Dear Family, Friends, and Diary,
I ended the last diary hinting about "exciting travel and new experiences". I don't think Cambria qualifies, but that's what we have. We have visited the beach town a number of times before and decided it would be a way to ease back into travel. Now I will try to make it seem new and exciting.
Normally, we stay up above town in a large resort that offers special deals to Fresno folks, but this time we opted for a stay on Moonstone Beach, Cambria's piece of California's sandy beaches. There are a dozen beach hotels, motels, inns, and resorts and we selected the Pelican Inn pretty much by random. The inn was clean, friendly, and a bit tired, but the view was great. A recommendation? Not so much.
We were on a bit of a schedule, since Super Bowl was starting in just a couple hours, so we dropped into Moonstone Beach Bar and Grill. Another clean, friendly, and a bit tired tour stop. Again, maybe not so much a recommendation. (By the way, the Kansas City Chiefs won over the Philadelphia Eagles. Since our 49ers were not playing, we rooted for KC since they at least wore red.)
The next morning, we had to decide what to do, starting with breakfast. We chose "The Cow Tipper", for its cute name and just-up-the-road convenience. The simple place featured a surprisingly interesting menu. A recommendation!
After eating, we wandered past the succulent plantings that seem to be everywhere in the area. I suppose they need moderate sun, plenty of rain, and limited care. A good description of Cambria itself.
From Moonstone Beach, we drove back into West Cambria where we found Cambria Coffee Roasting Company, another recommendation! And across the street is Red Moose Cookie Company, an establishment we have visited on earlier trips. They have a wide range of some of the best cookies anywhere, so is definitely a recommendation.
Shops were not quite open yet in town, so we drove south to Harmony, a town famous for their cows, a tiny human population (18 people), a small wedding chapel, a glass blower, and Harmony Pottery Works. We recommend the Pottery Works, although we came up empty-handed on this visit. Afterwards, I took pictures of the old truck, old store, and current crop of succulents. That's just what one does in Harmony.
From Harmony, it was back to East and West Cambria for a little shopping. Mostly, it was just browsing in a few art and craft galleries. We looked at ceramics, pottery, furniture, clothes (Marianne), kitsch, and art. We bought a lazy susan, a Valentine's gift (for Marianne), and a scarf. The best part may have been the conversations with shop keepers, especially Piper at Mission Gallery. She was a delight to talk with and we all enjoyed the conversation time granted by a slow tourist season.
After shopping, it was time for our lunch-dinner. Piper had recommended Madeline's and it proved a real hit. The French-inspired menu made decision-making difficult, but we managed.
With so many calories, we needed exercise, so we went for a walk on the Moonstone Beach boardwalk. Along the way, we saw a few flowers, kids in a tide pool, egrets, and not-too-dramatic ocean waves. The Moonstone Beach boardwalk is a clear recommendation.
The next morning we were out early, starting with coffee and cinnamon rolls at the Coffee Roasting Company. Good enough to be health foods. Recommendations.
From there it was check-out and hit the road over the green coastal hills to Paso Robles. Across the Central Valley traffic was reasonably light, other than 15 minutes waiting for road construction. We also needed a half-hour charge at Kettleman City, a two-part Tesla Supercharger station with about 90 stalls, one of the largest in the world.
Back home, we settled into our routines. I finished a puzzle. Marianne checked her art studio. We both did our screen things. I visited Vern and Joan. Marianne shopped to refill the refrigerator. She cooked. We ate. Our "new and exciting travel" faded in hours. That's why I made this diary.
Stay tuned for more excitement and recommendations.
John and Marianne