A July 2004 trip
to Pismo Beach by E. B.
Quote: Although I have driven by Pismo Beach several times, I have never stopped there. This time I decided to stay for the night and check out the sights. I discovered new information that I'll use for my next trip. It's definitely a place that I'll return to visit.
Hotel | "Worldmark at Beachcomber"
When we got to the Pismo Beach resort, the parking lot was cramped, so I parked on the street until we checked in. Check-in was at the SeaVenture resort. It was quick and painless. I told her my name and received the keys and parking pass. We walked over to the resort where I moved my car into the parking lot. There are only 1-bedroom units at the resort. I had unit #105. There are only a few units with an ocean view, but that wasn’t necessary since I would much rather look at the ocean on the sand or the pier rather than the room.
I found the bathroom disconcerting. The shower-and-tub unit is next to the toilet, placed near the washer-and-dryer unit. I have never seen a washer and dryer in place of a sink. The sink was placed outside in the vanity mirror area. I did not like having to go outside to wash my hands after using the toilet, but I guess that was necessary to save space in order to put in all the desired amenities.
The kitchen was fully stocked. There was a self-cleaning oven, a microwave, and a full-size refrigerator. We went to Scolari’s, the grocery store nearby, and cooked a pizza in the oven. Some resorts do not provide ovens or cookie sheets. This one had everything.
The bedroom had a TV and mirrored closet doors. The closet contained pillows, blankets, an ironing board, and iron. There was a Murphy bed outside in the living room, but we did not utilize it. The Murphy bed would have pulled down on top of the dining table, so the table would have to be moved in order to sleep there. Our particular unit seemed a bit cramped, but it was obvious that it used to be a motel that was reconfigured to become a timeshare resort. The pieces of furniture were a little too big to be in the room. I did enjoy the amenities as cramped as they were.
There was a coupon for $10 off a massage. We did not try it out. There was also a hot tub, but I neglected to bring my bathing suit. The temperature of the water was fairly warm, but not the proper temperature of a hot tub.
From the beach, you can walk up to the SeaVenture which is the first hotel from the beach, then behind it is Worldmark Pismo Beach. It’s also close to wineries, an outlet mall, and Hearst Castle. I would definitely return, but I hope to get an upstairs unit next time.
Member Rating 3 out of 5 on July 3, 2004
Worldmark Pismo Beach Resort
100 Ocean View Avenue
Pismo Beach, California 93449
Restaurant | "Splash Café"
On the day that I checked out of my resort, I walked over to Splash Café to order clam chowder to go. You can order a variety of sizes to go, so I ordered the largest, a quart (32 oz), frozen. I noticed that they had the popular baked sourdough bread bowl filled with clam chowder for $5-6. When we got there, it began to fill up. I waited inside and looked at the décor. It was decorated with the typical beach diner things like photos of the ocean and other nautical items. There were postcards of Splash Café that were pre-stamped. You could write in your postcard and put it into a box at the counter. They will mail it for you. Luckily, it only took a few minutes for my order to be filled since mine was frozen. When we left, the line was going out the door.
When I got home, I heated it up. After a 6-hour drive home, it was still fairly frozen. There was quite a bit of cream or butter in it. After heating it and serving it to my parents to see how they liked it, I decided it was a little too salty. My father agreed. My mother, on the other hand, really liked it. We all agreed that the price was somewhat expensive, $9.50 for a quart, but it was chock full of clams, mussels, and vegetables. I feel like it would have been perfect without so much salt. Next time that I visit Pismo Beach, I’ll try out the sourdough bowl.
Member Rating 3 out of 5 on July 4, 2004
197 Pomeroy Avenue
Pismo Beach, California 93449
Attraction | "Laetitia Vineyard & Winery"
1. Sparkling Wine
2. Sauvignon Blanc
3. Pinot Blanc
5. Pinot Noir
7. Petite Syrah
8. Cabernet Sauvignon
Unfortunately, I tasted the wines on an empty stomach, so I was starting to feel the effects of the wine. I did purchase the Sauvignon Blanc and the Merlot, but both were from the Barnwood Vineyards label rather than the Laetitia label. I found the other wines good, but not enough to purchase them. The wines ranged in price, $14-$28 a bottle. La Colline Pinot Noir is $60. The Pinot Noir was also very good, but I preferred the Merlot since I like the deeper taste of the tannins.
We ventured into the picnic area where you can stop and sip wine with a lunch. Since I was planning on going to a grocery store in Pismo Beach, we did not have any food with us. So my friend and I explored the visitor’s area, looked at the several lizards on the pathway, and tried to make friends with a cat on the grounds. After a several minutes, I was ready to hit the road again.
I did not realize that they are many wineries close by to the Pismo Beach area, so next time that I visit Pismo Beach, I will definitely make it a wine tasting trip, i.e. bring sandwiches to eat before hitting the wineries. Laetitia Vineyard is open for tastings 11am-5pm. The phone number is 805/481-1772.
Member Rating 4 out of 5 on July 3, 2004
Laetitia Vineyard & Winery
453 Laetitia Vineyard Drive
Pismo Beach, California 93420
Attraction | "Mission Santa Barbara"
There are two tours to take at the mission. There is a bus tour. We didn’t bother since we wanted to be on our own. The self-guided tour is $4 per adult. I didn’t notice what the price was for children. We walked around and looked at artifacts from the mission. Some were recovered items, and others were replicas. The highlight for me was the cemetery where many people were buried. My friend wondered if any of the graves were relocated. There were crypts, and some were family crypts that were not filled yet since the relatives were still living. There are masses for people who would like to attend a service, but we did not visit on a Sunday. I did take some photos of the church. It’s a beautiful church with gorgeous statues of Mary Magdalene, St. Francis of Assisi, and others.
When we went outside, I noticed that there were spray-painted advertisements on the ground. The actual paintings were quite beautiful works of art. It was like visiting a gallery, except instead of looking up at walls with framed paintings, you were looking down on the pavement at separate blocks of spray-painted images. I am amazed at the skills of the artists who painted them. Near the church are also the statues of Junípero Serra, the lavandería of the Native Americans (area where they washed their clothes), and a fountain filled with lilies. There was an image of a bear’s head, but they moved the original sculpture of a mountain lion’s head to the rear of the lavandería. There was also a cross on the front lawn of the church. It was dedicated to Junípero Serra.
My friend was so enthralled that I had to practically drag him away. I wasn’t as impressed, but after looking up the history of the California missions, I decided that I would like to visit all 21 missions as a goal. Considering that they only go as far as San Diego up to Sonoma, it shouldn’t be that difficult a feat.
Member Rating 4 out of 5 on July 4, 2004
Old Mission Santa Barbara
2201 Laguna Street
Santa Barbara, California 93105
We made it to Solvang, which is a charming Danish town. They are bakeries and antique shops, but nothing that we wanted to stop for. After a quick drive down the main street, we turned and went back towards Ostrichland. If we had gone down further, we could have stopped at the Chumash Indian reservation, but it was another 3 miles down. We didn’t want to add that much time to our trip, so we decided to save for next time. Worldmark is supposed to add a Solvang resort, so I decided to save the Chumash reservation for when I stay in the Solvang resort if and when it happens.
When we stopped at Ostrichland, I noticed that the two ostriches were for sale as pets. The other large birds were emus. There was a coin-operated feeder, so I put in a couple quarters to get some kibble to feed the emus. I put out the feeding bowl on the tray, and three emus gobbled up the kibble within a few seconds. It was kind of scary and sad at the same time. I did take photos of the emus close up. We were going to get some strawberries from the stand, but there were a lot of insects crawling on them, so we opted for plums instead. They weren’t very ripe, so we only ate a few then discarded the rest.
When I got home, I decided to Google the city of Solvang and found lots of things to do. I always thought there wasn’t much, but now I have a list of things to do:
1. Visit the Hans Christian Andersen Museum
2. Visit the Chumash Reservation
3. Visit Mission Santa Inés
4. Visit Nojoqui Falls
5. Eat at the Little Mermaid
6. Visit the Janeway Carriage House in Santa Ynez
7. Visit the wineries in the area
So I’m much more prepared for my next trip through Solvang. It also looks like it’s a future overnight trip. I’m going to cross my fingers and hope that the Solvang resort will happen.