California Coast Road Trip – Christmas 2017

My family loves a good road trip (read about our trips to Sedona and Norcal). We don't really like to plan things too early so everything stays pretty spontaneous and relaxed. For Christmas this year, we went on a short trip to visit Hearst Castle, located along the coast of central California, about four hours from Los Angeles. Even though the trip was only three days, we hit a lot of spots. I'm going to share a few highlights here but we also got to observe elephant seals and visit San Luis Obispo, among other things. I hope you enjoy the photos and are having a great holiday season!

Harmony

This is a "town" that you have most likely passed by if you have ever traveled between Southern and Northern California. I've seen it a few times before but never paid a visit until this time. It's known for having a total population of 18 people! Despite the low population, it has a winery, glass shop, ice cream truck, and an adorable chapel. Oh and a resident cat that roams around that I didn't get a chance to see. We also saw plenty of cattle, definitely more than there are people.

Hearst Castle

Hearst was built by William Randolph Hearst, a successful publisher who was able to travel to anywhere in the world but would rather be at the California Coast than anywhere else. Situated hilltop in San Simeon, Hearst Castle has sweeping views of the Pacific Ocean and Mr. Hearst's vast ranch. In the 1930s, he invited the likes of Charlie Chaplin to the estate to stay, relax, and socialize. To go up to the castle, you must purchase a ticket to one of several different tours. While group tours aren't my first choice on trips, the Grand Room tour that we took was informative and we were able to stay around the grounds after the tour. 

Cambria

We chose to stay in the small beach town of Cambria for two nights during our trip, located less than 15 minutes south of Hearst Castle. Even though it definitely gives an authentic small town feeling, there are a lot choices for accommodation. We ended up choosing Rigdon House - a historic inn built in the 19th century with 14 suites. The lobby felt like a house and included a library with books that guests could borrow. Our spacious room was located at the courtyard where there was an ongoing fire. The entire stay felt very cozy.

 

Sunset Watching

One of the greatest joys of living in coastal California are the sunsets. They are insanely beautiful and easy to take for granted. On Christmas Eve we went to watch the sunset at the beach. There was hardly anyone else there. Even though it was a cloudy day and the colors didn't shine through as well, it was gorgeous nonetheless. My dad took lots of nice shots using a few different cameras and a tripod. I mostly just walked back and forth trying to find the best angles with my Olympus Pen.

On a more personal note (thanks for reading if you've made it this far!), I feel a little overwhelmed that 2017 is over in a day. I feel as if there's not enough time to reflect so I can't be certain whether I've made the most of this year. Even though time always passes at the same rate, the end of a year definitely feels like the end of a chapter and I'm afraid that I didn't make the chapter worthwhile enough to be read. Ah, I'm going to need a little more time to for a more coherent reflection. I am grateful for all that I have. How do you feel about the end of another year?