California’s central coast is probably some of the prettiest parts of California you’ll ever see. It lies northwest of Los Angeles County and south of San Francisco and San Mateo counties. Six counties make up the Central Coast: from south-to north, Ventura, Santa Barbara, San Luis Obispo, Monterey, San Benito, and Santa Cruz. But sometimes the best places are the little tourist towns such as Solvang, Cambria, Carmel by the Sea and more!
Ah, at last, vacation time. I’m not talking about an annual event either. The last vacation we took was for approximately 5 days, 7 years ago. With working at home and not having any real time off, 7 years was a stretch to say the least.
We all go through valleys and peaks in our lives. And we were in a valley for quite a few years and we saw life passing us by. Hey, we’re in our 60’s – if we don’t stop to smell the roses now, chances are we may never get to. The good Lord saw us through the valley and gifted us with the opportunity and means to buy a travel trailer. And we’ve been making the most of it! We are thrilled and never thought we’d be fortunate to ever own anything like it.
After a couple trial runs to learn the ins and outs of owning a trailer we were ready to go on vacation. We hit the road on May 16th, a Tuesday morning, traveling north to our destination for the first night, Goleta. On the bluffs overlooking the Pacific ocean, just north of Goleta (which is north of Santa Barbara), is a campground called El Capitan. We didn’t know the campground existed but found it on Google Maps looking for a place to stay near Solvang, a Danish community. We were pleasantly surprised!
We stayed on a knoll with a higher elevation than the rest of the campground and had these panoramic views of the Pacific ocean. The only bad thing was the wind. We seemed to have a lot of wind that night and I thought it was going to blow the trailer off it’s jacks!
We woke to a glorious morning and celebrated hubby’s birthday with a brunch and panoramic view before taking a couple of hikes along the path closer to the bluffs. Breathtaking views. And Charley seemed to like it too!
After breaking camp we headed to Solvang which is a must see tourist town with a heavy Danish influenced community. We did the things everyone wants to do when visiting a touristy town. We shopped, did a couple of wine tastings, stopped for fudge, cheese and more shopping!
Arriving at our second destination, Cambria at around 5:00 to 6:00 P.M. that evening, we set up camp in a campground just north of town called San Simeon State Park. Much to our delight this campground was better than we thought it would be. Our main goal was to hike the San Simeon trail, eat at our favorite restaurant, a bar and grill facing the Pacific on Moonstone Beach, walk along the boardwalk that runs the entire length of Moonstone Beach and stop by one of our favorite wineries, Fermentations.
Unfortunately, the San Simeon Trail had warnings about ticks and Lyme disease. With a narrow trail in some parts, both of us in shorts and Charley with a heart problem as it is, we decided it was not worth risking. And with the drought California suffered for so many years, Fermentations no longer carried the Ollaberry (sp) wine I like. These berries seem to only grow on the central coast. And last but not least, the restaurant had been upgraded and they placed Plexiglas around the patio as a windbreak and changed the seating. Dogs are not welcomed – even if planning to dine on the patio, but what I didn’t care for was the attitude of the staff. I found their mannerisms and formality a turn off.
But we did enjoy our hike along the boardwalk and got a few pictures on this glorious day (and no wind!). :- )
The following Saturday we broke camp again and headed to Morro Bay (the famous Morro Bay rock). Hubby had been dreaming of spending his birthday at Morro Bay and having Dente Moore Beef Stew with biscuits to reminisce past family vacations as a child.
Sadly we were disappointed by the campground which we found out had some weather damage – I’m not sure if it was flood – drought or what, but most of the trees had been cut down. With dry camping we decided we’d head back to where it was pretty – Cambria. So off we went.
I have some pics of the campground and some of the loveliest trees there, not to mention quail – they were all over!
After hearing about Harmony, CA – population of like 16 I believe, I wanted to stop by Harmony Cellars. Their wine was very good, the staff hospitable, dog friendly and great views of their beautiful valley! If you like wine-tasting I recommend that if you’re visiting the central coast, check out Harmony Cellars!
We found a great place in Cambria’s West Village for the best sandwiches (also dog friendly patio seating) and then took some time to drive up the coast toward Big Sur. We were able to get as far as Ragged Point and had to turn back due to a mountain slide that took out a large portion of the highway. It was an overcast day which I think added to the allure of the beautiful coastal views to the ocean below.
We broke camp on the 24th to head home and stopped by Morro Bay to grab something to eat and drink before hitting the road. We pulled into a lot with a bakery and other small stores across from the famous Morro Rock and much to hubby’s surprise was the Avalon displayed by the maritime museum. He rode that submarine to the ocean floor while on active duty. He just had to have a picture!
So now we’re thinking – where next? And of course, still learning about the trailer to have the best traveling adventures for the future…