Our short getaway to Cambria started off as any vacation for us usually does, leaving later than planned due to unexpected last minute errands and shopping, but traffic was fairly light as we made our way up the coastal route on Wednesday and we made good time. Our hotel, booked the night before, was right on the cliffs in the most popular area of Cambria, Moonstone Drive. Off season pricing was very attractive.
The tide was going out and it was quite windy, but we luckily were very close to a beach access staircase from the boardwalk on the cliff. This boardwalk goes for miles in either direction.
We had a nice view of the ocean from the hotel. Cambria holds a Scarecrow contest in October and this lady scarecrow posed outside the driveway.
Down on the sand, kids were climbing the rocks and there were a number of strollers enjoying the late afternoon on the packed sand. Dogs were not allowed on the beach, which I appreciated.
Told you it was windy! We wandered on the beach and then rested a bit before thinking about dinner. Luckily an internet search showed a good option 100 feet away--a dinner house called the Sea Chest.
We sat outside at the firepit with our drinks while we waited for a table--it was a very popular place at peak dinner hour. I popped across the road to get another shot of the ocean and setting sun.
Terrible lighting for photos but I wanted to show the business cards people have stuck up on the ceiling for decades, so many brown with age. They were also stuck in the lampshades over the tables. We had a lovely dinner including dessert.
I caught the sunset with a crescent moon and a gull before the light went.
We enjoyed the free breakfast the next morning before heading into Cambria proper--the town is not large and we parked and poked around some of the little shops, had lunch in a Mexican Restaurant and then drove around the area a bit, revisiting the Cambria Pines Inn, where we had stayed 30 years before! In the afternoon we drove further north--I had wanted to tour the Las Piedras Lighthouse, but we were too late for the guided tour. We passed by Hearst Castle and saw the zebra herds, and the great house on the hill, which we had toured before. We turned off the road to stretch our legs and see the elephant seals north of San Simeon.
These were all juveniles, according the the Park Ranger,who for whatever reason had all crowded onto this smaller beach. Beyond the rocks seen at the upper left there was a much larger and wider stretch of beach.
There were some animals in the water at the surfline and nearby in the kelp beds, but most were lying about on the sand, using their flippers to throw sand over themselves as they lounged. There were some who became irritated with other seals getting too close and some posturing and barking by the larger males, but no fighting. Fortunately the seals were many feet below the boardwalk on the cliff so we were not in danger. However, in the parking lot we did observe some clueless tourists who were feeding the squirrels and gulls and allowing their toddlers to pet the squirrels! Incredible luck no one was bitten. We returned to our hotel and I had a long nap before we found a local grill for dinner and watched the Dodgers on the big screens. On our last morning, we went back into town for breakfast. I chose the Creekside Restraurant. While there was no actual creek visible, we sat outside on the patio and enjoyed a good meal.
These Dias de la Muertas scarecrows saw us out.
Grant had to do some computer work before we finished packing up and I took another stroll down the boardwalk, heading south.
The tide was in and there were a couple of surfers out.
I walked far enough to come to an estuary. Lots of different birds were visible. A flash of white caught my eye...
A long-legged heron or crane was busy hunting breakfast. As I made my way back toward the hotel, I got a shot of the typical rolling hills of the central California. coast, covered in dry brush and Oak trees. Cambria has stayed a small town/resort area due to the lack of fresh water resources in this isolated area.
Grant joined me for one last selfie before we checked out.
It was a lot less windy! On the way back home, we stopped in Pismo Beach to visit my best friend Toni and her husband Dan and give them the housewarming present I made, a little quilted tablemat made from four patches (which I have shown before but share again).
They said they loved it. Dan always expressed amazement at how I come up with the colors and arrangement. Experience and good designers to learn from, I'll always say! These were leftover four patch square in squares from the Go Four It quilt. It was a wonderful getaway and coming home on Friday meant two more days to enjoy before the real world called again. I'm hoping more short breaks like this are in our future.