the Cambria villages

The village of Cambria has two parts to it. There’s the East Village and the West Village.

CambriaTshirtIn the West Village you’ll find the long-established Linn’s restaurant, which serves old-fashioned hearty fare. They also have a gift shop just up the street. Across the street from Linn’s is Cambria Wildwood, a clothing store that has quite a variety, including, of course Cambria-themed shirts and T-shirts.

Up the street from there is a relative newcomer, the Tea Cozy. It’s British-themed, with plenty of souvenirs in honor of the Royal Family. They have marvelous teas and soups. In fact, they have a much wider menu, but that is what we’ve tried. That’s where we discovered Scottish tea, and it has since become the tea of our Saturday breakfasts. We pick up a box whenever we’re in Cambria.

In the West Village you’ll find Madeline’s Restaurant sharing a small building with the Cambria Wine Shop. We’ve never eaten at Madeline’s, but we always stop in at the wine shop to buy a nice bottle of local wine and some cheese and crackers for an evening after we have an early dinner.

Also in the West Village there’s the Main Street Grill, which has as good cheeseburgers and fries as you’ll find anywhere. Last week we discovered a charming clock shop at the far end of the West Village which contains an amazing variety of timepieces, where Terry had her watch strap, which had come off, reattached.

Of course that’s just scratching the surface. There’s many shops and multiple gourmet restaurants, such as the Sow’s Ear (in the East Village), which has a great reputation, and which we have never tried.

We’re creatures of habit, but we do enjoy our habits.


The tides are in our veins, we still mirror the stars…
—Robinson Jeffers

Terry and I don’t remember when we first visited Cambria. We agree that it has to be more than ten years ago. On our first visit we chose a motel more or less at random. It wasn’t the greatest choice. It’s not that it wasn’t a nice place, by any means. It’s just that the room was decorated with antiques and there was a sign saying, “Please do not sit on our beautiful antique bedspreads.” Say what?

The place was run by a husband and wife. The wife ran the front desk, and she was not terribly well-informed. We asked her about the Sea Chest restaurant two doors down. She said that they don’t take reservations and that you “just walk in.” She was right about the reservations part, but as for just walking in, it turns out that there is a long line when they open their doors at 5:30. It’s a place we’ve come to love, though, and much more about the Sea Chest on Wednesday.

We also asked the innkeeper about the trolleys that went into town. She said that there was no schedule, that you “just stand there and wait.” In our wanderings we discovered the White Water Inn, where there was a trolley schedule posted on the bulletin board and the innkeeper was well-informed. That is where we have stayed every visit since then. Innkeepers have changed over the years, but they have remained friendly and well-informed. We always stay in a room with a fireplace and Jacuzzi tub. Moonstone Beach is just steps away, across Moonstone Beach Drive.

One of the marvelous things about Cambria is that it changes little. The wine shop (more on that tomorrow) I believe has changed owners. The White Water Inn now has DVD players rather than VHS players, the TVs are now flat screen, and they provide wireless Internet access.

But in general the Cambria we visited all those many years ago is the same Cambria that we visited last week. It’s a marvelous place to relax, get away, and recharge.

And to make that primal connection with the ocean and the tides.


people unclear on the concept

My Facebook friend and high school classmate Dennis posted a meme on Facebook about tourists in Colorado who were known to ask the ranger, “At what elevation do the deer become elk?” That was bad enough, but a commenter said he used to work for an assistant DA, responsible for prosecuting cases on behalf of the rangers, who thought deer grew up into elk. (Speaking of Colorado, thoughts and prayers for those affected by the flooding in that state. And we grieve at the loss of life there.)

SeaStarThis reminded me of our visits to the Sea Star Cottage at Tomales Bay. The innkeeper told us of someone asking the ranger, “What time is the whale show?” Answer: “Whenever they want.” She also mentioned explaining to someone about the Sea Star, which we love and which sits over the bay at the end of a 50 foot walkway, and how at high tide it was over water, but at low tide there was no water. Question, “How often does this happen?” Um, twice a day? Ya see, that’s how the tides work.

When Terry and I took our Catalina/Ensenada cruise, the cruise director told the story of someone coming up to him while he was sitting on deck having a cup of coffee and saying, “So, what do you think the elevation is here?”

About four decks above sea level, I’d reckon.


Terry and I have developed a new routine for visiting my family in Southern California. Rather than taking I-5 and doing it all in a single day, we take U.S. 101 and break up the trip. Doing so means we’re far less inclined to feel like Dorothy when we get home:

Oh, but anyway, Toto, we’re home ….and I’m not going to leave here ever, ever again…

As my friend Tahoe Mom said to me once, “I-5 will do that to you.”

Going south we stay at the Apple Farm in San Luis Obispo, which serves the best down-home comfort food you’ll find anywhere. Last year we stayed in Oxnard on the way home. This year we stayed in Cambria – one of our favorite spots. Our time there was all too short, made even shorter due to sitting in traffic behind an overturned big rig on the 210. (You say “the” in front of freeway names in Southern California. In the S.F. Bay Area and Silicon Valley it’s considered improper.)

Nonetheless, we had a marvelous ocean view room at the Whitewater Inn, and we had a wonderful dinner at the Sea Chest, where they take neither reservations nor credit cards, but where the food is superb.

That short visit decided one thing for us: we know where we’re going for our vacation in October.

there’s an idea

When Terry and I were down in Southern California last week visiting my Dad and brother & sister-in-law, Bobbie, my sister-in-law, mentioned at breakfast that she and Brian were talking about visiting Ireland and Scotland in a few years. Terry and I have long talked about visiting Ireland, and I spontaneously, without consulting with Terry, told Bobbie to stay in touch with us as we might want to make the trip with them. I found out later that, fortunately, Terry was very much in agreement.

At dinner Bobbie asked us if we were serious, and I said that while I didn’t think that I could stand to travel with my other sister-in-law, I really thought that I would enjoy travelling with this one. The other sister-in-law would be Terry’s sister, who can be very uptight and regimented. As Terry said in an imagined conversation, “No, Julie we’re not getting up to do that 7 a.m. tour.” Bobbie and Brian are much more relaxed in the way they travel. And Bobbie was quite pleased that we wanted to make the trip with them.

I think it would be fun.


Terry and I spent two nights in Carmel last weekend. We’ve stayed other places in the Monterey Bay area, but never in Carmel proper. We were at the Sea View Inn, a marvelous little B&B between the village and the ocean.

We’re about an hour from the Monterey Peninsula, so I appreciated it that when I called to make reservations the innkeeper referred to us as local. She reiterated that when we arrived. What surprised me though was that the person who helped us at the hat shop in town said the same thing. Terry was looking for a fedora to go with her rain coat and found exactly what she was looking for. The shopkeeper gave us a 20% discount. 10% for being local and 10% for our anniversary. How nice is that?

My Carmel quibble

lonecypressThe village is pleasant and fun to walk, though some of the stores and restaurants may be a tad pricy and pretentious. But except for the far West and East ends of town all of the parking is parallel. I don’t do parallel.

New things and things I didn’t know

We took the 17 mile drive. I didn’t know that it was on the private property of the Pebble Beach resort, and that the cost is $9.75 to make the loop. Nor did I know that that is where the famous Lone Cypress is. But it was a marvelous drive with some spectacular coastline to enjoy.

Time at the ocean is always a good thing.


local radio

While we were at Ragged Point we listened to the local Cambria radio station, Magic 103. In addition to finally getting the correct pronunciation of Cambria, we heard an amazing mix of music, and without commercial interruption in the evenings. In the course of one afternoon and evening, we heard:

  • the theme from Exodus
  • Midnight at the Oasis
  • modern, upbeat renderings of classical works
  • Day is Done by Peter, Paul and Mary
  • Amazing Grace
  • the Ella Fitzgerald original of A Tisket a Tasket
  • Sinatra’s Here’s to the Winners
  • the theme from Chariots of Fire
  • The Carpenters (ARGH!)
  • big band music
  • a jazz cover of Mr. Bojangles
  • Nat King Cole, Tenderly
  • a marvelous rendition of As Time Goes By (Our song!)

and a lot more

That’s my kind of radio. (Sadly, we haven’t experienced that kind of eclectic mix listening online after coming home.)

getting it right

We’ve been going to Cambria for many years. We’ve always pronounced it came-bria, with the accent on the first syllable. While listening to the local Cambria radio station during our stay at Ragged Point I realized that I’ve been saying it wrong all this time. It’s kăm-bria, with the accent on the first syllable.

You know, I think I knew that. But I’m determined to make it stick this time. And my apologies to the good folks of Cambria.

slowing down

Our vacation choices often help us slow down and disconnect. That was the case on our Alaska cruise when the satellite internet connection was slow and expensive.

It was much the same at Ragged Point. I believe it was satellite there as well. The connection was slow, and the provider threatened to make it even slower if you hogged too much bandwidth. Add to that the fact that the only cell service was At&T and we are on Verizon. It made for a forced semi-unplug.

And that’s a Good Thing. Some things can wait until we get home.

(Yes, the blog continued as usual while we were away, but as you have no doubt figured out, this blog has been prerecorded for broadcast in this time zone.)

someplace new

We’ve been fond of Cambria, just north of Morrow Bay, for a very long time. We were telling our friends Raymond and Emily, proprietors of the Goose and Turrets Bed & Breakfast, about that and Raymond asked us if we were familiar with Ragged Point. We weren’t. They had a brochure of the place and it looked marvelous.

We spent three nights there last week, and it fully met our expectations. It’s about twenty miles north of Cambria and San Simeon. When we arrived the fog was thick and it formed a white wall at the edge of the cliff outside our window. It was only the next morning that we saw the gorgeous view of the Big Sur coast outside our window. The morning was gray, but by early afternoon we experienced the deep blues you see in this picture. The next day was gray all day, however, as was our drive home through Big Sur the following day.

Nonetheless, it was a marvelous getaway. The pace was slow and we had plenty of time to relax and unwind. We certainly would return.

Thank you, Raymond and Emily!