This past weekend we drove up the coast to Cambria for the Art and Wine Festival. Since it was such a beautiful day on Friday we headed up early and stopped at the Monarch Butterfly Grove in Pismo Beach. I'm always impressed by the state parks when we drive up the coast, they had great docents there to give tours and answer questions for visitors. The monarch population is devastatingly down on the west coast so if you get the chance to visit this park you should definitely do it soon. Hopefully with conservation efforts they can bring the population back up like they were able to do with the sea otters.
We wandered around the Oceano Dunes and the beach while we were there. We saw lots of ducks and other birds hanging around in this beautiful spot. It looked like there was a great campground there that I might look in to for a future trip.
Next we drove up to Moonstone Beach in Cambria. I really enjoyed spending more time in this beautiful town with a slower pace than LA. Our hotel was right across the street from the beach and this beautiful boardwalk. So we were treated to gorgeous views and sunsets. We got to explore the tide pools and kept our eye out for whales, dolphins and otters.
This boardwalk and rocky coastline reminded me of the coast of Maine where I grew up.
Usually when we drive through Cambria I miss the chance to visit Ocean Heir where they've carried my little rock necklaces for 6+years. I chose a candle and card for a gift I needed while I was there. If you make the drive up or down the California Coast and are coming from a city it's good to remember a lot of places close earlier, so plan ahead so you don't miss out on the plans you make. My two favorite places to eat so far that I've tried were the Sow's Ear and Robin's Restaurant.
I love the bronze mermaid by their entrance!
Ocean Heir is part of the Garden Shed in Cambria where there were a bunch of shops and a coffee spot to check out. Grow Nursery drew me in with the amazing landscaping and succulents everywhere. I treated myself to a new ceramic pot by Mike Cone and a flowering air plant. They also had a great crystal collection to shop.
The reason for this winter trip to Cambria was to do a trunk show at Ebb & Flow. This is the oceanfront sister to Ocean Heir. The event was during the Art & Wine Festival so there was wine tasting to complement the shopping. I wanted to go home with everything in this shop from hats, scarves, sweaters and books. It was all totally my style. Le Grand Courtage was the winery that was in the shop. Her wine was delicious and it's available all over. They have a Rose and since the tennis team I play for is called We Play for Rose, I'll definitely be bringing some along to our next party.
This bench was under a cypress tree along the boardwalk across from our hotel. I was up early one morning so I found this bench for a perfect meditation spot all by myself with just the sound of the ocean and birds.
The sunsets over the coast never disappoint and if you visit any of the California Coast don't forget to make some time to enjoy at least one.
Since I was staying at Moonstone Beach I had to take a picture of some of my moonstone jewelry at the beach. I meant to take it with the stones on the beach but low tide was later in the day and it just didn't work out with our plans.
We heard there were lots of baby elephant seals at the Piedras Blancas Rookery this time of year so we stopped since I've only been here in the summer. There is a large public parking lot right off of Highway 1 near San Simeon and paths that you can walk on to view these giant elephant seals. There have also always been docents there to answer questions and tell you a little more about the seals when we've been there. We walked down the trail and saw a few dolphins too.
Our last stop of the trip was the Hearst Castle. In all the trips we've done up the coast I had yet to stop here. This is a state park too, but you do need to buy tickets for a tour time. The views and grounds of the castle are breathtaking. It was fun to imagine all of the famous visitors who were hosted by Hearst and what it was like back then.
Have you visited any of these places in California? I would love to hear your recommendations for future trips we do along the coast if you have anywhere along the coast you absolutely loved.