By Land or by Sea — Kayaking in Cambria

Monthly Archives: August 2014

By Land or by Sea — Kayaking in Cambria

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Image: Sea For Yourself Kayak Outfitters

The Pacific Coast Highway along the Central California Coastline offers an awe-inspiring landscape of steep, rocky mountain cliffs set against a rugged wind-swept shoreline. With some of the most stunning scenery and unspoiled vistas, this breath-taking expanse is one that everyone should experience firsthand. For the outdoor enthusiast, there’s no better vantage point than from the seat of a kayak.

The picturesque town of Cambria, as part of the Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary, offers easy access to some of the most scenic kayaking venues in California. Known as the “Serengeti of the Sea,” the Sanctuary is one of the nation’s largest and most spectacular marine protected areas. It’s unique and diverse ecosystem is teeming with wildlife, providing one of the best places in the world to see seals, sea lions and sea otters almost any time of year. It’s not uncommon to see migrating whales or dolphins here to feed in the extremely rich waters. Kayaking in the Sanctuary is a great way to experience nature’s beauty and wildlife firsthand, and offers a unique perspective that few people are lucky enough to experience.

Sea For Yourself Kayak Outfitters (SFYKO) leads several guided kayaking tours through some of Cambria’s most scenic locations. Whether you’re an experienced kayaker or a novice, there’s a trip for everyone. The Moonstone Drive tour is perfect for beginner and intermediate kayakers alike. Leaving in the morning, this two-hour eco-tour departs from Leffingwell Landing and explores Cambria’s famous Moonstone Beach. Intermediate kayakers might want to check out the Marine Terrace tour. Navigating through Cambria’s Marine Terrace and Otter Cove, this tour offers some of Cambria’s most stunning views and an abundance of marine and wildlife.

Sea Caves

Image: Sea For Yourself Kayak Outfitters

For the more adventurous at heart, check out the San Simeon Cove tour. Just 6 miles north of Cambria, the San Simeon Cove was once the private port of media mogul William Randolph Hearst and is considered a hidden jewel. Explore mysterious sea caves and take in the breath-taking natural harbor and abundant wildlife of the cove.

Seasonal kayak fishing tours are available for the avid fisherman. The vast kelp forest provides the perfect environment for a variety of rock fish, kelp bass and bottom fish. During the summer season, Halibut and Lingcod are abundant. Perfect for newcomers or seasoned anglers, kayak fishing provides the ultimate challenge for any fishing enthusiast.

Whatever your level, kayaking the Central Coast offers the adventure of a lifetime and a chance to observe this scenic wonderland from unparalleled angles. After spending the morning exploring some of the area’s most lush scenery and landscapes, the town of Cambria awaits you. From the eclectic array of shops and boutiques to the tasting rooms and fine art galleries, Cambria has something for everyone.  Whether you’re an outdoor enthusiast or prefer just soaking in the sun, relaxing on the beach, Cambria is a must-see destination.

Food and Drink In Cambria

Editor’s note: A couple of months ago we announced the launching of our new Cambria Ambassador Program. Partnering with bloggers throughout California, we’ve invited them to use their photography, outdoor, and food and beverage expertise to give travelers like you an exclusive preview of Cambria. We hope you enjoy this first blog post in our all-new Ambassador Blog Series.

While the quiet town of Cambria might not seem like a foodie paradise from the outside, driving through without sampling its fine food and spirits would be a big mistake. With so many places to eat in the city, there really is something for everyone. Here is a breakdown of my favorite places to eat and drink at in Cambria. Make sure to tell me if I left anything out in the comments section.

Food

Breakfast – Redwood Cafe

Never underestimate a good breakfast at a Pacific Coast Highway diner like the Redwood Cafe. Even though it can be a little hard to find, this gem is a great place for a good, inexpensive meal that will fill you up. I love a good hearty breakfast and I appreciated the southern flair that Redwood Cafe added to the menu, I mean they even had grits!

Recommendation – Havarti Spinach Scramble and Home Fries

Lunch – Robin’s

If you ask any of the locals what the best spot in town is you will no doubt get a lot of votes for Robin’s. This eclectic restaurant has a little bit of everything, but does it all well. Whether you are in the mood for a sandwich or a Thai inspired noodle dish, you will find something on the menu. I would recommend the salmon bisque, which is a creamy soup with a smooth salmon flavor. It makes for a fabulous appetizer. Be sure to sit on the deck if it is a warm day as it is a fabulous place to sit and watch the world go by.

Recommendation – Salmon Bisque and Cambrian Avocado Melt

Dinner – Black Cat Bistro

The Black Cat Bistro is one of the most expensive places in the town. That would be a bad thing if the food wasn’t so mind-blowing. Once you bite into one of the scallop or fresh fish plates, you will forget the cost and consider ordering a second helping. The way they pair flavors here is fabulous. Even things I thought wouldn’t go together were expertly paired on your tongue. They have a seared Caesar salad with bacon jam, believe me, just order it. Be prepared for a nice 1-2 hour dinner and one of the best dining experiences Cambria has to offer.

Recommendation – Lightly Seared Caesar and anything with scallops

Dessert – Linn’s

You really can’t go to Cambria without a trip to get some Olallieberry Pie from Linn’s. This hybrid berry is a mixture of blackberry and raspberry, combining the best parts of both for a pie that I never leave Cambria without. Every time I drive through the city, I take a full pie home with me.

Recommendation – Olallieberry Pie (of course!)

Drink

Cambria Beer Company

Lovingly referred to as “Pints by the Sea,” Cambria Beer Company is a great place to sample local craft brews and support a small town brewery. With only a couple of beers on tap at any given time, there is never a lot of options. That said, the limited choice of draft is always good. Plus, it is right next to Nitt Witt Ridge, which I highly recommend touring either before or after your beer as well.

Recommendation – Nut Wit Weizen

Cambria Ale House

If options are your thing, then the Cambria Ale House is for you. This small, one room pub has tons of beers on tap and lots of bottles along the wall. There are a few couches, games and reading materials so you can come in, try the beer and kick up your feet. They have craft beer from all over the country and the people working the bar provide great recommendations.

Recommendation – Don’t ask me, just tell them what you like, I am sure they won’t lead you wrong

Fermentations

Like the Cambria Ale House above, Fermentations is one of my favorite spots in Cambria (this may be swayed by how close it is to Linn’s pies as well). They have an insane amount of wines in any flavor and style you could want. They also offer a fun and cheap sample card so you can select just what you want to try from their dozens of options without having to pay by the glass. This is also a full-blown store with trinkets, decor and a lot of wine you can take home.

Recommendation – Adult Chocolate Milk, then let them help you find a wine

Stolo Family Vineyards

If you want to get out of the city a little bit, a trip to Stolo Family Vineyards should be on your list. This winery is right in farm country and is a beautiful place for a family picnic or a wine flight. They have a lot of really good wine and a beautiful, rustic, modern-style room where you can sit and enjoy it. I have even been told that they have fainting goats but you didn’t hear it from me.

Recommendation – Pinot Noir or the Syrah

Black Hand Cellars

If I had to pick one type of Cambria wine to drink this would be it. The tasting room is located in the downtown area and is pretty small, with only a dozen bar stools around the U-shaped bar. That being said, the atmosphere is great. The cheeky wine names and labels are fun and the wine itself is stellar. I also enjoy interacting with the people working the bar as they seem to really enjoy themselves, which is important. I guarantee it will be hard to leave without a bottle.

Recommendation – Syrah Estate Reserve or the Acquittal

So there you have it, my recommendations for food and beverages in Cambria. I love the central coast of California, and honestly Cambria is one of the best cities. It has quiet charm, beautiful beaches and amazing food. I would love to hear what you think I may have left out in the comments.

SAVOR Ticket Giveaway

*This contest is now over. Congratulations to Jamie G. for winning the SAVOR Main Event and Clydesdales tickets!

 

Visit Cambria is giving away 2 Tickets to the Roam with the Clydesdales at Covell Ranch PLUS 2 Main Event Tickets!

SAVORSunset’s Savor the Central Coast

The Main Event at Sunset’s Savor the Central Coast invites you to let your taste buds take the wheel and experience an epicurean adventure while tasting, sipping, and indulging everything the Central Coast has to offer. Located at the historic Santa Margarita Ranch, the two-day event on September 27 and 28 showcases celebrity chefs, brew masters, as well as purveyors of artisanal food from throughout California.

Enjoy unlimited food and wine tasting as you wander the Marketplace where over 100 wineries, restaurants, and food purveyors invite you to sample delicious food and drink.

Roam with the Clydesdales at Covell Ranch

Take advantage of a rare opportunity to see beautiful stands of native pine trees from a clydesdalesspectacular vantage point: a hay wagon pulled by Clydesdale horses. Ralph Covell, owner of the stunning Covell Ranch, will guide you on a tour of the 1,500-acre property that is home to both expansive vistas of endangered Monterey pines and over 100 impressive Clydesdales. Explore the rolling hills (protected by a conservation easement from The Nature Conservancy) and enjoy the company of the Clydesdales, learning how Covell’s vision extends to hydroponically growing feed for these noble draft horses. Afterwards, relax with a deluxe picnic lunch paired with local Central Coast wines.

For a chance to win, you must do the following:

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1.  “Like” this blog post by clicking the “Like” button above
AND
2.  Comment below with why you want to attend SAVOR and do the Clydesdale Adventure Tour!
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(Optional)  3. For a bonus entry, click the “Tweet” button above to tell all your Twitter friends about SAVOR and this giveaway! 
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Sweepstakes Timeframe: Monday, August 4 through Monday, August 18.
Winner Notified: Tuesday, August 19
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Highway Closures

Highway 1 Closure

If you're heading to the Central Coast, be sure to be mindful of the stretch of Highway 1, 21 miles north of Cambria. Caltrans is busy with a major construction project to make traveling along the stunning Pacific Coast Highway a safer journey.

Highway 1 Storm Repair Along the Big Sur Coast Due to multiple active slides, State Route 1 is now closed between Ragged Pt. (SLO 72.87) and just south of Nepenthe (Mon 44).

Worried about Highway 1 Road Closures? Cambria and Hearst Castle are easily accessible from Highway 46 West from 101 South of Paso Robles or from northbound Highway 1 from the city of San Luis Obispo. Travelers from the north can easily take Highway 101 as an alternate route to Highway 1, which reduces travel time to Cambria by about 25 minutes.

For the latest road closure information visit the Caltrans website.