California State of Mind

There’s just something groovy about California. I had hoped, and continue to hope, that one day I might reside there in some form or fashion. I’ve envisioned a cozy cottage near the beach, or maybe a cabin in the mountains. A hideaway in the Red Woods would be nice, or a deck house overlooking the vast expanse of the Pacific Ocean and crashing surf.

Choosing where to pass my golden years in the ‘golden state’ is a beautiful dilemma that I love to ponder, but California isn’t just a State to me; it’s a state of mind. Its rich history, culture, and topographical diversity inspire a sense of adventure and an unexplained longing for a Beach Boys Album. Unexplained longings aside, I know I’m not alone in my reverie. It’s that sense of adventure that keeps you, me, and so many others returning to the fertile California soil again and again.

My childhood experiences in California included its mountainous interiors, family friendly beaches and Disneyland. As a young woman, I enjoyed college in So Cal, the Santa Monica nightlife, and Pacific Beach; but, as much as I adored these spots and my time spent there, I didn't truly find my peace (or piece) of California until I discovered the Central Coast.

My family and I road tripped from LA to Oregon a few years back, and although the phrase ‘road trip’ lends itself to the idea of letting go — winging it, taking each day as it comes — this woman needs to know where she’s going to land at 5:00 p.m. and there had better be a joint nearby that serves a good glass of wine.

So, I planned it and planned it well. We stayed at small seaside motels akin to the ones from my youth, strolled the hamlets that dot the area, dined at quaint, family-run restaurants (with exceptional CA wines), and stopped frequently to enjoy the view.

There were no malls, no skyscrapers, and no vast expanses of concrete encapsulating brands. It felt real, unencumbered and relaxing — the perfect road trip. One of the most gratifying things to me was to feel the enigmatic pull to go OUTSIDE!

I’ve spent a considerable amount of time, delving into the background and foreground of this amazing parcel of terra firma. I’ve fallen in love with the wine, food and folks of Paso Robles; visited the farms and vineyrads that dot the Central Coast, and re-discovered the beauty of the great outdoors. In California, being outside is as integral to daily life as a glass of that fine wine and just as good for your blood pressure….I think.

Whether you imagine yourself setting sail from a sequestered harbor, paddle boarding Morro Bay, embarking on guided hikes through Montana de Oro and Avila Lighthouse, or embracing the iconic presence of Hearst Castle; the Central Coast is more than happy to accommodate. Santa Margarita Ranch is another “must-see” if only to support the families’ dedication to preserving the land. As for me, I’d do it all again, but my first choice would be to traipse through vineyards, shake the farmers hands and enjoy a gorgeous meal with relaxed folks…and wine.

Suffice it to say, I relish every moment I get to spend in this very special peace (intentional) of California. Do come visit….if I had my druthers, I would never leave. Well, maybe if I was tempted to take a road trip….


Originally published at www.intothesoup.com.

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