Santa Barbara area

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Nov 18th, 2014, 12:17 PM
  #21
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Finished booking the hotels. We looked around and found a $99 LAX hotel with free shuttle. And in San Simeon, we decided on the Morgan. It looks wonderful.

A quick question on the Hearst Castle Tours. How much in advance should we book them, given that we'll be visiting in January, and is taking two tours, same day advisable? We have devoted an all day schedule for just seeing the Hearst Castle.
Thanks again for all the recommendations.
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Nov 18th, 2014, 01:23 PM
  #22
 
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kathleen,
If it does happen to downpour when you are here, people will probably get out of their cars and do a 'happy dance' in the middle of the freeway. We are in such a horrible drought here it is scarey.

You should be able to do all three of the tours at Hearst Castle with no problem. They last about 45 min each and they recommend 1 hr between each tour. So you could do 10, 12 and 2. When you arrive at the castle you will park down below and take a shuttle bus to the top. Be sure to allow for this time. If you go Mon-Fri the castle is open til 5 as opposed to 3 on the weekends so that will give you plenty of time to see everything.

Have a great time!
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Nov 18th, 2014, 02:44 PM
  #23
 
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Also, while at the castle, allow time to view the movie before your tours! It really adds perspective to what you will be seeing, at least it did for me!
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Nov 18th, 2014, 03:38 PM
  #24
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Michele and lynni, I appreciate your information on touring Hearst Castle. We will view the movie before we go on the tours. I think we'll book just two tours since we'll have the time, but don't want a full day of structured tours. We want time to wander around the grounds. I'm curious to see it all. Should we book in mid-late December, or sooner?

Sorry to hear about your drought conditions in CA. I hope the conditions change. And I'd still love to see a lively happy dance on the freeway!

Christina, We went back and forth between Cambria and San Simeon. Somehow San Simeon won out even though it's more limited in restaurant selections. At the Morgan we splurged on a Corner Jr Suite room, and I hope it does not disappoint. We do plan to eat dinner in Cambria on our way to San Simeon the first night because we want to see it and wander the main street a bit. Heard Robin's has good food??
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Nov 18th, 2014, 04:27 PM
  #25
 
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You'll want to look on the website to see if they allow you to wander unescorted. I'm not sure that they do, other than around the visitor center.

Robin's is okay if you are staying in Cambria, but I don't think it's worth a detour or anything. Of course it's undoubtedly better than anything in San Simeon. The cafe at the San Sebastian store is okay if it's open, but it has limited hours.
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Nov 18th, 2014, 05:44 PM
  #26
 
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I don't think you can wander around the grounds on your own. You go up to "LaCuesta Encantada" on a bus and then leave with your group and return to the visitor's center.
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Nov 19th, 2014, 04:31 AM
  #27
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I guess I may have to consider 3 tours if I want to see it all. I'll check it out. Thanks for the heads up.

mlgb, on a quick first read, I thought you were implying I might not be able to wander the Main St of Cambria unescorted !!
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Nov 19th, 2014, 05:32 AM
  #28
 
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The Sea Chest is some of the best seafood around... It's also quirky... Check the website, I think they take cash only. Linn's Bakery is wonderful for comfort food and their pies are delicious! I like Robins's too... Check the websites and see what you might like best. They're are not a lot if options in Cambria.

I've said this before, Cambria has gone through a lot of changes in the past few years. If posters on this thread are commenting on the "Cambria they knew and loved 10 or 20 years ago", they are envisioning a vibrant coastal town with many shops to stroll through and many restaurants. That Cambria no longer exists and there are just a very few shops and restaurants. It's is a pleasant town in which to spend an hour or so but there isn't much more than that. ( I'm not trying to be a total killjoy but I want you to understand the reality.) Hope this helps!
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Nov 19th, 2014, 07:44 AM
  #29
 
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Lynni- why is that? Why hasn't Cambria capitalized tourism? Have landlords jacked up the rents and driven small businesses out. Just curious.
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Nov 19th, 2014, 09:46 AM
  #30
 
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MichelleY:

I'm not exactly sure, I don't go there enough to understand exactly what has happened. I just know that last year when we went for a weekend, it was NOT the same place I had remembered. Restaurants and shops that have been there for many, many years are now closed and boarded up with weed growing and many stores are vacant. The only "thriving" retail shop seems to be a pretty high end western clothing store. Everything else is kind of junky.

Now it is a beautiful coastline and they do have the nice boardwalk to walk on, the sea lion colony not too far up the road and a few restaurants that are nice ( Sow's Ear, Robin's and Linn's.) but other than that? Nada. The drought is also having a huge effect there. Water is a huge concern. It's sad really.
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Nov 19th, 2014, 11:34 AM
  #31
 
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Original families die off. Kids sell the property to city folks who want a weekend place, not a permanent home. High priced real estate.
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Nov 19th, 2014, 02:03 PM
  #32
 
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I've eaten at the Sea Chest, I think it is next to moonstone landing. I wasn't in Cambria 10-20 years ago, maybe 5 but I didn't expect anything except a relaxing day or two respite during my trip and to take it easy on the beach, etc. That's all I did. It was pretty, of course, as the coastline is. I don't really care about shops at all and 1-2 restaurants are fine for me, if I can eat. I think I used it as a point to visit Morro Bay, also. You can visit Morro Bay and San Luis Obispo from there. I never wandered Cambria, didn't know there was anything to wander.
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Nov 19th, 2014, 03:44 PM
  #33
 
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We recently stayed at The Eagle Inn in Santa Barbara and really liked it. Room rates include a good breakfast, with a different hot dish each day.
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Nov 20th, 2014, 09:58 AM
  #34
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Found out that I can wander the grounds of Hearst Castle all day if I’d like! I called HC tourist information since I was curious about being able to stay and wander, or walk around if that’s a better way to say it, outside, unescorted. Apparently, there’s no problem with that. We’ve decided to take two tours, but will leave enough time and the option open for a third one.

I’ve looked at the Cambria town website, and unless it’s terribly outdated, the place looks lovely. Eating at Robin’s or Linn’s would be only a side street away from highway 1, which is the highway to San Simeon. Plus both of those restaurants are open all day (menus will change through the day of course). So time of day won’t a big issue and I think it will work.

Underhill, We have already booked our hotel for Santa Barbara so that's settled. It appears however to be in the vicinity of the one you’ve recommended. Do you remember if there are nice restaurants located in that area?
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Nov 20th, 2014, 10:17 AM
  #35
 
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Eagle Inn is in a residential neighborhood just a few blocks walk from the Wharf, if I recall correctly. If you don't mind a few long blocks walk, you'll be at the wharf (Santa Barbara Shellfish on the wharf is very casual, and good) and just a 50c trolley ride from all the restaurants downtown.
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Nov 20th, 2014, 10:47 AM
  #36
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Thanks. We'll check it out!
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Nov 20th, 2014, 11:48 AM
  #37
 
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We stopped in Cambria for a late lunch (at Robin's) in August this year. I didn't see boarded up shops and weeds. We had a very nice lunch and then explored the shops in a one-block radius around the restaurant. I could have stayed longer, but we were meeting friends for drinks in Carmel later that afternoon.
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