Friday, July 27, 2012

July 4th in San Luis Obispo

July 4th weekend, 2012

This year the 4th is on a Wednesday, which is less exciting if you only take off Wednesday, but awesome if you can turn it into a 5 day weekend.

E- and I went with a fairly large group of friends to the San Luis Obispo area.  I was especially excited to stay in the Madonna Inn, which we had heard about from different friends.  I really wanted a waterfall type room, so I requested William Tell, and it didn't disappoint!

The outside of the main building-notice the rocks.

Our front door

The window succession tells the story


The waterfall shower is awesome!!

The hotel brand toiletries

The story is that Alex Madonna was in construction and made a lot of money building Highway 101.  He wanted to run a hotel and he loved building with the local rocks.  So many of the rooms have rock themes-Caveman for example.  I suspect he was also influenced by his wife because pink is the theme color of the hotel.  We got to peek into another room that was completely shiny/sparkly pink.  You should stay if you get a chance.  Just know that the walls are INCREDIBLY thin and your neighbors will hear everything (speaking as one of the neighbors who heard it all)!

We had a group birthday dinner in Pismo Beach at Guisseppi's Italian restaurant.  The pizza oven is covered in an octopus mosaic that I really liked.  Afterwards we walks a couple blocks to the beach and saw the 4th of July fireworks.

Birthday Brunch at the Gardens of Avila was big fun because we had a whole room to ourselves and the kids had space to run around.  This is attached to a resort with hot springs and I would love to go back.  There are also nice trails that go down to the beach town of Avila, which is where we went after brunch.  Beach afternoon was lovely even though I didn't even dip a toe in the water.

Dinner was at the farmers market in San Luis Obisbo, nickname SLO.  Turns out SLO is a fantastic little town.  They have a lively downtown with lots of restaurants/bars, a fair number of boutique clothing stores, some touristy stores, but most importantly there is a game store, a comic store, AND a chain book store. The farmers market was super popular and we got to eat pasties (British meat pies), freshly roasted corn on the cob (amazing!!), golden raspberries and pie.

Breakfast at the Copper cafe, in the Madonna Inn.  It is worthwhile to drop in for the decor, most of which is over the top, but includes a lot of nicely carved wood.  A carload of us go driving around the area, stopping in Arroyo Grande.  There is an amazing ice cream shop, Doc Burnstein's Ice Cream Lab.  I want my birthday party here!

We take the afternoon to hang at the pool and hot tub.  We drink pool drinks and eat pool snacks-ah, vacation!

The poolside waterfall turns into a gusher every hour, which I didn't know when I took this picture.

We want to do the leisurely drive up the 1 to get home.  It takes a couple extra hours, but is good to do every couple of years. We stop for breakfast tacos in Los Osos and then the Hearst castle visitor center.  The drive is incredibly scenic and half the time it is full on sun and half the time it is almost full fog.  The best stop was when we watched the seals hanging out on the rocks.  The tide was coming in and one seal got washed off completely and left, but the second seal loved that rock and kept getting back on.  He couldn't get comfortable so kept turning around and just as he found a good spot a large wave washed him off to start over again.

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