El Camino Real
Santa Barbara Travel Blog› entry 4 of 11 › view all entries
Santa Barbara is well-known as a trendy coastal city and home to UC Santa Barbara. There are historic sites here, too, the most famous of which is Mission Santa Barbara. The mission church was founded in 1786 by the Franciscans who established 21 missions throughout California during the Spanish colonial era. Mission Santa Barbara is stilll an active parish church. The road linking the missions was known as El Camino Real and the coastal highway retains this popular designation today.
Driving north of Santa Barbara brought us to Buellton. Located here is Anderson's Split Pea Soup retaurant. A stop at Anderson's is a long tradition for the traveller on the coast highway.
North of Santa Barbara on 101/1 we drove through rolling open agricultural country as the land rises away form the sea. At San Luis Obispo, the highways diverge. US 101, the main highway, takes an inland course. We stayed on California 1 that hugs the coast. We passed though seaside communities like Pismo Beach and Cambria and reached San Simeon, our destination for the day. After checking in at our motel, we walked down to the nearby beach. The beaches along here are narrow and rocky with cliffs jutting out into the sea. It was overcast and threatening to rain, but we stayed long enough to put our feet in the Pacific.
We backtracked a bit down the highway to Cambria where we had dinner. Afterwards, we looked around the shops in town. New Age was all the rage here. Music. Crystals. Wind chimes. Suncatchers. Etc. (New Age was still "new" then. It had not yet reached the East Coast.) My wife opined that the locale reminded her of Maine, to which comparison the locals seemed to take some umbrage.