3/22/2016: Grow, Cambria Shores Inn, Hearst Castle
Another busy day today, proving just how much there is to see on this stretch of the Central California Coast. I took over 200 photos—more than enough for a handful of posts. Just when I thought I was done, there was something else wanting to be photographed.
Our first stop was the small town of Cambria, about 20 miles north of Morro Bay. I wanted to check out two places. The first was Grow, a small nursery that has an almost mythical reputation among succulent aficionados. Owner Nick Wilkinson is known for rare and usual plants, and Grow didn’t disappoint. But the plants weren’t the only thing that was cool. Grow is one of several complementary stores in this location, and the courtyard behind the Garden Shed showcases what each store does best. I could have spent another hour exploring but I knew my family was waiting for me with pastries at the nearby French Corner Bakery.
The other spots I sought out in Cambria was the Cambria Shores Inn. What makes this beachfront motel so remarkable is the landscaping. Designed by Grow, it’s a veritable succulent show garden—with a jaw-droppingly beautiful Leucospermum thrown in for good measure. The collage below gives you a taste. More to come in a dedicated post.
Our main destination today was Hearst Castle in San Simeon. I hadn’t been to Hearst Castle in 30 years, but little has changed—which is fine by me because it’s a unique masterpiece that can’t be improved. I know newspaper magnate William Randolph Hearst’s “ranch” has its critics, mainly because of the mish-mash of styles of both the architecture and the art housed there, but I’ve always loved the wild abandon in evidence here. It’s a bit like my garden: I plant what I like, where I like it, with little concern for rules or what others think.
The stretch of coastline south of San Simeon is particularly scenic, and the Pacific looked like molten silver in the afternoon light. It’s vistas like these that make me fall in love with California all over again.