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Pacific Coast Highway, Day 10: San Simeon to Golena

The morning started foggy and gray to match our moods. Vacation exhaustion has set in. We had a monosyllabic breakfast–“waffles. juice. pass”–and then we were off.

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We stopped at Moonstone Beach across from our hotel. I thought “moonstone” was simply a quaint name until a local told us that, no, moonstone refers to my old arch nemesis from Oregon: agates. So, we meet again.

The beach was uncommonly pretty.

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But this was my view.

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And this.

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These are moonstones.

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To scrub the scent of agates from my hands (and brain), we stopped here–Lucia Apothecary in Cambria.

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She makes all her scents and scrubs. I’m not a makeup/perfume person, but the thought of a local scent from our vacation was appealing, so I bought some orange blossom perfume. While I was there, the hubs was next door in the local bead store talking about agates. The man has an unhealthy obsession.

Let’s talk about bakeries again. Brown Butter Cookie Company in Cayucos is owned by sisters. Who doesn’t dream of owning a bakery with their sisters? Everyone in my family does. (AmIright, V1 & V2?)

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Have you ever tried brown butter in cookies? (Heat the butter until the milk caramelizes and turns golden brown.) If not, I highly recommend finding a recipe and trying it sometime. The butter becomes nutty, contrasting nicely with sugar and salt.

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San Luis Obispo is a town filled with young college students, old surfers, and this.

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The mission was built in 1771, one of 21 the Spanish built along the coast The building was lovely but, like everything else down here, the garden stole the show.

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Lunch was from a place called Sal’s, right across the street from the mission.

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Fact: I love sandwiches, especially sandwiches with smoked cheese.

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Every sandwich comes with a BlowPop, another point in their favor.

Next we planned to stop at Pismo Beach, the first stretch of white sandy beach we came across.

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But it was packed with tourists; we pressed on.

We diverted from the 101 in order to see Solvang, a town founded by Danes that’s so Nordic you expect to see an Ikea on every corner. Instead there are these.

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And these.

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I went into bakeries and came away empty-handed. What wizardry is this?

We’re a few minutes from Michael Jackson’s Neverland Ranch. Nearby is also the spot where James Dean died in a car accident. Dear Celebrities: don’t come here; it won’t end well.

Finally, Santa Barbara, a palm tree-lined town full of graceful Spanish architecture. If you’re a fan of the show Psych, as we are, this is where it’s set.

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Usually when you visit a town, there’s one main street that does its best to project the town’s image. As you filter farther away, you lose the feel of the city. Not Santa Barbara. I think I fell in love with it a little. The old trees and Spanish buildings never let up. Even their markets look like this.

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We had Wahoo’s, a local fish taco chain. I had fish tacos, a regional specialty.

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Dessert was at the famed McConnel’s Ice Cream.

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Honestly, the ice cream at Cowlick Creamery in Fort Bragg was creamer, more chocolaty, and they made their own waffle cones.

I enjoyed Santa Barbara so much that I wanted to keep driving and driving. The husband had to pull me kicking and screaming back to our dumpy hotel in the next town. Tomorrow is LA; Santa Barbara will be hard to beat.

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About vanessagraybartal

Author. Eater. Wife. Mother. Not necessarily in that order.

3 responses to “Pacific Coast Highway, Day 10: San Simeon to Golena

  1. Jamie

    Yeah, more agates for Chris. I do enjoy encouraging him.
    Not to leave you out though Vanessa, Yeah more bakeries!!
    (oh and Yeah, Psych!)

  2. Valerie Harrintgon ⋅

    Ummm… was Mira even with you? How is she doing???

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