and tennis court.
Now that Neverland, or Sycamore Valley Ranch, is officially on the market, any remaining hopes that the estate would become a Graceland-esque tourist attraction for fans who Never Can Say Goodbye, are dashed once more.
If you are hoping for a guided tour courtesy of listing agents Sotheby’s International Realty Montecito then think again. Aware that superfans will be desperate to get inside their idol’s former home, any inquisitive buyers will be subject to strict financial background checks before being permitted to look. That firmly rules me out then unless I suddenly become a very Smooth Criminal, very quickly.
So how much is a luxury property like this worth? Well, You Are Not Alone in thinking that it would be impossible to put a price tag on a piece of real estate with such modern historical significance. You would however, be wrong. $100 million is all you need to be able to call this spectacular Santa Barbara ranch your own.
Whether you're a fan of the previous owner or not, there's no denying that this is a serious piece of Californian real estate. If you're looking for a luxury ranch home ready to move in to and enjoy, This Is It.
Michael Jackson, The King of Pop.
Michael Joseph Jackson (August 29, 1958 – June 25, 2009) was an American singer, songwriter, record producer, dancer, and actor. His award winning career as the King of Pop and his contributions to music and dance truly transformed the face of pop music and popular culture as we know it.
His successes and achievements are ridiculously plentiful and career highlights include being awarded 13 Grammy Awards, being the first artist to have five singles reach No. 1 from the same album (1987's Bad) and having the greatest selling album in history (Thriller). A double inductee into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame for both his work with the Jackson 5 and as a solo artist, music just doesn't produce artists with this type of career success and longevity any more.
Tour Michael Jackson’s Neverland Ranch
To see more of the Neverland Ranch, check out this video produced for CNN's Larry King Live who got exclusive access inside Michael Jackson's California home.
CNN's Larry King Live exclusive access inside Michael Jackson's Neverland
Los Olivos, California
Dating back to the 1860s, Los Olivos is located in the northeast part of the Santa Ynez Valley and is one of the most authentically charming areas you could possibly imagine. With a population of circa 1000 there's a risk you'll drive through this tiny town and miss it completely, but you'll know you're in the right place when you see the iconic flagpole standing proud at the hub of the community, confirming your arrival.
Los Olivos is located in the heart of wine country and this little town with a big heart takes its vineyard surroundings very seriously. There are dozens of wine tasting rooms in the town, typically charging $10 a head. I for one am struggling to think of anything I'd rather spend a couple of hundred bucks doing.
Victorian houses, vineyards, lavender farms, orchards, ranches and horse trails all surround laid back Los Olivos and locals wearing cowboy hats and jeans gathering on wooden porches is a most familiar sight. A place this enchanting is naturally going to attract some celebrity neighbours and local residents include (and have included) Noah Wyle, David Crosby, Bo Derek, Steven Segal, Seth Green and David Hasselhoff to name but a few.
Sotheby's International Realty - Montecito
The stunning Sycamore Valley Ranch is listed on Homeadverts with Sotheby's International Realty - Montecito. Through this office, Sotheby's International Realty represents fine homes, luxury estates and condominiums throughout the entire Santa Barbara South Coast, which includes the communities of Carpinteria, Summerland, Montecito, Santa Barbara, Hope Ranch and Goleta.
Suzanne Perkins & Harry Kolb
If there was a Rock and Roll Hall of Fame for real estate then Suzanne Perkins and Harry Kolb from Sotheby's International Realty - Montecito, the selling agents for the Sycamore Valley Ranch, would be up there with the best.
Suzanne Perkins has had phenomenal success in the real estate industry. In January of 2007, Suzanne represented the sellers in the largest non-commercial transaction in California history. The properties involved, the El Cojo and Jalama Ranches, were listed for a staggering combined total of $155 million. Just one month later, Suzanne represented both seller and buyer in the highest value residential oceanfront transaction in Santa Barbara history, beating only her own record.
Harry Kolb has more than 30 years real estate experience in Montecito, Santa Barbara and Hope Ranch, and has sold more estate properties in the area than any other agent. Considered as an authority in the Santa Barbara market, Harry has a true passion for marketing and architecture as well as strict confidentiality practices, qualities which combine perfectly to make him a preferred realtor in a community of world-class properties.
USD 100.000.000 I Sotheby's International Realty - Montecito
- This listing at 5225 Figueroa Mountain Road on Homeadverts.com
- View all listings for California on Homeadverts.com
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