Historical society, chamber now neighbors in Cayucos

Historical society, chamber move into new visitors’ center southeast of pier

ktanner@thetribunenews.comJuly 28, 2013 

For years, the Cayucos Chamber of Commerce and Cayucos Historical Society have each touted the funky beach town’s history and amenities — long pier, great surfing, beautiful scenery and killer beach.

But they’ve never had a permanent place to call home.

Now they do — together.

They’ve joined forces at the new Cayucos Visitors Center in a former video store/arcade building at 41 S. Ocean Ave., about 31⁄2 blocks southeast of the pier. The location keeps the center out of the heaviest crush of recreational parking but is within walking distance of that area.

The center is open from noon to 4:30 p.m. Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays. The eventual schedule will depend on several factors, including how many volunteers step forward to help. For details or to volunteer or donate (funds or historical items), email cayucosvisitorscenter@gmail.com or call 995-1200.

The first formal meeting of the Cayucos Historical Society will be held there at 5:30 p.m. Thursday, according to the society’s chairwoman, Shirley Lyons. The public is welcome to attend.

The chamber rented the empty building in September, according to Bob Stimmel, chamber treasurer.

“It’s been a long-held dream of a lot of people in town,” he said, “to have a centralized place where visitors and others can get information.”

There’s also a community room for meetings, Lyons said.

After remodeling and renovations, the center opened for the busy July 4 weekend.

Exhibits are to be changed regularly, according to Jan Romanazzi, who runs the center that she calls “a tapestry of interactivity” for visitors and residents.

“We’re a work in progress. It’s a very grassroots operation.”

Current displays in the center feature retrospectives on Old Cayucos schools.

Final touches still are being added to the joint operation. As Romanazzi was conducting a cellphone interview and training the first set of volunteer docents Thursday, for example, the landline was being installed. In the years that the chamber has been active, that phone line has bounced from one shop to another, she said, depending on which chamber member was willing to answer calls.

Romanazzi lauded the members of her docent class. She said they’re well connected and integrally involved with their community through their other volunteer activities.

“They’re teaching me things” about Cayucos, she said with a laugh. “These are well-seasoned volunteers … (at the center) they’re learning to represent two entities providing one service, so people can explore the past and see what’s available in the present.”

July 29: This story has been updated to correct an error in the visitors center email address.

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