A Rustic Stay by the Sea at Cambria Pines Lodge
Have I mentioned how much I love California’s Cambria? I’m pretty sure I have but I’ll gladly say it again. Having spent some years living along the Central Coast in spots like Solvang and Lompoc, Cambria was, surprisingly, never much on my radar. Since growing up and doing road trips of my own, that has changed.
Nestled off Highway 1 in San Luis Obsipo County, Cambria is the ultimate hidden gem and a haven for beach bums and travelers alike. It boasts not only one of my favorite restaurants for gluten-free dining at Linn’s, but the tranquil Moonstone Beach. Having never stayed over in town, I was thrilled when the Cambria Pines Lodge invited me to this past summer.
A Road Trip Along the Coast
The ride from Los Angeles to Cambria is a special one. Loaded with sights to see, it’s no surprise that I enjoyed taking my time to get to town. From Highway 101 you’ll drive through post card beach cities like Ventura and Santa Barbara. While some drivers may opt to take Highway 154, you’ll stay along the beach line should you opt for the 101. I decided on this route in part to take the detour to Nojoqui Falls Park on Alisal Road in Solvang. I walked this small trail (with a waterfall at the end) often when I was young, so I always enjoy returning.
Once past Solvang and headed to Santa Maria, you’ll soon enter the great San Luis Obispo County and all of its gems like Pismo Beach and the city of “SLO.” No California road trip is complete without some stop or another in this picturesque college city. I love it for its diversity of downtown streets filled with unique shops and eats, and the strong artistic community. It’s easy to forget you’re nearly surrounded by the beach with stretches of the Pacific Ocean within mere miles.
After my day of soaking up the Central Coast (and grabbing some gluten-free bites along the way), I headed to my Cambria home for the night. The Cambria Pines Lodge perfectly describes what awaits in their name. Pine trees are literally all around, yet you can smell that ocean breeze as Moonstone Beach is just minutes away.
A Stay at Cambria Pines Lodge
With a variety of rooms and suites, it took me no time to feel at home in my deluxe suite with a private patio and gate to the gardens outside my door. The living room was spacious and even had a Murphy bed along with a cozy couch and handy desk set. The best part? The jetted spa tub! I’d been juggling extra work in order to take this getaway, so that was calling my name for some extra R&R.
Twenty fives acres make up the lodge. This includes a restaurant, bar, day spa and stunning gardens to walk among. The bar offers live entertainment several nights a week and no need to race out in the AM as a hot breakfast is included with your stay. This was actually my favorite part of visiting the lodge. After I enjoyed some fruit and scrambled eggs in their ample morning dining room, I poured myself a second cup of coffee and explored the grounds during the early hours.
After enjoying so much beach time the day prior, it felt rather magical to walk among those pine trees and the blossoming summer flowers. Parts of the garden look right out of a fairy tale, even having a greenhouse converted into a reading room. I kept waiting to see a gnome run by me.
Given the natural beauty of the Cambria Pines Lodge, it’s no wonder the space makes an ideal event location. The lodge is a sought-out property for weddings and meetings alike. It makes a gorgeous location for photos, too.
Enjoy Main Street and Moonstone Beach
You’ll also have access to a mile-long trail that takes you into Cambria Village, where more magic and beauty await you. On their Main Street, enjoy antique and general stores along with delicious light bites, meals and coffee shops to divulge in. Along with Linn’s being an excellent choice (gluten-free or not), I discovered a new cafe in town called the Hidden Kitchen. A 100% gluten-free, organic bistro that alas, was closed that day. Practically throwing me into the arms of Linn’s but I never mind.
After enjoying some of my favorites along Main Street, it was time to visit my beloved Moonstone Beach. As I get older (my birthday is this month), the more I find just how healing the beach truly is. Moonstone offers a boardwalk path, cypress trees and yes, plenty of rocks and stones. There are a few places I feel most at home and connected to. For whatever reason, Moonstone Beach is one of those places. There’s a calmness and still along those shores. If you’re in search of some tranquility, this is a wonderful option. If you’re looking for a fun day by the water, maybe take a dip (although it may be quite chilly) or hunt for stones and treasures to search for, Moonstone has that as well.
When you return back to the lodge, enjoy a drink in their lounge and hear some music, or retreat to your room to enjoy the fireplaces and spa tub.
Learn more and book your stay in Cambria HERE. xo