Get Outside and Play
My mom used to say it to my brother and I as kids when we started getting on each others' nerves and consequently hers. She did it I'm sure largely to get us out of the house, but at the same time, we usually got involved in some outdoor activity that would offer up instant amnesia about whatever it was we were bickering about. I was reminded of the importance of getting outside and PLAYING this past weekend.
I am blessed to have a job that gets me out and about a lot. I tell stories of all the cool places to see and visit on the Central Coast. What you may not realize is when we're shooting those stories, we're usually fighting a deadline. We're usually trying to get two or three done in one day, or trying to get back to the newsroom in time to anchor the 5 and 6 o'clock newscast. What that means is I often find myself saying "I need to come back here someday and just enjoy this." In reality, it doesn't happen often.
This past weekend I was attending an event in San Simeon. It was kind of a half-work/half play kind of deal. As I cruised through Cambria, I did what I always do...thought how someday I need to book a room at one of the adorable hotels along Moonstone beach and take a little "staycation" here. I've been feeling the strong pull since I paid and afternoon visit to this quaint community for the scarecrows last month. Well guess what? I finally just did it! After the event in San Simeon, I settled into my cozy quarters at the Sand Pebbles Inn and met some friends at one of my all-time favorite restaurants in the world, The Sea Chest.
We put our name in for dinner, cuddled up on the bench across the street to wait for our table and watched a beautiful sunset over the Pacific. Randy, and the boys behind the Oyster bar kept our plates full of local delicacies from the sea and the rest of the staff made us feel like we were eating at home with their welcoming attitudes (and in some cases patience with our antics.)
I loved being able to walk just down the road to my comfy quarters where I could hear the serenade of the surf across the street as I went to bed. The next morning, I lounged in bed with my coffee, waffles and strawberries from the kitchen below and finished a book I've been reading hit and miss for two months now.
The run I did later that morning didn't seem like work at all as I broke the mold of my usual route at home and cruised the boardwalk along Moonstone Beach. When I stopped to stretch my hamstrings on the sand below afterwards, the jade and shells at my feet ended up capturing my attention for another hour or so.
A late checkout allowed me a nice hot shower and a chance to sit and take in the surf-show that was happening across the street as the swells picked up some. I noticed as I watched couples and families checking out, how many were speaking different languages and I thought about the journey's they made to get to this place. As others with familiar dialects loaded up their cars with suitcases and golf bags I wondered where their journeys would take them this on this Sunday evening? To an airport? Up or down the coast? Inland? I had little more than a big purse to load and maybe a 40 minute drive home, but I felt as if I had managed a big escape.
If you haven't experienced the magic of a night or two away in Cambria, you're missing out. So if you're reading this from some winter climate and thinking of the chilly months ahead, get out your calendar and plan a mid-winter getaway to this oasis along the California Coast. There are "Stay and Play" packages for locals all winter long and though they sometimes want to see your ID proving your local, say you heard about it here and I bet they'll let you in on the deal. And if you're reading this from your desk or laptop from the comfort of home on the Central Coast, don't take it for granted. Get outside and go play!