By: Sarah Simon
There's nothing like a good road trip. You pack the cooler, your swimsuit, your favorite tunes and zip out on the open road for a grand adventure. I like to think that sometimes the destination lies in the journey but that other times your path leads you to something you would have never expected; almost as if you stumbled upon something with surprisingly outstanding qualities unseen by the common eye and usually found by luck.
As Central Coast dwellers we're privy to countless gems; some more hidden that others. With luck on my side I was fortuitous enough to visit one of these gems last weekend when I received an invitation from a group of close friends who recently bought seven lakefront rental homes on Lake Nacimento. The previous owners were a family who owned the space for 50 years so the new owners took it upon themselves to add some freshness and modernity to these timeless lakefront properties and with the rentals up and running for summer, the new owners graciously encouraged a weekend getaway. Without missing a beat I cleared my schedule and prepared for a road trip to Land’s End!
My husband and I drove 75 minutes up to North County through a scenic stretch of rolling hills and windy roads. Blooming wildflowers covered the stretch into the shimmering waters through a maze of lakefront homes. The aerial views of the lake were incredible as we approached the gate welcoming us to Land's End.
We were greeted by one of the partners who so generously gave us a history and tour of the property. Each home has its own name and distinguishing features complete with hard wood floors, custom finishes, uniquely assembled decor and a wraparound deck overlooking the lake.
Our guide was kind enough to let us choose our bungalow for the night (which was almost impossible) and after some serious deliberation we decided to stay in the home nicknamed Water's Edge. This particular space had two bedrooms, one bath with a full modern kitchen, dining room and living area. A flat screen connected to Direct TV rested on the wall with several DVD’s and board games on the coffee table. The deck was strung with twinkle lights and a white crochet hammock facing Lake Naci.
We enjoyed a picnic style lunch on the patio as we planned the day’s activities and watched the boats go by. There were a lot of people on the water wakeboarding, waterskiing, tubing, jet skiing and fishing. I even saw a dog in a life vest cruising with his owners on a joy ride around the booies. Choosing our activities was challenging as we had our choice of jet skis, kayaks, stand-up paddleboards and even a paddle boat, but we knew we needed to get in the water so instead of choosing just one we decided to do them all!
Jumping in the tepid waters was exhilarating! I can’t even begin to count the number of times we leapt off the dock, which was only a two-minute stroll from the house. The property actually has three docks, which is perfect for large groups and various activities, so we had tons of space to enjoy the water. After a full day of play we settled in and prepared a nice dinner using one of the many wood fire grills. We even had the option to barbeque on a custom made grill with a Land's End logo plasma cut in the top. Bottom line, this house had plenty of space to lounge, grill and entertain.
We watched the sunset in the midst of the flickering twinkle lights and enjoyed the stillness of the lake as the daylight dwindled into darkness. The stars twinkled as we rocked and dozed on the hammock, and the next thing I knew my loving husband was carrying me into the cozy casa.
The sun soon rose amongst a foggy distance and I embraced the porch and its spaciousness with a gentle yoga practice. The lake stood still and I felt grateful to be in the presence of water. That's the real message here. Land's End at Lake Nacimento represents a gathering place. A place to enjoy California's man made beauty and remember the importance of family, friends and everyone special your life. It's a place where recreational activities thrive and happiness sores. It’s the perfect getaway.
A real hidden gem.
Life After Dead: An Evening with Dark Star Orchestra
Vina Robles Amphitheater kicked off 2015 last Friday with a stellar opening performance from the group dedicated to keeping the Grateful Dead experience alive, the one and only, Dark Star Orchestra. What’s super cool about this band is that they play actual set lists, song by song, through an instrumental and vocal arrangement specific to the era of the original Grateful Dead performance.
I was fortunate to receive complimentary tickets and could not have been more excited to show off my tye-die and floppy hat while dancing freely in the open air. Ironically, the only aspect I was slightly skeptical about was the outdoor venue.
As a former resident of Boulder, CO, Red Rocks Amphitheatre in
But as I approached VRA my preconceived notion quickly fluttered away. Retrieving the tickets from will call was a breeze and security was light and friendly. Upon entry I immediately loved the layout. Clean floors, clean lines, clean design and a seriously spacious dance floor with a sonically gorgeous sound system. The dining options were delectably atypical; definitely not your standard concert fare. Mouthwatering pulled pork sandwiches, local wines and craft beers were just a few delicacies my husband and I enjoyed on the grassy hill overlooking the stage.
We relished in our divine eats while watching the sun set over the venue. The vibrations were perfectly mellow and the crowd filled in with toddlers, gray hairs and everything in between. At one point I saw a young mother cradling her flower child for an entire song as they listened, swayed and loved and as we finished our first round I heard the sound of magic.
Dun, nah, nah, nah, “Picture a bright blue ball just spinning, spinning free.” Dun, nah, nah, dun. “Dizzy with eternity.”
Time to get funky.
We lost ourselves in the sights and sounds of the band’s delicately unique harmonies as they performed my all-time favorite Dead jam and as the night creeped to an end I stopped to savor in the joy that radiated around me. On the left was a collection of free spirits interpretive dancing with their arms and legs extended above the stars and on the right, a group of bohemian beauties frolicking in circles as a gentleman in a wheelchair zipped and glimmered through the gaps.
It was undoubtedly one of the most beautiful sights I’d ever seen. To see that kind of love and light so purely encapsulating the energy and experience of the Grateful Dead era was absolutely incredible.
The intimacy Dark Star Orchestra delivered as they waved goodbye was one loving as they expressed that the performed set was originally showcased by the Dead on June 14th 1985 at the Venture Fairgrounds in Ventura, CA.
Still in awe, hearts full and glasses empty, we waved back with tears in our eyes and nothing but love in our hearts.
San Luis Obispo Blog
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