For the Fourth of July weekend, TC and I headed to my hometown of Santa Maria, Calif. Located approximately three hours north of L.A., Santa Maria is a part of the beautiful Central Coast, which I dub as the most underrated part of California. Vineyards and rolling golden hills graze the landscape of the inland area while popular yet often foggy beaches highlight the coast.
After an eight hour drive from Phoenix, TC and I settled in the first night. The next morning, I finished a paper while TC visited with my mother. That evening, my parents, TC and I headed to the American Melodrama in the City of Oceano. The Melodrama is features a play with exaggerated characters (the title of ours was The Crock of Gold) and concludes the evening with a hilarious vaudeville performance. I have been to see the Christmas Carol there, which is featured every year, but this was one of the few times I had seen another performance. It was absolutely delightful.
The following day, we woke up early and prepared for a drive to San Simeon. My parents, grandparents, TC and I headed up to the renowned Hearst Castle. While the rest of the family had visited the former home of infamous publisher William Randolph Hearst several times, it was TC’s first time. TC and I joined the main tour while my family participated in one of the other ones for those who had previously visited. TC was amazed, as I am every time, by the glamour of the mansion and exquisite decor.
For those who visit the Central Coast, north of Santa Barbara that is, I would highly suggest visiting Hearst Castle. The tour guides do a fabulous job of describing the art and anecdotes of Hearst and his many famous guests. The castle itself is beautiful and the views are spectacular. It is, without a doubt, a must see.
My favorite holiday, the Fourth of July, was the next day. We had a good-old-fashioned Santa Maria Style BBQ. Santa Maria Style BBQ consists of tri-tip, bread, salad and beans. Additionally, my dad BBQed shrimp. Absolutely delicious! My other side of the family came over to enjoy and it was a nice relaxing day to celebrate our nation’s birthday.
On on our final full day on the Central Coast, TC and I headed up to Pismo Beach. It was foggy and too chilly to sunbathe or play in the water, but there is plenty to do at Pismo. We waited in line for about 40 minutes for a famous bread bowl from Splash Cafe. The clam chowder is, hands down, the best on the Central Coast and while I have yet to taste chowder from New England, it is the best I have tried. The chowder has the perfect thickness to it and the bread bowl is toasted and just fantastic. By request, they will add a “seafood topping” which just adds to the spectacular taste.
We ate on the pier and watched surfers for awhile before heading up to my grandparents’ condo in Avila Beach. We visited and ate lunch at the local deli before journeying back down to Santa Maria. At the deli, I had a delicious ahi tuna salad. Along with the oil base dressing, they give you two different sauces to dip the ahi in. One was wasabi sauce and the other was a red pepper blend. Both were quite tasty. The final night, we relaxed with my parents before taking off the next day back to 110 degree weather.
It was a lovely trip. There is so much to do on the Central Coast and I barely touched on a few of the things. I love and miss my hometown.