Gone on an Adventure — In Cambria, California

Sparkling lights danced around the fantasy garden in Cambria, California. They were like teeny fairies, distant relatives of Tinkerbell, perhaps, but these were very real in this verdant oasis plopped in the middle of the downtown off the eastern end of Cambria’s Main Street. Wait… doesn’t almost every city have a Main Street? There’s a calming consistency in that. Parades go down Main Street, and retailers vie for a Main Street storefront, which might be an argument for going off the main drag. You might be missing some treasures!

As for our fairy garden, it is not on the main drag. It’s hidden. Of course, it’s hidden!  This is why travelers want to ask the locals (and fellow tourists) where the good stuff is: unknown killer restaurants, hole-in-the-wall, don’t-miss bars, out-of-the-way private beaches, and the very things that make traveling a richer experience.

We didn’t know the garden existed until we happened to chat with a couple from a town near our home (of course). They said they never miss going to the fairyland behind the little shop named Spellound that will forever more be our gotta-visit spot too. Had we been in a hurry and not met and talked with this sharing couple, we would not have experienced this adventure.

What’s Cambria like, you ask? Besides the little garden, Cambria offers a dramatic coastline, walkable beaches (“Moonstone Beach” is popular), and windswept, tell-me-a-story Cypress trees that remind me of Monterey and Carmel. Cambria is a less expensive option to those two towns and has a ruggedness to it that invites jeans and flip flops, plus ridiculously talented artists of all kinds.

Where to stay? We found a cozy, inexpensive “Bluebird Inn” on, yes, Main Street, making it walking distance to all manner of local haunts. We like the antique shops, restaurants (like Linn’s for their Ollalyberry, blue cheese, arugula, bacon, and red onion hamburger), and the French Corner Bakery for great coffee and sugar-high pastries. We’ve also stayed out near Moonstone Beach, where several hotels offer walking across the street to the ocean and lazy Adirondack chairs to just sit as the ocean’s calm washes away all of life’s troubles.

We like Cambria. The weather’s good most of the year (it’s Southern California!), and the town is laid-back, but it has an old elegance that makes it a great getaway from Los Angeles. Wineries are nearby, and Hearst Castle is down the road a bit. Next time I may have gone on an adventure, you might find me in Cambria–in the Spellbound garden, hanging out with the fairies and Alice.


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