Travel Highway One
Workshop attendees may want to explore the towns and scenic areas and north of Morro Bay on Highway One.
The last of the great beach towns, Cayucos invites folks to slow down, smell the ocean air, pick up sea glass, and never take life for granted. The broad main street recalls the days of stagecoaches and cowboys, and some of the buildings there date back to that by-gone era. Cayucos is the number one area on the central Coast for antique shoppers and a great place to just cool down and do some fishing on the pier or some surfing or kayaking.
A long-established fixture of California’s Central Coast, the town of Harmony has a rich supporting history. Founded in 1869 around a burgeoning local dairy industry, Harmony served as the home of the Harmony Valley Creamery Association and de facto capital of Central Coast dairy production for nearly half a century, while also serving as a picturesque pit-stop for the rich-and-famous on their way to visit William Randolph Hearst just up the road.
Home to the Harmony Valley Creamery and its famous Scoop Truck, Harmony Glass Works and Harmony Pottery Shop artisan galleries and the Harmony Chapel & Gardens, Harmony has become a quirky and quaint must-stop destination for both local residents and tourists alike.
The charming village of Cambria is filled with unique shops, art galleries, and restaurants serving all kinds of delicious food. Visit the Cambria Historical Society for a map of a walking tour of Cambria’s historical buildings. Shops have everything from antiques, specialty items, household gadgets, exquisite jewelry, and art from the quirky to traditional.
During the month of October enjoy the Cambria Scarecrow Festival where a whimsical display of handmade scarecrows lines the streets and shops.
San Simeon and Hearst Castle
This stretch of coastline near San Simeon has many pullouts located over the marine terraces where you can view harbor seals lounging on the offshore rocks and watch brown pelicans drift by.
A visit to Hearst Castle to see the priceless art and style of living during the life of William Randolph Hearst is undeniably worthwhile. Be sure to make reservations in advance at www.hearstcastle.org.
William Randolph Hearst Memorial State Beach is located at the base of the hill across Highway 1 from the castle. Here in a small, quiet secluded cove you can enjoy the serenity of the beach or have a picnic on the lawn. Kayakers can launch from the beach and many people enjoy fishing from the 1000-foot-long pier. Sport fishing ventures also take off from this pier. The Central Coast Discovery Center has displays of area marine life.
Just around the bend in the road from the beach is the original town site of San Simeon. Here Hearst built several edifices that he used as warehouses for his immense art collection. These buildings are still in use today by the castle.
Visit the historic Sebastian General Store that was built in 1852 when San Simeon was a thriving whaling station. While it has been renovated several times, it still retains its original flavor. Nearby is the Pacific School, a one-room schoolhouse that Hearst’s son, William Randolph, Jr. attended along with Pete Sebastian, son of Manuel Sebastian, who bought the general store in 1912, and for whom it is named. The younger Sebastian took over the business in 1933 running it until 1971. You can browse through the eclectic gift shop indoors or relax on the patio at the store, enjoying a soft drink and snack, and gaze up at Hearst Castle on the mountaintop.
As the rock outcropping known as Piedras Blancas comes into view you may glimpse the lighthouse sharing the same name. Piedras Blancas Light station provides a glimpse into our nation’s past when lighthouses served a vital role in maritime navigation. Today it is managed as a historic park and wildlife sanctuary. The light station is part of the federally designated Piedras Blancas Light Station Outstanding Natural Area and the California Coastal National Monument. The tower and some support buildings are listed on the National Register of Historic Places. Tours are available with advance reservations at www.piedrasblancas.org .
The elephant seal rookery is located just south of the lighthouse. You can’t miss it! It extends six miles along the shoreline. The seals may be seen all year but the largest populations are present during late January, April, and October. Visit the Friends of the Elephant Seals website at elephantseal.org for more information about the life of the Northern Elephant Seal and how this colony became established.