It's been a while since we've had the chance to escape L.A. for a nice, long weekend and embark on a little road trip up the California coast. So what better destination than San Simeon and San Luis Obispo to forget all of our troubles and experience what the Central Coast has to offer!
Our main attraction: Hearst Castle.
In 1865, George Hearst, a wealthy miner, purchased 40,000-acres of ranch land that included the Mexican Ranchos of Piedras Blancas, San Simeon and Santa Rosa. In 1919, his only son, William Randolph Hearst, inherited the land from his mother, Phoebe Apperson Hearst. By then the ranch had grown to encompass 250,000 acres.
Originally known as “Camp Hill,” its wilderness offered a place for family members and friends to “rough it” on camping trips. Despite elaborate arrangements with separate sleeping and dining tents, Hearst envisioned more comfortable accommodations. His simple instructions to famed San Francisco architect Julia Morgan in 1919: “Miss Morgan, we are tired of camping out in the open at the ranch in San Simeon. I would like to build a little something."
That "little something" turned out to be one of the most gorgeous pieces of property in America. 165 rooms, 127 acres of gardens, and 2 pools later, we have Hearst Castle.
The San Simeon Lodge was kind enough to host us for two nights during our trip. Conveniently located 3 miles from the Hearst Castle Visitor Center, our quaint accommodations were located right on the famous Highway 1, across from the scenic (and rocky) San Simeon State Beach. Connected to the Lodge is the San Simeon Beach Bar & Grill (try their BBQ ribs), where one can enjoy a cocktail in the dining room overlooking the Pacific Ocean (we forgot how gorgeous a sunset can be)...or partake in some Friday night karaoke at the bar (Kelly Clarkson requests are welcome).
Our surprise discovery of the weekend was the town of Cambria, located just outside San Simeon. The quaint, little hamlet features one main street (yes, there's more than one traffic light) and an impressive selection of shops, restaurants, and places to stay. Our #1 pick: Linn's Bakery (order the olallieberry muffins), where we stopped for breakfast before heading to our next destination...
Over in San Luis Obispo (if you've never been, think: Santa Barbara with more bicycles and smiles), we stopped at Bel Frites (above right) for an afternoon snack of Belgian fries and savory dips and proceeded to check out the rest of the shops and cafes that welcomed us with open arms...
Rocket Fizz (above, middle) - This soda pop and candy shop houses 30 different flavors of taffy and plenty of goodies to satisfy any sweet tooth.
Kreuzberg Cafe - A cup of sweet potato bisque and a slice of homemade maple cheesecake with maple glazed pears at this cozy coffeeshop/book bar will do the trick.
We look forward to going back.
What are your getaway plans this summer?
- Hiko Mitsuzuka (@TheFirstEcho)