Monterey Journals

California at a different pace

Best of IgoUgo

A travel journal to Monterey by IWW639

F. McLintocks Saloon & Dining House Photo, Monterey, California More Photos
Quote: E-mail me! Pismo beach is one of those mythical getaways that people talk about in movies but you never get to see. Why do you think that is? Is it that they don't want everyone to find out about it? Or that nobody really believes it exists? Well, if Yogi the Bear sees it as a vacation destination, and if Alysia Silverstone can help the hurricane victims there in Clueless, then it must be a great place. Well, I am biased having grown up here. The beaches are beautiful, the cities are charming and the people... well, they live here year round.

California at a different pace

Overview

Sea birds find refuge on a rock Photo, Monterey, California
Quote:
once you're done at the aquarium in Monterey, head south on hiway 1. Stop off at Hearst Castle, then head for Pismo beach. Don't just go for the beach (chances are that it will be too foggy to sunbath), you'll want to visit nearby shopping in San Luis Obispo, The Historic Village of Arroyo Grande, and the quaint fishing town of Morro Bay. In addition, the wine tasting can't be missed at any of the dozens of wineries in the area. Quick Tips: Drive from San Fransisco down Hiway 1 South. Once you've cleared Santa Cruz you'll drive some of the most picturesque hiway in the world. After Monterey, Head over to San Luis Obispo for some of the SLO life. From here you can head back north thru p...Read More
Quote:
Where else can you have a private mineral bath in your own room? Well, maybe you could answer that, but this place is like backroads luxury. There are dozens of private hot spring tubs built in to the side of a densely folliaged hillside, so even if you don't get a room you can still enjoy a rejuvinating dip year round.

Member Rating 4 out of 5 on July 24, 2000

Sycamore Mineral Springs Resort
1215 Avila Beach Drive
San Luis Obispo, California
(831) 595-7302

Edgewater Inn Photo, Pismo Beach, California
Quote:
My wife used to work here, they have a heated pool, spa, coin laundry and most rooms have an ocean view. The manager is Gene, he is so nice. He'll bend over backwards to make your stay enjoyable. It's about as good as any Motel 6, which is good enough for most people on a budget. It's just blocks from downtown Pismo on the beach. The prices actually go from $65 to $130, and they have AAA and corporate discounts. The prices are very fair for the area, so don't shop too much if you want to be on the beach.

Member Rating 4 out of 5 on July 25, 2000

Edgewater Inn
280 Wadsworth
Pismo BeacH
(888) 248-1354

Pismo State Beach

Best Of IgoUgo

Attraction | "Pismo Beach State Park"

Pismo State Beach Photo, Oceano, California
Quote:
The campground at the state park is has hook-ups for electric, water and septic pumps. It is walking distance to downtown Pismo. Driving thru town on Highway 1 (Doliver) it's on the right just after the 7-11. If you don't have reservations keep driving, as it's usually booked up months in advance (especially on holidays). 1 mile farther on highway 1 you will reach Grover Beach (Grand Avenue), you can access the beach from here and drive down to camping areas right on the beach. Four wheel drive is recommended, but not needed except in severe weather. You can't camp right here you have to head south past the next beach access. There is a creek to cross, so low riders beware. You...Read More

Member Rating 2 out of 5 on July 26, 2000

Pismo State Beach
555 Pier Avenue
Oceano, CA 93445
(805) 489-1869

SeaCrest OceanFront Hotel

Hotel | "Sea Crest Resort"

SeaCrest OceanFront Hotel Photo, Pismo Beach, California
Quote:
I used to work here when I was in high school. The rooms are very clean and you really get what you pay for. It has beach access, pool and 3 spas. I think they have 4 rooms with jacuzzis. All rooms have ocean view. Prices may be higher now. Call for reservations.

Member Rating 4 out of 5 on July 29, 2000

SeaCrest OceanFront Hotel
2241 Price Street
Pismo Beach, California

Quote:
At Lopez Lake hang a right and keep right at Upper Lopez Canyon Rd. This road eventually turns to dirt and may be impossible or even closed in or after wet weather even with 4x4. Follow it up to the top for 11 first-come, first-serve camp site w/hook ups. Access Santa Lucia Wilderness for hunting etc... NO WATER. toilets centrally located.

Access is from Pozo to the North 4 miles. Drive down that way and end up in Santa Margarita, then south to San Luis and Pismo on the 101. This makes a good mountain bike trip, about 20 miles from Arroyo Grande. Lots of up hill, but it's worth it on the way back

Member Rating 4 out of 5 on July 29, 2000

Hi Mountain Campground
Hi Mountain Road
Monterey, California

Sea Cliffs Restaurant

Restaurant | "Sea Cliffs Restruant"

Quote:
This place has great views of the Pacific Ocean. It is a sophisticated, romantic setting. Take a date, and an open credit card.

Member Rating 2 out of 5 on July 25, 2000

Sea Cliffs Restaurant
2757 Shell Beach Drive
Monterey, California
(800) 826-7827

F. McLintocks Saloon & Dining House

Restaurant | "F. McLintocks"

F. McLintocks Saloon & Dining House Photo, Monterey, California
Quote:
This place is a legend. Some really good steak and excellent service. They usually have live entertainment in the bar while you wait (no reservations, get there early or don't be starving). Try the mountain oysters. Watch out when they go to pour you water. They also have a saloon in Arroyo Grande and one in San Luis Obispo, both good for breakfast or lunch.

Member Rating 3 out of 5 on July 25, 2000

F. McLintocks Saloon & Dining House
750 Mattie Rd
Monterey, California 93449
(805) 773-1892

Gardens of Avila Restaurant

Restaurant | "Gardens of Avila"

Quote:
Casual elegance in a garden setting. Enjoy firecracker potstickers, Grilled hawaiian Swordfish, Pasta Primavera, and Sunday Brunch. Fancy food is not really my thing, but this place is a great date place if you have some money to shell out. Who said gourmet had to have small portions?

Member Rating 2 out of 5 on July 25, 2000

Gardens of Avila Restaurant
1215 Avila Beach Drive
Monterey, California 93424
(805) 595-7365

Alex Bar-B-Q

Restaurant | "Alex's Bar-B-Q"

Alex Bar-B-Q Photo, Shell Beach, California
Quote:
Alex's is another legend. Their oak pit barbeque ribs are world famous. They've been around for decades and haven't changed a bit. They are still in the same rinky-dink building they started in. Go early to avoid a wait, or you can have a drink at the bar. Just across the freeway you'll notice F. McKlintocks.

Member Rating 3 out of 5 on July 26, 2000

Alex Bar-B-Q
853 Shell Beach Road
Shell Beach 93449
(805) 773-5656

Klondike Cafe & Pizza

Restaurant | "Klondike Cafe"

Klondike Cafe & Pizza Photo, Monterey, California
Quote:

Tuesday is all you can eat pizza night. Pizza is what they come for. The floor is covered in peanut shells so grab a bowl while you wait and add to it, they're free. Gaze at the wonders of the Klondike, from moose heads to license plates.

The pizza can't be beat. Sample the roadkill, or cheeseburger pizzas. They also have great sandwiches and salads.

Member Rating 4 out of 5 on July 26, 2000

Klondike Cafe & Pizza
104 Bridge Street
Monterey, California
(805) 481-5288

Pismo Beach Pier

Attraction | "Pismo Beach Clam Festival"

Quote:
I think this is held in September or October, I'll have to check. You can sample clam chowder from all of the areas restruants in the chowder cook-off. Shop at the street fair. Listen to live performers and enter contests on the beach. I used to love this as a kid.

Member Rating 3 out of 5 on July 25, 2000

Pismo Beach Pier
Pomeroy and Cypress
Pismo Beach, California

The Great American Melodrama & Vaudeville

Attraction | "The Great American Melodrama & Vaudville"

The Great American Melodrama & Vaudeville Photo, Oceano, California
Quote:
'The Melodrama' is celebrating 25 years in business. The shows change periodically, but the idea stays the same: chear for the hero, boo and hiss at the villain, swoon for the heroine.
After each show is the Vaudville Revue with a host of sketches and singalongs.
The floor is covered in sawdust which always made me wonder if it was a fire hazard, and some of the seating is worse than church pews. Try to get a table up front if it's your first time.
They love it if you're celebrating birthdays or an anniversary.
Call for seating availability and show times.
See also Center Point Theater in San Luis Obispo (separate journal)

Member Rating 4 out of 5 on July 26, 2000

The Great American Melodrama & Vaudeville
1863 Front Street (Highway 1)
Oceano, California 93445
(805) 489-2499

Oso Flaco Lake

Attraction

Quote:
My date and I strolled up the path in the tiny nature preserve. We reached the edge of the lake and started across the boardwalk. The fog seemed to be coming out of the pond rather than the sky. We reached the far end of the little lake and found ourselves amongst towering sand dunes. The boardwalk took us deep into the sparsely vegetated dunes. We passed a person here, the only other one here on this weekday early evening. Another half mile or so would land us on isolated beach... The beach is isolated only by distance and the fact that ATV's are not permitted. You may see a few surfers if the conditions are right. Oso Flaco Lake (skinny bear for you gringos), is more like a pond. It is supposed to b...Read More

Member Rating 3 out of 5 on July 28, 2000

Oso Flaco Lake
Highway 1
Monterey, California

Quote:
Lopez is one of the areas only lakes that allow swimming. The park itself is 4, 276 acres on the edge of the Los Padres National Forest. In times of little rain the lake can get low. Some of the old buildings that were covered when the lake was built were exposed a few years ago. A boat is the best way to experience the park, to really get away from the crowded campgrounds. The lake has 22 miles of shoreline. It has 356 campsites and plenty of picnic areas. Try fishing for trout, bass, bluegill, crappie or catfish. If that doesn't suit you the preserve has 10 miles of rugged hiking trails thru shady oaks. If you don't see a deer or two, you aren't looking. Resid...Read More

Member Rating 2 out of 5 on July 29, 2000

Lopez Lake Recreation Area
off Highway 101
Monterey, California

Big Falls

Best Of IgoUgo

Attraction

Big Falls Photo, Arroyo Grande, California
Quote:
If you want to see some locals only attractions try swimming at Big Falls. Before you drive in to Lopez Lake hang a right. From here you can drive out to Little Falls and Big Falls. After the turn, follow the road to the next Y and go up the hill to the left, Upper Lopez Canyon Road. DON'T GO THIS WAY IN SEVERE WEATHER, unless you have a 4x4 and even then I don't recommend it. Watch for mountain bikes and ATV's. Drive for a few miles, you will pass a local shooting range (you'll know it by the broken bottles and cans), continue up and over that hill until the road turns to dirt. Now's your last chance to change your mind, the creek crossings really start now (those were nothing before). After ...Read More

Member Rating 4 out of 5 on July 29, 2000

Big Falls
More Than 12 Miles East Of
Arroyo Grande

The Historic Village of Arroyo Grande Photo, Monterey, California
Quote:
Arroyo Grande is only a few miles from Pismo and shouldn't be missed. This city's mainstay was agriculture until a few years ago when the bulk of business started coming from tourism. Try to catch its small town charm before it's gone. You'll find art stores, antiques, food (try Taco Loco or the Old Village Grill), and a small park next to the creek. Take a walk across the swinging bridge (newly renovated) and look at some of the vintage homes. Walking tours are available that will point out the hoosegow and Santa Manuela school both built before 1910 (ooh, that's old!). Call the historic society 805/489-7242 for appointment or check with the chamber of commerce for self guided b...Read More

Member Rating 4 out of 5 on July 29, 2000

The Historic Village of Arroyo Grande
117 ½ Branch Street
Monterey, California 93421
(805) 473-2250

Monarch Butterfly Grove

Best Of IgoUgo

Attraction

Monarch Butterfly Grove Photo, Monterey, California
Quote:
Pismo Beach is home to a grove of eucalyptus trees that are a Winter Haven for Monarch butterflies. The insects hang in clusters from the branches. This is one of the few publicly owned "overwintering" sites in California (another one can be found in Los Osos, about 30 minutes north). Monarchs are unique to the insect world because of their habit of migration. No other insects are known to migrate. In the summer Monarchs can be found up in to Canada. Overwintering sites spread down through Mexico and along the coast of California. Scientists are still trying to figure out how these marvelous butterflies end up in the same places year after year. You see, a monarch life span is a ma...Read More

Member Rating 4 out of 5 on January 7, 2001

Monarch Butterfly Grove
south on Doliver / US1
Monterey, California
1-888-PGMONARCHS

Transport

Story/Tip

Quote:
Ok, the area hosts 3 regional bus services: CCAT, SLO Transit, and SCAT. I've never had to use these myself, but my friends swear by it. 25 cents to $2 will get you all over the county. Try the SCAT's trolley, the Coastal Cruiser, for a quarter. It has two fixed routes. I could give more info but all I'm doing is looking at the phone book. e-mail me if you want to know more.