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.
Approximately 1.5 hours north of San Luis Obispo, lies a granite playground to explore. By going across the Fort Hunter Liggett training grounds, you will access some pristine swatches of the Los Padres National Forest.
At one time, shortly after 9/11/01, you had to pass through a security checkpoint to access this natural wonder. These days they've done away with the pat-downs, allowing you to pass by tanks firing, troops organizing, even a mini Baghdad (with flipped over cars, like a movie set) unimpeded by security forces. While you're passing through the Army base, you'll also have the opportunity to see Mission San Antonio de Padua, but that's for another article.
Located about 90 minutes south of Los Angeles is one of the most beautiful, vibrant and exciting cities California has to offer. San Diego is one of the top tourist destinations in the country, and here's just a few of the reasons you should check it out.
Love at first sight! These are a few simple words to describe my feelings about Death Valley. Who would have thought that you could love a hot and dry desert? I was one of the doubters that is until I saw Death Valley.
My family and I are traveling in our fifth wheel and in December we went to this desert. We were freezing in Oregon and Washington so Death Valley was an oasis for us. To put an image in your mind of this National Park think of mountains, sand, date trees, palm trees, water (yes water!) and blue skies. Below I will share my favorite spots in Death Valley and hopefully this will give you a picture of this gorgeous National Park.
There are 21 California Spanish Missions that reach from San Diego to north of San Francisco,
each with a unique story to tell. These missions represent the first contact the California Native
Americans had with Europeans and are a living history of the struggles and triumphs that each
culture experienced hundreds of years ago. The missions were all established as churches and
some are still active with mass held regularly since their founding. Others have become part of the
California State Park system. The buildings started as humble rooms and grew to the stately adobe
structures that are still standing today. They were started by the Franciscan order with the first one
in 1769 and the last in 1833. The El Camino Real, or The Royal Road, still links the missions from
San Diego to Sonoma, although it follows modern highways today. Each mission has a fascinating
founding story that is steeped in history and the politics of Spain at the particular time that they were
built. Some of the most interesting ones to visit today are:
California is a state full of amazing sites, natural wonders and history, so it's actually pretty difficult
to decide what you do when you get there, or even if you live there. Today though, I thought I would
ignore the more commercial attractions and look at the historic natural and man-made attractions
that are nearby.
Redwood National Park
3 hours north of San Luis Obispo is the Redwood National park. This park is full of trees (of course) as well
San Luis Obispo Blog
We look to provide ideas to get folks away from the couch, and out exploring California. We aim to provide day-trips. We want to provide suggestions of things to do, in a single day. Whether you're from out-of-town, or looking to get to know the our magnificent section of California (and beyond) a little better....we want to inspire you to explore.