Day 1

drive Los Angeles to Cambria
Our leisurely 4 hour drive along picturesque Highway 1 starts in Santa Monica. We make our way along scenic coast through Malibu, Ventura, Santa Barbara, Solvang, Pismo Beach. Finally, just past Morro Bay, we arrive in Cayucos, a small seaside village considered the last of the California “beach towns”. We stretch our legs with a short stroll down the town’s one street through a mix of small shops catering to locals and visitors. Cass House, home of the founder of Cayucos, is open to the public. Several restaurants offer views of the shimmering blue water, famous long pier and broad sandy beach. Beautiful clear sunny day. Families play on the beach, dogs are welcome, young folks hang at a weathered fish shack near the seaside, while others beachcomb. Peaceful ranchlands, with cattle grazing on undulating hills dotted with oak, backdrop the town.

 349 miles / 562 km 

noon lunch Schooner’s Wharf Cayucos
A nautical theme reminiscent of Central Coast’s early history: sailors and fishermen. Opened 1993, Schooner’s is known for views, unforgettable dining experience, and signature cocktails. Menu features fresh seafood, steaks, fish & chips, local Hearst Ranch burgers and daily specials. While enjoying views of pristine Estero Bay from the outdoor deck we order the house ”specials”. Our friendly waitress, who has grown up here, says people living in this coastal area are either “Surfers” or “Cowboys”. A fellow diner confirms this, pointing out that ranching or sea occupations sustain the population. Have no room for “Cayookie” their renowned desert — maybe next time. Great stop.

1:30 pm arrive Harmony tiny artisan town, population 18, located north of Cayucos on Highway 1
Buildings here are remains of long ago working dairy; interiors currently being renovated for new uses. Small visitor center contains maps and details of what is to come, plus free coffee/tea. Reminders of earlier uses everywhere, especially cows, both real and sculptured. Old brick walkways wind among old dairy buildings. Small chapel for intimate weddings or memorial services seats about a dozen people on four benches. A pottery shop and an artisanal glass blower open to visitors. We watch a newbie learning about glasswork. Very demanding delicate work!

We drive up winding road to hilltop winery Harmony Cellars, one of 10 wineries that make up the Pacific Coast Wine Trail. Enjoy informative visit/tour of the winemaking facility before sampling wines. Owner/winemaker Chuck Mulligan regales us while we taste. His great grandfather established a dairy operation here in the 1800s, the family has lived in the area ever since. He is 4th generation on this land, cousins own surrounding properties. The modern, light style wine is very drinkable alone or when paired with food. They are affordable, sold exclusively at the winery – with Club Members getting first dibs. Comfortable tasting room looks out to a patio, a rural setting with lots of comfortable spaces to perch. We are invited to relax and enjoy our wine out of doors – looking at the rolling green landscape, with village below, and black cows grazing in the fields. Plan in advance to attend winemaker dinners, blending parties or in season, music on the patio.

3 pm check into Blue Dolphin Inn spectacular Cambria Moonstone Beach oceanfront location
Sophisticated environment and accommodations provide amenities needed to relax and take in all the sights and sounds of Coastal California. 6 unique oceanfront specialty rooms showcase world locations where dolphins are found in abundance: the hotel’s way of celebrating these amazing creatures.

4 pm walk Moonstone Beach and Boardwalk gorgeous stretch of coastline directly across street from Inn
The boardwalk follows the cliffs, ideal for walking or jogging through the pines and cypress trees. From here we see waves crashing on the surf and watch sea lions swimming. At several points stairs lead down to the rocky beach for anyone wanting to dip their toes in the surf. We watch a beautiful sunset before leaving for dinner.

7 pm dinner Robin’s Restaurant
This best-of-all-worlds eatery has been a favorite with locals and visitors for 25 years. Located in older part of downtown where many boutique shops make for a pleasant stroll. Chilly tonight but the charming vine-covered patio is heated and cozy. Robin’s is one of those rare kitchens combining many different cuisines and doing them well by using farm-fresh, local ingredients. Some eclectic choices: Vietnamese spring rolls, Portobello and spinach lasagna, peach-glazed baby pork back ribs, Thai-influenced curries.

stay Blue Dolphin Inn
Only short ride back to the Inn after dinner. Even in the darkness drama of the coast can be seen and heard. We light the fireplace, review the day, select tomorrow’s breakfast, take relaxing bath in the Jacuzzi tub before heading off to la la land. Wonderful day.


Day 1 photos
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