Saturday, September 5, 2015

California Vacation: Morro Bay and Santa Barbara

We'll continue with our travel log...

Here are some of my favorite things from this leg of our trip:

:: I can't believe I forgot to mention in my previous post the whale sightings we kept seeing as we were driving down the Pacific Coast highway between Carmel and our next destination of Morro Bay.

The first time it happened, I thought I caught a glimpse out of the corner of my eye of some kind of huge movement far out in the middle of the water. All the sudden, I realized that a huge tail was coming up to the surface and then flopping down with a big kerspash. I couldn't believe what I was seeing! And very soon after, another similar sighting, assuming it was a mother with her young one. That was so much fun and such an unforgettable experience.

:: Morro Bay is marked by a huge, unique rock landmark that sits out in the bay just in front of the waterfront city. Loved walking around the docks as the sun was setting.

:: welcomed, smiling, and touched by our kind hosts' little chalkboard note left alongside a basket of goodies, "Happy Twenty-fifth wedding anniversary, Keith and Emily!" Aawwww...

:: Keith kept commenting how much this place reminded him of staying at his beloved Grammie's house. So clean and tidy with all the thoughtful, homey touches that make you feel happy and taken care of.

:: the next day's agenda included a tour of Hurst Castle. A little drive north from where we were staying, this was very fascinating to me--  the story of this man and his woman architect who built this amazing palace, the magnificent gardens, and pools-- all that opulence, the priceless historical treasures and art preserved and now enjoyed by so many. 

:: enjoyed a nice sunset stroll along the beach that evening. Fun to do some birdwatching and search for sand dollars, too.

:: our next stop was lovely Santa Barbara. 
I told Keith I could live in this city. 

:: We were so glad we made arrangements to stay at Janet's beautiful Hacienda Margarita. Loving her beautiful gardens, ethnic decor, and kind hospitality. Even more excited when I found out she had lived in Nepal studying textiles and Tibetan for twenty years and was acquainted with my Uncle Gene ("Gene Smith? You're the niece of THE Gene Smith!?"), a renown Tibetan Buddhist scholar and founder of the Tibetan Resource Center in New York. 
What a small world! 

:: Couldn't miss an opportunity to visit another old Spanish mission. More lovely gardens, a peaceful cemetery, and an interesting museum to wander, this place continues to serve  an order of Franciscan friars. 

:: finished our day with some killer Mexican food and a little browsing through some cool shops. 

Next up: the kids join us in San Clemente... we hit the beach and go to Disneyland!

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