Escape to Cambria

Savor ocean, pines, and great pie on a three-day coastal California weekend

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  • Cambria: Charms of California's Central Coast

    Bring home a garden accessory from the Garden Shed.

Day two: Take a hike, meet an elephant seal, shop for your garden

With bread bins and a Parisian street mural, the French Corner Bakery lives up to its name and is a good bet for a light breakfast, or for sandwiches at lunch.

Take some time to explore beyond the town. One of the best day-hikes starts along the boardwalk at San Simeon State Park and heads into forests of Monterey pines and onetime ranchland. While you're north of Cambria, visit the elephant seal viewing area at Piedras Blancas. May isn't prime season, but female and juvenile seals might still be around. Nearby you'll find Sebastian's Store, which dates to 1852 and the area's whaling days.

Back in Cambria, begin an afternoon of shopping with a casual lunch at Indigo Moon, a gourmet shop offering a wide selection of artisan cheeses. As Cambria's landscaping suggests, this is prime garden territory. The Garden Shed has a nice selection of pots and accessories, while Cambria Nursery and Florist offers monthly demonstrations and workshops at its rambling facility above town.

A good choice for dinner is Chenoa restaurant, opened by a young Cambrian named Jade Pombrio, who offers her seasonal, organic American food in a soulful space on Main Street.

The French Corner Bakery. $; breakfast and lunch daily. 2214 Main; 805/927-8227.

San Simeon State Park. 3- to 4-mile loop begins at trailhead located just north of Cambria at Washburn Day Use Area. or 805/927-2068.

Piedras Blancas. Elephant seal viewing area has parking and docents on site. 12 miles north of Cambria on State 1; 805/924-1628.

Sebastian's Store. Closed Wed-Thu. 442 SLO San Simeon Rd., San Simeon; 805/927-4217.

Indigo Moon. 1940 Main; 805/927-2911.

The Garden Shed. 2024 Main; 805/927-7654.

Cambria Nursery and Florist. 2801 Eton Rd.; 805/927-4747.

Chenoa Progressive American Restaurant. $$$; dinner nightly. 1980 Main; 805/927-5579.



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