A Winter Getaway in Cambria

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A Winter Getaway in Cambria

There’s nothing like a trip to Cambria to pause the business of the winter months. You can experience the twinkling lights of the Cambria Christmas Market and the holiday spirit that is ubiquitous of our most cherished Christmas movies.

A weekend getaway may be just what you need, and with all that is going on in Cambria during the winter season, it’s impossible not to embrace the holiday spirit. Cozy up at Moonstone Beach, jam out to live music at our local venues, stroll and shop the streets of our East and West Villages, dine on oceanside fare, and sip on wines unique to the Central Coast of California. We invite you to delight in the serenity of the Central Coast in the wintertime!

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Getting the Most Out of Central Coast Wines in Cambria 

Editor’s note: Last year we announced the launching of our 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.

Who doesn’t love wine tasting? The opportunity to explore new places, new flavors and get to know good people. A good wine tasting experience often involves much more than delightful wines. The problem is sometimes a day of wine tasting comes with a lot of hassle as well whether it’s the 40 minute or more drive to the area, figuring out who is your designated driver or getting lost in the often poorly marked wine country. Don’t get me wrong it’s worth the adventure, but sometimes if you’re like me, finding a simpler way to wine taste is well worth it.

Luckily in Cambria you’ll find a variety of options that allow you to get the most out of Central Coast wines without dealing with the many hassles that can come along with a wine tasting experience.

Wine Tasting On Main Street

MacNee_Cutruzzola Vineyards Dining Room Table

Cutruzzola Vineyards

Right off the Pacific Coast Highway in the West Village, you’ll find some of the best wineries Cambria has to offer all within a block or so of each other. This gives you the perfect opportunity to taste a few different spots, get a short walk in, and not worry at all about the drive to get there. You can even wander over to Moonstone Beach afterwards for a relaxing evening.

Start off at Cutruzzola Vineyards where you will find the unique dry Riesling that exist along the Central Coast as well as smooth Pinot Noirs. Either have a tasting up at the bar or sit down around their beautiful dining room table where you can relax for awhile with a nice glass.

Afterwards, make sure you don’t miss Moonstone Cellars. Here you’ll find a change in varietals along with the Central Coast classics. On the whites make sure to try their Viognier and Grenache, and Syrah to round out the reds.

For more stops right off the Pacific Coast Highway, check out the Pacific Coast Wine Trail, which highlights ten wineries along the Central Coast. 

Wine : Taste

Wine : Taste

Trying Everything In One Unique Place

Another great way to avoid the hassles of wine tasting is finding a spot where you can taste a little bit of everything. While I’m often disappointed by this style of tasting bar, every once in a while you find one worth revisiting and in Cambria Wine : Taste hits that mark.

Here the proprietor and her staff handpick a rotating selection of wines for you to taste from both local wineries and abroad. Making sure you can easily explore the Paso Robles wine appellation without leaving downtown Cambria.

When The Wineries Come to You

On top of these regular wine tasting experiences, Cambria and the Central Coast offer unique opportunities where the wineries come to you. This winter you’ll find not one but two events where winemakers from throughout the Central Coast will gather with food, art and more.

If you haven’t attended one of these all access events before, they provide a great opportunity to get to know a wine region, compare different styles, and try wineries you might never have found otherwise.

blendfest2016The first opportunity this winter is the Cambria Art & Wine Festival, taking place the weekend of January 29-31. This event includes 40 wineries as well as local artists and eateries. On Saturday, you can wine taste at three different locations. On Sunday, join the BBQ and local art demonstrations all while enjoying local wines.

The next month head over to San Simeon for BlendFest, where 30 local wineries will take over the Hearst Property in Old San Simeon. The weekend of February 19-21 will be filled with wine tasting overlooking breathtaking views. On top of that, the event offers a winemaker dinner and wine blending session.

Great Wines With Ease

One of the many great things about Cambria is how easy it is to explore and get to know the local wine regions. While a trip into Paso Robles is fun, sometimes you want to stick along the coast while still enjoying flavorful wines. Luckily, in Cambria you can get the full experience of wine tasting without any of the difficulties that can come along with it.


Megan's Bio PhotoMegan MacNee is the founder and writer at Traveling Nine to Fiver, a blog focusing on encouraging full-time professionals to make the best of their days off and get out to explore the world. Megan moved to Southern California from the Mid-West when she was nine, and after college, moved up to Sacramento. She’s constantly trying to explore more of California and the West Coast by taking day trips, weekend trips, extending work travel and more. To sum it up, she’s a beach-loving foodie and wino, making the Central Coast a perfect destination. When she’s not traveling and blogging, Megan spends her days working in the political world in Sacramento.


Family-Friendly Activities

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.

Most Californians know Cambria as a romantic seaside retreat with cozy B&Bs, hip art galleries and charming gourmet restaurants. It’s definitely all those things — but it also makes a great family getaway.

My husband and two daughters recently spent the weekend exploring the region, using the new El Colibri Hotel & Spa as our home base. The hotel is a gorgeous Mediterranean-style property, conveniently located next to Cambria’s downtown restaurants and the 1 1/2-mile-long Moonstone Beach Boardwalk.


Walking along the Moonstone Beach Boardwalk.

We started our adventure at Outback Trail Rides, where Aussie Mick Harper and his crew took us on a scenic 1-hour tour through Fiscalini Ranch. This was our kids’ first time horseback riding, and Mick made sure they had a fun and enjoyable ride — even pointing out a koala along the way. (You’ll have to join the tour to see it for yourself!) Our ride ended with a trip to the oceanfront bluffs, where we enjoyed stunning views of the Cambria coastline.


Coastal view and smiles all around!

The great thing about El Colibri is that you can walk almost everywhere. We found several casual family restaurants nearby, including Main Street Grill (a casual brewery/sports bar with great fish and chips) and Sandy’s, a charming little deli with hearty sandwiches and salads. (My favorite was the Big Sur Tuna Sandwich!) Cambria’s East Village, a few miles south, is where you’ll find many of Cambria’s galleries, wineries and gourmet restaurants. We found Linn’s to be a great family restaurant, with delicious homemade olallieberry pies and burgers from Hearst Ranch.

Speaking of Hearst Ranch, no visit to Cambria would be complete without a visit to Hearst Castle. Located just 7 miles up the road, Hearst Castle offers a variety of tours for every age and interest. Our kids loved checking out the Roman Pool and spotting the zebras grazing on the hill. After touring the grand rooms of the castle, we spent the rest of the afternoon checking out San Simeon Cove, where you can rent a kayak or tour the Coastal Discovery Center. While you’re here, be sure to stop for lunch at Sebastian’s General Store, which has great burgers and wine tasting. On select days, you can treat yourself to sheep’s milk ice cream from the Negranti Creamery Ice Cream truck. (Try the maple pecan, fresh mint or blueberry cinnamon swirl!)


Negranti Creamery Ice Cream truck.

Wildlife watching is another fun activity for the kids. On your way in to Cambria, you can stop by Morro Rock to view the sea otters resting in the kelp, or head into San Simeon for a look at the elephant seal rookery. Leffingwell Landing in Cambria is a great place to spot migrating whales.

As you can see, our family vacation in Cambria was packed with a variety of fun outdoor activities. To give you a better idea on what to expect, I filmed these video guides about Cambria for my YouTube channel, California Travel Tips. I sure hope you enjoy them!

Cambria Travel Guide

Outback Trail Rides

Elephant Seal Rookery

Hearst Castle

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(Guest Contributor) From Pines to Sea, Cambria Has it All

While I have yet to travel much out of state or even internationally, I am grateful that I live in California, one of the best states to be in. I have been able to explore much of The Golden State: San Francisco, San Diego, the Central Coast and, of course, being a SoCal native, very much of my own backyard.

When I am lucky enough to head up north, Solvang, Morro Bay, and Carmel are places that always are a must. But, at the top of that list? Cambria comes to mind. Nestled about 40 miles north of San Luis Obispo and whistling distance to San Simeon of Hearst Castle fame, Cambria might seem small to some, but they actually have so much to offer within their realms!


Another beautiful sunset on Moonstone Beach in Cambria, CA!


Last year, when I got to spend time there, I was in awe at how peaceful and versatile their natural wonders are. If you want to take a walk through the pines and feel transformed to a magical forest, you can easily obtain that feeling throughout their winding neighborhoods. If its the beach calling your name, one of my most favorites is in Cambria: Moonstone Beach. Boasting a gorgeous one mile boardwalk trail, this is the ultimate getaway for those looking for the sea without all the hustle and bustle. I enjoyed sitting on one of their wooden benches just taking in the ocean breeze and serenity. You might even spot a sea otter, or if you are super lucky, a whale!

Speaking of otters, Cambria is famous for being home to many, as well as dolphins and seals, which are quite abundant in this coastal community.

elephant seals male juveniles in water fighting, piedras blancas

Some of the Central Coast’s marine life.

If it’s wine you are in search of, there is a reason Cambria is said to be the “Wine Enthusiasts Getaway!” The Central Coast is home to many of the best vineyards around, so don’t think Napa is the only wine destination in California. Here, you will find their wonderful Wine Walk Trail—perfect to unwind after a day of taking in nature.

Or, if you would rather enjoy yourself in shops from posh to quirky, don’t worry, they have you covered for that, too! Their downtown village cannot get much cuter, with several inns, restaurants, shops and coffee houses lining the main drag, ready to serve you delicious dinners, desserts, ice cream and more. I always have to check out the antique shops; my parents have gotten me some of my favorite birthday gifts within these stores.


Hearst Castle

The beautiful Hearst Castle.

Go just a few miles out of town, and you will hit San Simeon, where no trip to this area is complete without checking out Hearst Castle. You will even see zebras on your drive up! Majestic and eclectic, The Castle is a must for all ages, and I especially hope to visit at Christmas time one year, they go all out making it a wonderland.

Whether you want to get away from it all with your honey, do a weekend with the girls (or boys), family (Mother’s and Father’s Day are practically here) or even on your own, Cambria is the perfect spot to do so. As a writer, I know this would be a beautiful, quiet escape to write, with the beach and seagulls as my background noise and a glass of wine on my table.

Summer is coming up, so why not check out all Cambria and the Central Coast have to offer?!

By Mary Lansing

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.