Sunday, April 6, 2014

Visiting Cambria (and Surroundings) in the Central Coast of California

From the Los Angeles area to Cambria in the Central Coast California, we have to drive north through the Ventura area, the Santa Barbara region, to the San Luis Obispo region, a driving trip of around 4 1/2 hours.

The Central Coast is usually chilly, but this visit, it's been warm and picture-perfect. "Central Coast" evokes images of seashore and bluffs, and stretches of vineyards. There are many wineries in the Central Coast, and wine tasting is a favorite tourist activity,

During this visit to Cambria, we broke the drive by having lunch at Brophy's Restaurant in Santa Barbara. Brophy's has excellent clam chowder and views of the harbor.

Cambria is a seaside community with a population of around 6,500. Because it's a tourist destination, it has a number of good restaurants and cute shops and antique stores. I am always amused when I read Cambria's slogan: Where the Pines Meet the Sea -- although it's true that there is a pine forest in Cambria and the sea is right there.

Yesterday, we decided to visit the Sycamore Mineral
Springs in Avila, which we haven't seen in years. We were surprised to find the place developed with more lodging, restaurants, shop, and a more elaborate Spa Menu. For years, the place has had  hot tubs located against a hill in the midst of sycamore trees; it's very relaxing to sit in that hot tub and soak in the mineral water.

From Sycamore springs, we drove to Avila Beach, which has also grown. This site where Port San Luis Obispo is, now has many huge estates, hotels, plus a lovely golf course.

 We drove to San Luis Obispo to see the movie, Noah, which isn't that good, dear Readers. It's like the Bible met Conan the Barbarian. (A few years ago, I saw a documentary speculating on who the real Noah was, and that was infinitely better; that program talked about a man from what is now Iraq who survived a big storm that wiped out his local place.)

Onward: After the movie, we had dinner at The Range in Santa Margarita.  Santa Margarita is even smaller than Cambria; it looks like a ghost town with old wooden buildings from wild West days; but it has this wonderful restaurant, The Range, which has been written about and which is somewhat famous. Every time we're there, the place is always crowded, although they always accommodate you right away.

So far that's what we've done. The Central Coast of California has more to offer. You can go hiking, biking, kayaking, clamming, surfing; there's the Hearst castle, lighthouses, and other places to visit as well. But what I really like about the place is that it's not crowded like the cities; it still feels provincial (not in an insulting way but in a restful, rustic way) even though it has all the amenities - good lodging, restaurants, shops, entertainment.

 Read also
Vinaka Fiji, We had a Wonderful Time

This is all for now,

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