Cambria, California

Unexpected. That’s the word that comes to mind when I think about my recent trip to Cambria, California. I admit that I enjoy spontaneous trips to various parts of the world. Cambria, located roughly a half hour north of San Louis Obispo, is a place that resembles Midwest America. The kind of place you’d expect to see if you were reading King’s ‘The Children of the Corn’ or Bradbury’s ‘Something Wicked This Way Comes’.

Cambria cemetery

Cambria Cemetery

With antique shops and local eateries scattered throughout town, there is plenty to see and do despite the town being smaller than I expected. Located in the heart of the town is the Cambria historical museum, restored from the Guthrie-Brancini house. I enjoy going to all museums and this one was no different as it gives some insight into how settlers lived in the town long ago.

Across the street from the museum, up a very steep hill, is the Old Santa Rosa Chapel. Call me morbid if you will, but the most notable thing for me about the chapel was not the chapel itself, but the cemetery directly behind it. It was very picturesque and serene and I have to admit that I enjoyed walking through it.

On the corner of Main Street was something I was surprised to see. Something we don’t have enough of in South Bay San Diego. It was a French pastry dessert café. I must say that the apple almond tarts served there were simply divine.

If you’re in the mood to walk, slightly outside the town is a beachfront known as ‘Otter’s Cove’. When I went there I didn’t see any Otters frolicking about, but the beach is a nice view nonetheless.

On the other side of town is an oddity called the Nit Witt Ridge. Considered a historical landmark, Nit Witt Ridge is a house on a steep hill which was essentially created by hand from trash collector/ recluse Arthur Harold Beal, otherwise known as Capt. Nit Witt. For 50 years Beal created his ‘Castle on the Hill’ as he called it, using materials such as beer cans, abalone shells and concrete and the use of  simple tools.

A few miles away from the town, in the city of San Simeon, is a beachfront called Elephant Seal Vista. There, you can observe from a perch literally hundreds of seals, sea lions, and elephant seals they play, cover themselves with dirt, spar, and sing. There were so many of them when I went that I didn’t know where the sand started and the seals stopped.

Its actually troubling to know that, as a result of the volatile economy, places like Cambria are in jeopardy of disappearing. While it’s of little importance to some, I feel a visit to history rich locations like this are well worth a try. Take my advice and see them while you can.

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